Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Don Knotts For The Block

A friend of mine sent me one of those pass-around e-mails about the Hollywood Squares.

If you don't remember, the Hollywood Squares was this incredibly cheesy game show that was on for about a century (Wikipedia page). It was a giant, vertical tic-tac-toe board, and there was a fading celebrity sitting in each space on the board. Contestants chose which place on the board they wanted to X or O, and the host asked the celebrity a question. The celebrity would answer the question, but usually, they added some kind of wisecrack (all pre-written, as this entire show was canned, basically). If the contestant correctly identified whether the celebrity was correct or incorrect, their mark was placed in that square.

This was an era where there were three channels of television, at least in my town when I was a kid, so unless I wanted to watch Gilligan's Island for the ten thousandth time, I watched a lot of Hollywood Squares.

Don Knotts was on the show occasionally. Let me identify my bias upfront: I love Don Knotts. I still think he was absolutely, freaking hilarious--a terrific physical comedian, great character actor (even though he really only played one character), and totally likable.

If you want to see him, and you've never seen The Reluctant Astronaut, that's a good place to start.

Anyway, the one character he played was always incredibly nervous and almost totally incompetent. So he was on the Hollywood Squares, and he had this exchange with the host:
Q.You've been having trouble going to sleep. Are you probably a man or a woman?
A. Don Knotts: That's what's been keeping me awake.

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