| The Classic Hollywood Squares Site
|Williams reprising his Video Village "town crier" role, on a 1977 Storybook Squares special|
|as another Video Village creation, this time Kenny the Cop, on 1965's Shenanigans|
|And circle starts the Secret Square, which includes a Tappan side-by-side refrigerator-freezer...
--Kenny Williams, cranking up one of his Secret Square package descriptions
|The trumpet-voiced announcer, Kenny Williams, is the only other personality besides Peter Marshall to make it through the entire 15-year run of the Hollywood Squares...and the only person bar none to do that after working in the Bert Parks pilot. Kenny Williams was the first voice we always heard, calling out each celebrity as he/she sat on the grid, clockwise, with center square last. Game shows now use commercial clips to run down their prize lists and fee plugs; in those days the announcer did it all and Kenny Williams was no exception. It is he that we long-term couch potatoes have to thank for memorizing the address to the Spiegel catalog (Chicago 60609), and for probably driving certain cars that we did (he plugged the Chevy or Pontiac or Oldsmoble that was being given away, often as many as four times in a single show). And of course, it was he who served as fashion commentator as the lovely Phyllis Diller, or Joan Rivers, or other female guest (and sometimes male...I think Marty Allen even did it once) modeled those furs from Dicker and Dicker of Beverly Hills. And it was he who sounded just as excited calling out consolation prizes like GE steamirons or Starburst fruit chews as he was describing the sailboat or Fostoria China.|
|Williams began his announcing career in radio in the late 1940s, not long before he broke into television. His earliest known show is ABC's Auction-Aire (1949). His resume includes such 1950s classics as Stop the Music and Two for the Money.
Sadly, what could be his greatest television work may be lost forever--and it's not the Squares, either. Williams had an active on camera role in the beloved Video Village, which ran on CBS from 1960 to 1962. He was the "town crier" (and later "Kenny the Cop") as Jack Narz, and later Monty Hall, served as "mayor". He apparently did some acting on the show, but was certainly more than an announcer. The lavishly produced living board game, unfortunately, appears to be mostly lost to the ages, as only one episode is known to exist. However, Williams had a similar crier role on The Storybook Squares and had another on-camera role as Kenny the Cop in ABC's Saturday morning show, Shenanigans (very similar to Video Village but for kids). Williams was also the announcer for The Celebrity Game, the Heatter-Quigley show that was the forerunner to the Squares.
|June 20, 1980 saw Kenny Williams lose not just one, but two shows, as NBC cancelled the Squares and High Rollers in favor of David Letterman's new show. When the Letterman show failed, Williams was pressed into service again, this time for Las Vegas Gambit, an NBC update on the CBS show on which he had previously worked. William's bass, carnival-barker voice fell silent forever when he died in February 1984 at the age of 70.|
|In their "Encyclopedia of TV Game Shows", David Schwartz, Steve Ryan and Fred Wostbrock list no fewer than 23 game shows on which Kenny Williams announced from 1949 to 1981, including The Hollywood Squares and the separate Storybook Squares.|
|Kenny Williams: One of these stars is sitting in the Secret Square, and the contestant who picks it first could win a prize package worth over four thousand, five hundred dollars. Which star is it?
(Trumpet note, builds up as each name is called)
Jim Nabors...Pearl Bailey...Oscar...Pam Grier...George Gobel...Arthur Godfrey...John Davidson...Karen Valentine...or Paul Lynde, all in the Hollywood Squares! And here's the master of the Hollywood Squares, Peter Marshall!
(over theme music bed...mid show fee plug, read very fast)
Peter Marshall: Any contestant who wins five matches and two thousand dollars wins his and her automobiles, part of a prize package worth over 25 thousand dollars.
Kenny Williams: For her, an all-new Chevy Chevette four-door hatchback. The new rear doors make it easy to get into the back seat where there's lots of legroom. The Chevette four-door hatchback has comfort and convenience for a small car, furnished by Chevy. And for him, the brand new Chevy Caprice Classic. The Caprice that was last year's Car of the Year, keeps its beautiful design and adds new grille and tail light styling, furnished by Chevrolet.
Kenny Williams: ...a 25 inch color television set from True Value Hardware stores. You combine value and personal service in over five thousand locations. A color console, furnished by True Value Hardware. Okay, Peter...
--informal way Williams usually finished off describing the Secret Square package
Kenny Williams: ...plus, a thousand dollar gift certificate from the famous Spiegel Catalogue Company...
Wally Cox: I won! I won! (laughter)
Kenny Williams: ...over 50 thousand quality items providing value, selection and economy. Spiegel, Chicago 60609...
(Marshall hands over car keys to nighttime winner)
Peter Marshall: ...and you have won the following...congratulations!
Contestant (excited): Thank you! (kisses Marshall on the cheek)
Kenny Williams: It's Pontiac's smart new sub-compact, Astre, distinctive styling, responsive four-cylinder engine, electronic ignition, overhead cams, three-speed floor shift. Furnished by Pontiac.
Kenny Williams: Tonight's contestants will receive an original Mastercraft-designed 14-karat gold and diamond pendant, of the Hollywood Squares. Plus, shake up your mouth with delicious Dentyne Dynamints...
--off on a recital of consolation prizes, circa 1976
Kenny Williams: ...and Rice-A-Roni, the big flavor side dish that's so quick, so easy. Rice-a-Roni, the one that you saute and simmer to perfection. Rice-A-Roni, the San Francisco Treat.
Kenny Williams: ...and...the new home version of the Hollywood Squares game.
--finishing up the list of the consolation prizes
Kenny Williams: ...plus, a limited edition collector's plate from The Hollywood Squares.
--finishing up the consolation prize list on the last show
Kenny Williams: This has been a Merrill Heatter-Bob Quigley production.
--last thing usually said on the show, during the credits
Kenny Williams: We'll be back with more of The Hollywood Squares after this message.
--wrapping up the mid show fee plug
Kenny Williams: We'll be back to chat with the stars, after this...
--sometimes heard late in the show
(from the end of a 1967 episode)
Kenny Williams: Stay tuned for Jeopardy! starring Art Fleming, next on NBC. For studio tickets write to Hollywood Squares, NBC, Burbank California. This program has been pre-recorded.
Kenny Williams: A reference source for questions and answers is the 20-volume 50th anniversary edition of the World Book Encylopedia containing more than 12,000 pages and representing the works of 2,500 consultants and contributors.
--wrapping up the very first show, October 17, 1966
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