If you read yesterday’s entry, you know I checked the BuzzerBlog Facebook page for a story that Brooke Burns will host GSN’s Master Minds, the new version of the not so successful Best Ever Trivia Show. While I was at the site, I clicked a link to an interesting Twitter thread posted by Jon Bauman about the long departed Match Game Hollywood Squares Hour.

There’s not really much new information in the thread. Bauman points out what many others have noted: Mark Goodson’s refusal to script the celebrity players pretty much destroyed the Hollywood Squares half of the show.

Goodson, of course, was always haunted by the 1950s fixing scandals, and he thought that scripting the celebs was a little too close to rigging. The problem is that Hollywood Squares simply doesn’t work without scripted material for the celebrities. There’s a similar issue on the current Funny You Should Ask, which is why that show scripts their celebs, too.

Bauman retraces this familiar story. He also admits that his co-host Gene Rayburn was not his biggest fan, but that problem was common knowledge, too. (Right, Joey Fatone?) But overall, Jon still seems to have enjoyed the show’s brief run.

At least Bauman’s comments might give a tiny bit of publicity to Buzzr’s current reruns of Match Game Hollywood Squares Hour. The bargain-basement diginet can use all the help it can get.

I mentioned the 1950s rigging scandals, and they have an odd relationship to a book I just finished reading, The Winter of Our Discontent. This was John Steinbeck’s last completed novel, published in 1961. That year was not long after the game show scandals broke.

A confession: I am not a Steinbeck fan. I think he’s a preachy, propagandistic, holier-than-thou writer who likes to lecture us about our moral failings. The Winter of Our Discontent takes this pharisee-like hectoring to an obnoxious max, as Steinbeck dumps loud and long on the sins of his fellow man.

One of those sins is the rigging of game shows, which Steinbeck refers to several times in the book and even works into the plot. John probably would have ruined Hollywood Squares, too, if he had produced a revival of the show.


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