Hollywood Squares Classics II

When my good buddy Russ in California saw Friday's classic Hollywood Squares lines, he sent this "PG13"-rated follow-on.

Looks like you are/were a Squares fan. I used to watch it once in a while.

You have inspired me to write up the following!

In the very late 70s a close friend and I decided to visit South Shore Lake Tahoe for the weekend. The Harrahs Hotel there was as fancy as anything I had ever seen at the time: large plush room with controls for the TV and lights built into the headboard of the bed. The views of the lake and mountains were spectacular!

Since it was just to be a relaxing "no plans" weekend, we decided at the very last moment to go to the showroom to see if we could get in that evening. Much to our surprise we were ushered right in and a reasonable tip landed us a booth in a good location. Unbeknownst to us, it was Sammy Davis Jr's 50th year in showbiz. He said he wanted to celebrate there because Mr. Harrah had been such a help to him in his early career. I'd always liked him ...but this show was fantastic. He did everything from old favorites like Mr. Bojangles and Candy Man to a medley of commercials he'd done like, "Plop Plop Fizz Fizz" to "I'm a Pepper too". He even came and stood right next to me while Florence Henderson (among others) saluted him.

As great as Sammy was, I cannot ever think of that night without remembering the sign outside the hotel announcing Peter Marshall as his opening act. At first I had no idea who he was, only later recognizing the host of the then very popular Hollywood Squares. What amazed me was his very talented singing and dancing. But what delights me to this day is thinking about the Squares "outtakes" he showed us on the big screen. No way could these answers have made it to network television in those days! They were all gutbusters to see that night, especially with his commentary. Here are just a couple I remember:

Peter Marshall: How many balls on a pool table?
Charley Weaver: Depends on how many guys are playing.

Peter Marshall: Why do we beat meat?
Paul Lynde (without missing a beat [yep, I swear that's the word Russ used when he wrote this up!], and with the inflection only he could put on it): Loneliness.

Peter Marshall: Before they get married Japanese women always shave something. What is it?
John Davidson (You have to remember here that this was the All American Boy -- clean cut with teeth that would make Tony Curtis in The Great Race envious. You could tell by the looks on Davidson's face what he was thinking: "I know all these other guys like Weaver and Lynde and Gobel would have some racy double entendre clever thing to say, and I am too clean cut to say it even if I could think it. I will just turn red. I will look sheepish." The camera panned to the other guys who were almost rolling on the floor at the idea that such a perfect set up question had gone to Mr. Goodguy -- they could not stand it. The longer it went on the more the whole crew was losing it, laughing at his predicament. Finally Davidson knows he must say something ...but the only thing he could think of to say was to just pontificate about nothing, to attempt to just ramble a minute while the situation eased up on him. But he did not think ahead quite enough and in what I am convinced was not at all staged, begins): "On the whole I'd say...." Right at that moment he -- just a step behind the rest of the gang -- realized what he had said, inadvertently about the worst thing that he could say, and the look of that realization and immediate embarrassment was ...well, like they say on the MasterCard ads:

Room at Harrahs at that time...$50
Dinner for two at the show with drinks...$30
The look on Davidson's face...priceless!

Posted August 27, 2012 8:00 AM

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