March 28, 2020


(ABC, September 26, 1964-March 20, September 25-December 18, 1965)

Heatter-Quigley Productions, Four Star Television

Stubby Kaye – The Mayor
Kenny Williams – Kenny the Cop/Announcer

            Shenanigans was a Saturday morning game show developed by the Milton Bradley Company for Heatter-Quigley Productions.

High shot of the contestant moving up the game board.

            The show was similar to Heatter-Quigley’s earlier Video Village Junior in that it was like a living board game. Two children contestants moved around a giant game board by a number of spaces (1-4) determined by a set of flashing lights stopped when two other children, known as “The Pressers”, pressed a button. The children then had to either answer a question correctly or successfully perform a stunt to earn “Shenaniganzas”; in-game money used to exchange for prizes in the Top Value Stamps Catalog. “Shenaniganzas” would also be awarded whenever a contestant landed on specific spots on the board. Other spots included “Lose a Turn”, “Free Turn”, or “Go to the Dog House”, which acted like a time-out jail for a contestant until they pressed an unmarked button that played a specifically requested sound.

Kenny the Cop puts a contestant in the dog house.

Many of the stunts were inspired by Milton Bradley’s games, such as having to play Operation on a life-sized dummy. To determine which kid started the game, the two of them played a game of Time Bomb (essentially “Hot Potato” with a toy bomb). There was also an assortment of carnival games, such as a test of strength, balloon popping, and a haunted house where a mystery prize could be retrieved from the “Shenanighoul” that lived inside. The first one across the finish line or farthest ahead when time ran out won the game. The runner-up got whatever “Shenaniganzas” they accumulated and an assortment of consolation prizes like fishing rods or bikes, as well as a copy of the Shenanigans board game. The winner also won the board game and a slightly better assortment of prizes, such as a record player. The Pressers were also given an assortment of Milton Bradley games for their participation.

Confronting the Shenanighoul for a prize.

            Shenanigans originally aired locally on New York City’s WPIX in 1952, with Bob Quigley serving as the host. It only lasted 6 months. For the retooled ABC version, Stubby Kaye was enlisted as “The Mayor of Shenanigans” and also sang the theme song. Kenny Williams served as the announcer and Kenny the Cop, similar to the roles he performed on Video Village. Along with standard commercial breaks, a loud Morse code-like signal would tell Williams to head over to a wall of Milton Bradley games and do an in-show commercial for one of them. Kaye and Williams would also perform various goofy comedy routines to open and close out each episode.

The Shenanigans board game.

            Shenanigans debuted on September 26, 1964, and was well-received. It took a hiatus for the summer and returned the following September. Unfortunately, the ratings declined substantially and the show as cancelled in December of 1965.



  1. Any idea who wrote the earworm of a theme song?

  2. Thanks. I had forgotten the question!

    1. Yeah, sorry about that. Blogger stopped alerting me to any comment activity and I found all of them by accident. Now I'm actively checking.