Friday, August 16, 2013

A Classic Reborn: Hollywood Squares (1986)

Two years had passed after The Match Game-Hollywood Squares Hour had ended. Orion Television, which co-produced the series, had acquired the rights to Squares some time before, and decided to bring the show back, this time in syndication for the first time since the original series' final season ended 5 years earlier.

Once again, Peter Marshall was passed over as host, as he'd just completed a run on ABC with Merrill Heatter's All Star Blitz, which was a scaled down version of the series, using just 4 celebrities and an overhead puzzle board. Singer-actor John Davidson, fresh from That's Incredible!, and a former semi-regular during the Marshall era, was tapped to host, with LA-based DJ Shadoe Stevens as announcer. Halfway through the first season, Stevens became a full-time panelist, which allowed him to read his end-of-show pronouncements on stage on Fridays. Jm J. Bullock (Too Close For Comfort) occupied Wally Cox's old seat in the top left corner, and, in season 2, Joan Rivers became the full-time center square for the rest of the run, inheriting Paul Lynde's old chair.

The series lasted three years, perhaps ending too soon, but by the time the show ended, Stevens added to his workload, taking over the iconic radio countdown series, American Top 40, and would spend the 90's reinventing himself as an actor.

Here's a sample episode from September 1986. Bullock didn't join the show until a month in.

Oh, what fun! Too bad it ended too soon!

Rating: A.

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