How does "Hollywood Squares" work?

Are all of the “squares” told whether or not to answer questions correctly, or do they use their own knowledge to answer? Thanks! ;j

Based on the evidence I’ve seen, it would appear that the Squares use their own knowledge to answer the questions, and give correct answers or bluffs randomly.

I believe that the celebrities are told the questions ahead of time, so that they can work out “ad-libbed” jokes pertaining to the subject matter of the question. Paul Lynde’s famed catty jokes were well-rehearsed ahead of time, because he knew the questions that were coming. But he wasn’t told the right answer to the question- he either knew that on his own, or he made up an answer. That was up to him.

I believe that I have read in the credits that some of the “ad-libbed” jokes are suggested.

According to Dr. Drew and Adam Carolla (who have both been on the show), guests know the answers before beforehand. All that fumbling around - the ummms, uhhhhs and errrrrs - are just (bad) acting. Lord knows why they do this. Maybe astorian is on to something, and guests are given Q&A so that they can prepare a series of quips and puns ahead of time.

Not that I have a cite for this, but it is a rumor I’ve heard that sounds the most realistic.

All of the squares have a small video screen at the desk. They get the question there, as well as the correct answer, some incorrect answers and a few humorous lines should they choose to attempt them.

I just know the slot machine version of the show. :smiley:
Real money comes out–more if the celebrity you choose on the touch screen actually gets the answer to the question right. (It’s not interactive.)

I forget who the interview was with… but it was with a “odd” celebrity who did the show… like Triumph the Insult Comic Dog or someone from the Howard Stern show… Actually I think it was on Howard Stern, he and a celebrity guest were discussing the show because they had both done it… or at least someone on Howard’s show had done it… maybe Robin… oh that Squinty weasly guy too with the yelling annoying voice… and looks very nebbish… forget his name but he’s a “regular” on Hollywood Squares… Anyway… its like this:

The Stars get both the questions and answers before hand. They are also given “suggested” jokes for all the answers. They don’t have to use them. They also have the option to give the right answer or bluff. All 5 shows are taped back-to-back on Mondays… or it might be 3/2 Monday/Tuesday.

Also, Bruce Villanch, the fat bearded openly homosexual guy with no neck (also unfunny) is the head writer for the show and writes most of the “suggested” jokes.

In the 70’s version, if a celebrity genuinely didn’t know the answer or couldn’t fake it, they wouldn’t answer and Peter Marshall would ask the contestant if they wanted to attempt to answer the question.

What I have read is similar to what Nemo said, but I believe the stars don’t know exactly what the correct answer is - they are given a multiple choice selection to pick from (along with suggested quips). Sometimes it’s very obvious that they’re looking a something, trying to make a decision.

Per the credits and verbal statements on the old Peter Marshall version, stars were “briefed” before the show to help them with their bluffs but were hearing the actual questions for the first time when Peter read them.

The show’s been around almost 40 years - it’s probable that things have changed over time.

Paul Lynde absolutely denied getting suggested jokes or getting to make them up beforehand.

Also in the 70’s I believe (no cite, sorry), when they were given the question the celebrity got exactly two answers, without being told which of the two was the right one.

According to Peter Marshall, it’s a combination of the two. Celebrities were never told exactly what question was going to come but were given an idea of what topic it would be. Paul Lynde and a couple of others were always given a specific joke answer but never the correct one, they had to come up with that on their own.

Judging from the Gilbert Gottfried incident shown on NBC recently, celebs in the current incarnation do have knowledge of the questions & answers beforehand and respond at random.


NBC has been running clips of great gameshow moments Mondays at 8 (Eastern). Last week’s show closed with a clip of Gilbert Gottfried in the current version with Whoopi in the center & producing. The entire board was filled up except for Gilbert’s square. Whichever contestant won his square won that round but that particular round set the record for the longest one ever played. It went something like this:[list=#][]Gilbert provides smart-alec answer, Contestant X agrees. Gilbert says “You fool!”[]Gilbert provides correct answer, Contestant O disagrees. Gilbert says, “You fool!”[]Gilbert provides smart-alec answer, X agrees. Gilbert and a few others, “You fool!”[]Correct answer, O disagrees, all celebs exclaim, “You fool!”[]Correct answer, X disagrees, “You fool!”[]Smart-alec answer, O agrees, “You fool!”[]Correct answer, X disagrees, “You fool!”[]Smart-alec answer, O agrees, “You fool!”Correct answer, X agrees (finally), jubilation all around.[/list]

In all cases, the “You fool!” came before the host had a chance to say if the contestant won his square or not. It’s pretty obvious that all the celebs knew when Gilbert was bluffing and when he wasn’t.

Or it could be the celebs were cued to shout “you fool!” or they picked up on it after the second time Gilbert shouted.

When Homer bowled a 300 and was an instant celebrity, he was on Hollywood Squares. When he was asked a question he held up 2 pieces of paper and asked “Which is the jokes and which is the answers?”

True, maybe only Gilbert really knew what he was doing.

I simply cannot believe that someone wrote Triumph the Comic Insult Dog’s lines for him (calling Kathie Lee a bitch, "shaving pussy…cats!).