by Mark Goodson
that ran on NBC
and combined two great games into a single show. Two new contestants began by playing Match Game
, using the same format as its 1973-82 era with the only difference being the tiebreaker — while played the same as before, the contestants now chose from a list of four possible answers.
The winner of Match Game
played against the returning champion on The Hollywood Squares
with three more celebrities joining the group. The champion always played X, the challenger O, and there was no Secret Square (although that last one had been in place for the 1980-81 season). Each captured square awarded $25, with victory in each round awarding that round number times 100 ($100 for Round 1, $200 for Round 2, etc.) until time ran out; whoever had the most cash became champion and played the Super Match.
The Super Match was the same as its 1973-78 counterpart (no Star Wheel), except the answers in the Audience Match paid off $1,000/$500/$250 (or $100 for missing all of them) and the contestant could choose from all nine stars for the Head-to-Head Match. Four celebrities each had a "10" or "20" card in front of them, while the last had a "30." If the contestant successfully matched against the chosen celebrity, the Audience Match winnings were multiplied by the celebrity's number, for a potential top prize of $30,000.
While the concept was sound, the lack of regular panelists and a major senior moment by Goodson (inexplicably failing to understand what made Squares
work) doomed the show to a single season from October 31, 1983 to July 27, 1984 (39 weeks/191 episodes). Further complicating matters was Gene Rayburn, who hated Jon Bauman and (according to announcer Gene Wood) had been "dragged, kicking and screaming" into this mess.
- Bonus Round: A modified version of the original Super Match.
- Bonus Space: One of the nine celebrities would multiply the Audience Match winnings by 30 if chosen.
- Consolation Prize
- The Announcer: Gene Wood. Johnny Olson filled in for a few weeks, as did Bob Hilton.
- Game Show Host: Gene Rayburn for the Match parts, Jon "Bowzer" Bauman of Sha-Na-Na fame for the Squares part. Each host took the bottom-left seat during the other's portions.
- Studio Audience
This show provides examples of:
- Ascended Extra: Subverted with Jon Bauman; though he appeared as a panelist on Match Game in the 1970s (in his "Bowzer" persona), it wasn't the Match Game portion he ended up hosting.
- Downer Ending: At least one contestant played for $30,000 and lost.
- On one episode, a contestant played the Super Match and was given "_____ Pizza". Jon Bauman wrote down one answer, discarded it, then wrote another. The contestant offered "Pepperoni"... guess what was on the card that Jon threw out? (His second card said "Large").
- Loads and Loads of Characters: Dumb Dora/Donald, Old Man Periwinkle (and his wife), Ugly Edna/Alfreida, and Weird Willie all came along from Match.
- Obvious Rule Patch: The five-square win and gotta-earn-the-win-yourself rules from Squares were thrown out due to time constraints.
- Pilot: Pretty much the same as the series, with the notable difference of having three contestants in the Match portion.
- Recycled Soundtrack: The music cues were recycled over to The Price Is Right, usually for use with cars.
- Scenery Porn: The set was rather inventive, with a huge light-up marquee board as the backdrop that displayed celebrities' names, background patterns, and the Super Match prize amounts. It was built in sections that could swivel in place to let Gene and Jon enter at the start of the show. The stars' seating area began as a two-tiered Match panel, then a third tier was rolled in for Squares.
- Theme Tune: The theme for this show became a famous car prize cue for The Price Is Right.
- You Look Familiar: Jon Bauman was "Bowzer" in the group Sha Na Na.
- X Meets Y: Match Game meets The Hollywood Squares, with more disastrous results than expected.