|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 written by Barry DeVorzon (as DeVorshon) and Kelly Gordon. 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 show’s music was composed by Arlo and costumes were done by Deryk Brian.
|The Shenanigans board game.|
Any idea who wrote the earworm of a theme song?
Not that I could find.
Thanks. I had forgotten the question!
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.
In the U.S. Copyright Office database I found an entry entitled "Shenanigans" by Barry De Vorzon and Kelly Gordon (https://cdn.loc.gov/service/copyright/hprcatcard/19/55/19/70/DE/VO/N-/DE/VR/X/19551970DEVON-DEVRX/CC19551970DEVON-DEVRX.0482.jpg)
The date published is pretty close to the show's premiere date, September 1964. Any thoughts on whether this could be the theme music? I know De Vorzon went on to write a lot of film and TV music, so I don't think it's totally out of the question that he could have been the composer. I had previously assumed that perhaps it was Bill Loose, as he did "Hollywood Squares" for Heatter-Quigley five years later. Who knows?
Confirmed! I found a recent (July 2021) YouTube video of a Shenanigans episode with the most complete closing music/credits I've seen yet and yes, it actually says "Shenanigans theme by Barry DeVorshon [sic] and Kelly Gordon"!! See and hear it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HyX9t8iM8eY
from comments at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HyX9t8iM8eY
Man that theme is catchy. Co-written by Barry De Vorzon (S.W.A.T., Nadia's Theme from The Young and the Restless, and Simon & Simon). Credited as Barry Devorshon."
(cannot find corroboration)
Awesome! Thanks for that info! I'll be updating the entry accordingly.
Thanks again for your great work!
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