Sunday, January 31, 2021

Classic TV: Video Village (1960)

 Video Village was one of the first shows sold by Merrill Heatter & Bob Quigley to CBS, launching in 1960. 501 episodes, stretched out across a 2 year period (1960-2) in daytime, plus a short-lived evening edition and a Saturday morning show that ended the day after the parent show did, aired, with three hosts.

Jack Narz was the first host, aided by Joanna Copeland (later Mrs. Johnny Carson), when the series was in New York. Red Rowe would fill in occasionally. When H-Q shifted production to Los Angeles, future icon Monty Hall stepped in as the final Mayor, developing the patter that would turn Let's Make a Deal into an iconic series of its own. Seems he was a boy singer, too, just like another future game show legend, Peter Marshall, whom H-Q would hire four years after Village ended to begin a 15 year run on Hollywood Squares.

Announcer Kenny Williams would appear on camera briefly, though he was heard throughout calling out the numbers as the game is played. This entry is episode #500, the pentultimate episode of the series.

Don't Monty and Eileen Barton make a cute couple riding the cart?

Rating: A.


Mike Doran said...

From my own all-too-long memory:

In its earlier days, Video Village used a chuck-a-luck dice cage to get its numbers (1 to 6); the electronic thingy we see here must come from late in the run (maybe some 'moral crusader' objected to the use of dice).

Also: Kenny Williams was always an on-camera presence here; he was called Video Village's "Town Crier".

Several years later, when Heatter-Quigley retooled Video Village as Shenanigans, they had a slightly different electronic gizmo for the numbers, and Kenny Williams became "Kenny the Cop". It was basically the same show, though, with emphasis on Milton Bradley toy and game tie-ins.

hobbyfan said...

I have Shenanigans up over at Saturday Morning Archives. Williams was also the Guardian of The Gate on Storybook Squares, and was a different sort of Town Crier when they revived the Storybook Squares for theme weeks on the parent Hollywood Squares in 1976-77. The episode I posted was from the next to last episode in LA.