This was my fave show as a little 4-year old in 1960 and a VERY rare find. This game show for kids was hosted by Monty Hall who went on the superstar status with Let’s Make A Deal.
Video Village was produced by Heatter-Quigley Productions, airing weekday mornings over the CBS network from July 11, 1960 to June 15, 1962. A primetime version was seen during the summer of 1960.
Called a “living board game" concept, contestants moved ahead or behind however many squares to win prizes. It was like a walking version of Candyland or Monopoly, there was even a jail where contestants had to answer a question correctly to get sprung. The game board was laid out with three streets: Money Street, Bridge Street and Magic Mile.
This wasn’t a big money event. Video Village premiered shortly after the quiz show scandals that, culminating in early 1959, wiped virtually every game show off the air, despite being the highest rated genre on TV (along with Westerns) in the 1950s. Didn’t help that none other than President Dwight D. Eisenhower called the fraudulent quiz programs, “A terrible thing to do to the American people.”
The show was broadcast from New York City with Jack Narz as the original host before relocating to LA with Monty Hall at the helm.
Kenny Williams was the announcer ("town crier") throughout the show's run, performing similar duties for Monty Hall on Let’s Make A Deal. I seem to remember on later episodes of Video Village, the moves were determined by a giant set of dice inside a cage. Also, contestants had a friend they brought along to actually move around the board.
If you had to pinpoint who the most likable game show host of the 1960s was, I’d vote for Monty Hall (I’d give the next decade to Bob Barker). On Video Village, Hall demonstrates that easy going charm and ability to move the game along that made Let’s Make A Deal such a mega-hit for ABC’s daytime schedule.
Video Village Jr.
"And now to guide you through the highways and byways of Video Village junior edition, here is his honor, Mayor MONTY HALL!"
A Saturday morning version aired from September 30, 1961 to June 16, 1962. Video Village Jr. was played virtually the same way but with contestants aged 5 to 10 years. Cash winnings came in the form of a Savings Bond that matured on their 18th birthday.
Today, Video Village is what they call an area on a film set where a large monitor is set up so that crew members can observe the movie as it’s being filmed.