Saturday, August 11, 2012

What Might've Been: What if someone else hosted Hollywood Squares? (1965)

The Hollywood Squares marked its 45th anniversary last year, but what some people might not know is that Peter Marshall wasn't the original choice to emcee the show during its initial run (1966-81).

Instead, when the pilot was shot in 1965, entertainer Bert Parks, better known as the long time host of the Miss America pageant, was in the host's chair, and, as you'll see shortly, the contestant's seats were reversed from their traditional positions. I regret the fact that the video is not in the best of shape, but what can you do, effendi?

Anyway, this was one of those deals where they made a few tweaks to get the show on the air, and in this case, it worked for the best. Marshall presided over Squares for 16 seasons, and that includes the various night-time editions that aired on NBC & syndication, and the short-lived Storybook Squares, which was originally a mid-season replacement on NBC's Saturday morning block from January-August 1969, before being revived as a special theme week edition of the parent series in the mid-70's. You see, then, that MTV2's Hip Hop Squares, currently on hiatus, has a vast legacy to uphold.

Now, then, judge for yourself and see if Bert Parks would've made an adequate game show host..........

Parks would later dabble in acting, specifically if it had to do with beauty pageants, including a guest turn as a villain on The Bionic Woman in the mid-70's. No rating.


magicdog said...

I think the first runner up to Miss CA (1965) was an ancestor to Miss Teen SC (2007)!

All in all, Bert could have made a good game show host. When you host beauty pageants, game show hosting isn't too much of a stretch.

Interesting that the contestants didn't go for the center square first. Most eps of Hollywood Squares began with picking that one. Also interesting that Paul Lynde wasn't nearby either! Looks like Morey Amsterdam was the resident clown here, and he wasn't even in the center.

hobbyfan said...

Morey Amsterdam, as memory serves, made quite a few appearances on Squares after the Dick Van Dyke Show ended, allowing him to remain in the public consciousness much longer, and, as shown in the pilot, often seated right beside co-star Rose Marie. In fact, that's how I first saw him, before I saw the reruns of the DVDS.

As time wore on, Squares games were becoming more about strategy, as going to the center first became too predictable.