Game Show 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 PM (three rounds of questions) 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 Hollywood Squares with three more celebrities joining the group. The champion always played X, the challenger O, and 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.). There was also no Secret Square, carrying over from Squares' 1980-81 syndicated season. When time expired, whoever had the most cash became champion and played the Super Match.
While the concept was sound and the audiovisuals top-notch, the lack of regular panelists and Goodson's insistence on not going with what made Squares work hurt the show's overall quality. It didn't help that its competition included ABC's General Hospital, then TV's top-rated daytime soap opera, which drew viewers away. The Hour lasted nine months (October 31, 1983 to July 27, 1984), being replaced by Santa Barbara.
This show provides examples of:
- The '80s: When the show aired, obviously, but also pertains to the pop culture references. Mentions of Ronald Reagan, Michael Jackson, Mr. T, and Boy George are common.
- The Announcer: Gene Wood. Johnny Olson, Bob Hilton, and Rich Jeffries all filled in for a few weeks.
- Ascended Extra: Subverted with Jon Bauman; though he appeared as a panelist on Match Game during the 1973-82 era (in his "Bowzer" persona), it wasn't the Match portion he ended up hosting.
- Bonus Round: A modified version of the Super Match - 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 top prize of $30,000.
- Bonus Space: One of the nine celebrities would multiply the Audience Match winnings by 30 if chosen.
- Curb-Stomp Battle: On the Monday episode of week 5, the final score in the Squares segment was $1,300 to $25. Gene even felt so bad for the losing contestant that he jokingly came over to her podium and gave her a few more dollars from his pocket!
- Downer Ending:
- Several contestants played for $30,000 and lost.
- On the January 30, 1984 episode, a contestant played the Super Match for $10,000 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".)
- Inverted on the April 4, 1984 episode; faced with the Super Match phrase "Chicago _____", Jayne Meadows wrote down one answer, but crossed it out and went with another. As it turned out, her second answer of "Illinois" matched the champion for $20,000! (Her first answer, as seen X-ed out on the card, was "Cubs")
- Early-Installment Weirdness:
- In early episodes, when Gene was selected during the Squares portion for the first time, Jon gave a disclaimer that "while Gene is the host of the Match Game portion of our show, he has never seen any of the Hollywood Squares questions". This practice was dropped during the second week.
- During the first week of shows, some of the Squares questions weren't multiple choice; because this frequently brought gameplay to a screeching halt with celebrities taking too much time to think of a response (due to the aforementioned lack of briefing for the celebs), this was also gone by week 2.
- Game Show Host: Gene Rayburn for the Match parts, Jon Bauman of Sha Na Na fame for the Squares part. Each host took the bottom-left seat during the other's portions.
- Luck-Based Mission: The Match Game tiebreaker. Each contestant chose one of four possible answers to a fill-in-the-blank question, out of sight of the panel. Gene then polled the panel, one celebrity at a time, and the first contestant to match any of them won the game.
- Obvious Rule Patch: The gotta-earn-the-win-yourself rule from Squares was thrown out due to time constraints, although the five-square-win rule remained.
- In the Super Match, the Audience Match rules were modified slightly. On the original Match Game, failing to match any of the top three answers in this half ended the round and awarded the contestant nothing. Here, they received $100 to use in the Head-to-Head Match (as a result, all subsequent MG revivals have likewise offered a "consolation payoff" if a contestant bombs the Audience Match).
- Pilot: Pretty much the same as the series, with the notable difference of having three contestants in the Match portion. For the Head-to-Head Match, each celebrity had an X and an O tab. One had the name of the celebrity, the other had a cash amount. The champion selected one celebrity at a time, then picked one of the two tabs. Every time the champ found cash, it was added to the pot and they got another turn; once a name turned up, the champ stopped picking and matched against that celebrity for the money in the pot. Clearing the board allowed the champ to match against the last celebrity for $100,000. There was also a lot more blue on the Hollywood Squares portion of the set. Clips from this pilot appeared in early NBC promos for the series.
- Product Placement: Cast members from then-current NBC series frequently appeared as panelists and talked up their shows during the game.
- Recycled Soundtrack: The main theme and contestant plug cues were recycled over to The Price Is Right - the former used for new cars (and the retired pricing game Super Ball!!), the latter usually for exercise equipment. They stayed on the show until just after Drew Carey took over. In addition, the theme was used for new cars during the 1986-89 runs of Card Sharks after the car game was added.
- Running Gag: Gene sometimes referred to the area behind the panel set as "the canal," complete with sound effects of seagulls, splashing water, a foghorn, and so on.
- Scenery Porn: The set was rather inventive, with a huge light-up marquee board (48×16 pixels) as the backdrop that displayed the show's title, the celebrities' and hosts' 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, with a third tier rolled in for Squares. The seating area was further designed to look like the traditional Squares grid when seen head-on, with the backdrop behind each star lighting up with an X or O as games progressed.
- Shout-Out: Jon liked to do the "mouth wide open" pose of his Bowzer persona in Sha Na Na during the Match Game half of the show.
- Theme Tune: The theme for this show became a car prize cue for The Price Is Right and the 1986-89 iterations of Card Sharks.
- Trust Me, I'm an X: Frequent guest Marty Cohen had a Running Gag where he tended to claim he majored in whatever subject he was answering a question about in the Squares portion. At the end of Cohen's first week, he revealed that he'd never graduated from high school.