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Kay Kyser's Kollege of Musical Knowledge
"I remember a Saturday morning kid's show called Shenanigans that was a life sized replica of a real board game.
"The kid contestants were the game pieces and moved along the squares on the board which were all basically like booths at the midway of a fair. My favorite was the "Pie in the Eye" where you had to throw a cream pie into this big eye as it blinked and opened..."
- Ben Corr
We've gotten so many requests like the one above, and I've been searching for any sign of Shenanigans for years. Thanks to our friend John Weber, you're about to see clips from this fondly remembered 1964-65 ABC Saturday morning game show - sponsored by Milton Bradley.
Shenanigans was one of two shows that featured kids as pawns on a giant game board - Video Village, Jr (1960-61) was another.
Video Village, Jr was a CBS Saturday morning game based on the primetime and daytime game show Video Village (1960-62), which featured adults playing on the big game board.
"For those who may remember the classic CBS game Video Village, the original 'Mayor of Video Village' was Jack Narz," TVpartier Robert Weigel writes. "The show aired weekday mornings with adult contestants; a kid's version aired on Saturday mornings. Like almost all game shows, it originated from New York City.
"However, after a couple of seasons, Jack Narz was replaced by Monty Hall and the show was then moved 3,000 miles away to CBS Television City in Hollywood (they were equipped for color broadcasts).
"The move has been referred to as the beginning of the end of Video Village, as embittered New Yorkers and their children began to tune out the program (the theft of the Brooklyn Dodgers by the City of Los Angeles was still fresh in the minds of many East Coasters and tourists)."
Shenanigans starred singer/dancer/comic actor Stubby Kaye, one of Broadway's most versatile and talented performers (Guys and Dolls, L'il Abner).
A role that would go to Nathan Lane today would have gone to Stubby Kaye in the sixties. Stubby also appeared as a regular on game shows in the Fifties like Pantomime Quiz (ABC 58-59), Stump The Stars (CBS 62-64) and sitcoms Love and Marriage (NBC 59-60) and My Sister Eillen (CBS 1960-61).
Shenanigans also featured announcer Kenny Williams as the 'Kenny the Cop', who participated in the games and helped to keep things moving along.
The object of the game: two kids compete on a three dimensional game board, landing on spaces that direct them to perform a stunt or receive a prize. Money was given out as Shenanaganzas, which were redeemable later as trading stamps like you got at the grocery store. Remember those?
Shenanigans was sponsored by game maker Milton Bradley and the trials the kids went through to get to the end were mostly based on Milton Bradley Games - like Operation and Time Bomb.
The commercials were all for Milton Bradley products as well, which proves that Saturday Morning toy tie-ins go back a long way.
In the ultimate bastardization, you could also buy the Shenanigans game - from Milton Bradley, of course.
The MB commercials are classics in themselves, no kid who saw them could ever forget them because of the superior art direction and unforgettable music jingles.
The toy designs are exciting as well, the fact that many of these games are still manufactured today ('Candyland' for instance) is a testament to that.
After a well-received first season, Shenanigans was renewed, returning after a summer hiatus. Ratings declined and Shenanigans was pulled in December, 1965.
Stubby Kaye died in 1999, Shenanigans was his last regular TV gig and he was rarely seen even as a guest-star on television after 1966.
REALLY old people might remember the first Shenanigans - a 1950's local New York WPIX show with Shenanigans' co-producer Bob Quigley as host.
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