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Creator / Merrill Heatter

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Merrill Heatter (December 16, 1925-October 8, 2017) produced many Game Shows, most of which were in a partnership with Bob Quigley; the company was acquired by Filmways in 1968, and in turn became part of Orion Pictures when they merged with Filmways in the early 1980s. After Quigley retired in 1981, Heatter continued making games through an independent company.

A trademark in their productions was the larger than life set design. A big board game (Video Village), a big elegant set (The Celebrity Game), big playing cards (Gambit), big numbers and dice (High Rollers), a big pinball machine (The Magnificent Marble Machine), a big lie detector (Hot Seat), big triangles (Battlestars), and big squares (The Hollywood Squares) were just some of the examples of this trademark.

"This has been a Merrill Heatter-Bob Quigley Production":

  • Video Village (1960-62) and its juvenile versions, Video Village Junior (1961-62) and Shenanigans (1964-65)
  • Double Exposure (1961)
  • People Will Talk (1963)
  • The Celebrity Game (1964-65; reran from 1967-68)
  • PDQ (1965-69) and its revival, Baffle (1973-74)
  • Showdown! (1966)
  • The Hollywood Squares (1966-81) and its juvenile version, The Storybook Squares (1969)
  • Temptation (1967-68; not related with the Sale of the Century remake from 2005)
  • Funny You Should Ask!! (1968-69; has nothing to do with the 2017 series of the same name)
  • Lohman & Barkley's Name Droppers (1969-70)
  • The Amateur's Guide to Love (1972)
  • Gambit (1972-76) and its revival, Las Vegas Gambit (1980-81, pilot had a "Living Deck" that The David Letterman Show mocked on its Grand Finale)
  • Runaround (1972-73; pilot taped in 1971)
  • High Rollers (1974-76, 1978-80)
  • The Magnificent Marble Machine (1975-76)
  • Hot Seat (1976)
  • The Confidence Game (October 28, 1976; unsold pilot hosted by Jim McKrell)
  • To Say the Least (1977-78)
  • Bedtime Stories (1979)

Heatter and Quigley also worked with Hanna-Barbera on Wacky Races (1968-70), which was to originally include a game show element. (This was why Dick Dastardly and Muttley were often replaced by expies in various other H-B projects like Laff-A-Lympics- the rights for them were tangled up between H-B and H-Q.)

"This has been a Merrill Heatter Production":

  • Battlestars (1981-82, 1983)
  • Fantasy (1982-83, with Earl Greenberg Productions and Columbia Pictures Television)
  • All-Star Blitz (1985, with Peter Marshall Enterprises; began as a 1984 pilot called Hot Numbers)
  • Lucky Numbers (1985 {two pilots}, High Rollers revival attempt with Alex Trebek, the eventual theme music, and a somewhat different format)
  • The New Hollywood Squares (1986-89, with Century Towers Productions (Orion); format rights currently rest with CBS thanks to buyout of King World, who acquired format from bankrupt Orion in 1991 and produced another revival from 1998 to 2004)
  • Bargain Hunters (1987, with Josephson Communications Inc.)
  • High Rollers (1987-88, with Century Towers Productions {Orion}; pilot taped in late 1986, with a game not used on the series)
  • The Last Word (1989-90)
  • Hollywood Teasers (1993; unsold attempt to revive All-Star Blitz, with MCA TV)
  • Casino (April 16, 2002 {at least three pilots}; unsold Gambit revival, with King World for GSN)
  • Catch 21 (2008-11, with Scott Sternberg Productions)

Heatter also collaborated with Mark Goodson on The Match Game-Hollywood Squares Hour (1983-84).