Good morning, Captain!
Last week got away from me totally; I was so fixated on getting my Wayside Pride story written for today, that I forgot all about the Friday Hall of Famers post for Inner Toob.
Let’s get to it, shall we?
As I’ve been doing for this Year of the Pandemic, the last Friday of every month has been the chance to induct the televersion of one of our TV shows into the Television Crossover Hall of Fame. There are so many TV shows which mention other TV shows AS TV shows, when they should be sharing the same dimension.
Toobworld Central finally had to acknowledge this for fear of gutting the universe of Earth Prime-Time with so many Zonks disqualifying one show after another.
And so we hit on the idea that the lives of people in TV shows proved to be so interesting that eventually Hollywood made TV shows about them.
So there are the TV shows which we watch and those shows then exist in the main Toobworld, where they are watched by the characters in other shows.
Were you able to follow that? I’m sorry if I only made it more confusier. When I write about Toobworld, sometimes I’m like the Dad in the speedboat and you, dear Readers, are the kids in the tube I’m trying to shake off….
So! As June was my birthday month, let’s end with something completely different – a game show! And one which has seen plenty of League of Themselves members who are members of the TVXOHOF already.
On with the show; this is it!
THE HOLLYWOOD SQUARES
‘Hollywood Squares’ is an American game show in which two contestants compete in a game of tic-tac-toe to win cash and prizes.
The show piloted on NBC in 1965 and the regular series debuted in 1966 on the same network. The board for the game is a 3 × 3 vertical stack of open-faced cubes, each occupied by a celebrity seated at a desk and facing the contestants. The stars are asked questions by the host and the contestants judge the truth of their answers to gain squares in the right pattern to win the game.
Though ‘Hollywood Squares’ was a legitimate game show, the game largely acted as the background for the show's comedy in the form of joke answers (commonly called "zingers" by the production staff), often given by the stars prior to their real answer. The show's writers usually supplied the jokes. In addition, the stars were given the questions' subjects and bluff (plausible, but incorrect) answers prior to the show. The show was scripted in this sense, but the gameplay was not.
In any case, as original host Peter Marshall explained at the beginning of the Secret Square game, the celebrities were briefed prior to the show to help them with bluff answers, but they otherwise heard the actual questions for the first time as they were asked on air.
In 2013, TV Guide ranked it at No. 7 in its list of the 60 greatest game shows ever.
Internationally, there have been multiple versions produced under a variety of names.
One thing which can guarantee that the televersion of the show will be inducted into the Hall goes beyond the title being mentioned, beyond characters watching it, beyond even scenes from the show being transmitted. It’s a slam dunk if we get proof that the televersion is not just a copy of the original; we need to know that the televersion is truly fictional and could not have been seen in the real world.
For ‘Hollywood Squares’, here is that proof:
Sanford and Son:
The TV Addict (1976)
Officer Hoppy stops by to catch Jack Webb's appearance on the program.
Where Nobody Knows Your Name (1990) Jeanne-Marie appears as a celebrity square.
The 100 Lives of Black Jack Savage:
Everyone recognizes Barry from his guest spot on the show.
Meet the Seavers (1991)
Alan Thicke as "himself" calls about appearing on "the new Hollywood Squares."
Making Whoopi (1998)
Maxwell appears on the show as a celebrity "square".
The Big Bang Theory:
The Russian Rocket Reaction (2011)
Sheldon mentions Wil Wheaton's appearance on the show.
- Jack Webb
- Barry Tarberry
- Alan Thicke
- Maxwell Sheffield
- Wil Wheaton
Three of those “contestants” were already fictional. The three others are real people, but two of them are dead. So no chance of retconning there.
Here are the other qualifiers:
REFERENCES TO THE ORIGINAL SHOW
The Three Million Dollar Piracy (1973)
Banacek asks Diana if she is going to miss this show when she's living in the Middle East.
The Paul Lynde Halloween Special (1976)
Paul Lynde: "Sounds like 'Hollywood Squares.'"
The Christmas Party (1976)
Phyllis says she learned some esoteric fact from Paul Lynde on the Hollywood Squares.
The Rockford Files:
Hotel of Fear (1977)
Angel quotes Vincent Price from this show.
That '70s Show:
Hyde Gets the Girl (2001)
Eric, Hyde, and Fez watch this in the opening
Freaks and Geeks:
I'm with the Band (1999)
Bill sarcastically says that Neal should be on the show.
O’Bservation: the series takes place 19 years earlier, in 1980.
Margin of Error (1983)
Elyse uses the show's set as an analogy as she describes her 3-level chapel design to Jennifer
Freaks and Geeks:
Noshing and Moshing (2000)
Neal asks to be excused from the dinner table because "Willie Tyler and Lester are on The Hollywood Squares this week."
Menage a Luke (1992)
Luke: "Guest shots on 'Hollywood Squares'"
No, But I Played One on TV (1993)
"This is a hospital, Hank, not the Hollywood Squares!"
REFERENCES TO 1ST REBOOT
Christmas at Pee-wee's Playhouse (1988)
Out of This World:
Star Dog (1989)
Star Dog is watching the show and says, "Hit Joan Rivers to block, ya dope!"
REFERENCES TO 2ND REBOOT
Sabrina the Teenage Witch:
Silent Movie (1999)
When the Brady Bunch squares are shown, Hilda says she will take Jan Brady to block, referencing the game play in this show.
Big Wolf on Campus:
Stage Fright (1999)
While watching television, Dean says, "Whoopi, you were born to be Centre Square!"
Big Wolf on Campus:
Hello Nasty (2000)
When Tommy asks him if he has seen anything funny recently, Dean replies, "Are we talking Centre Square funny, like Whoopi Goldberg?"
Big Wolf on Campus:
The Manchurian Werewolf (2000)
The show that Dean is watching
El Oro de Montezuma (2002)
Liz talks about Whoopi Goldberg on this show
Susan prefers to go to "Hollywood Squares" instead of "Family Feud"
How I Met Your Mother:
The Playbook (2009)
Barney uses the show's catchphrase "circle gets the square"
Queer Studies & Advanced Waxing (2015)
Jeff says, "Thirty years ago, the most power the openly gay could achieve was the center square."
F Is for Family:
Paul Lynde to Block (2018)
Title reference and Chet's wife Nguyen-Nguyen says the line.
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt:
Kimmy Is in a Love Square! (2019)
Titus: "You know how I want my career to end: falling off the top row on 'Hollywood Squares.'"
Here are some other shows which mentioned ‘Hollywood Squares’ in some way, but I don’t know the reference specifics:
Sanford and Son:
Julio and Sister and Nephew (1974)
Brother's Keeper (1984)
Auntie Maim (1989)
Selling Out (1993)
Roseanne in the Hood (1995)
That's Midlife (1996)
The Ex-Niles (1997)
My Chopped Liver (2006)
Halloween VII: The Heckoning (2016)
We Are Family (2000)
The West Wing:
The Crackpots and These Women (1999)
Toby sarcastically refers to the show during a conversation with Mandy.
Kendra says to Emily, "Circle gets the square."
It shows up at least twice in Skitlandia, with disaster movie overtones – once with the set collapsing and the other as “The Towering Squares”. Since it doesn’t affect Earth Prime-Time, I’m leaving the topic there.