In 1965, they created the classic game show The Hollywood Squares and they sold their company to Filmways. On many of Heatter-Quigley's most popular game shows, beginning with Video Village, a key element of the game itself was magnified, in some cases to larger than life. Other examples included Hollywood Squares, which easily fit into that category as it featured a gigantic tic-tac-toe board; High Rollers, featuring an extra large pair of dice; Gambit, utilizing a large deck of playing cards in a game of blackjack; The Magnificent Marble Machine, which featured a huge pinball machine; and Hot Seat, with an over-sized lie detector.
In 1981, Quigley retired and ended his partnership with Merrill Heatter just before Filmways was bought by Orion Pictures. Quigley died in 1989. Heatter continued going solo and produced new game shows, such as Battlestars, All-Star Blitz, Bargain Hunters, and the 1980s version of High Rollers. On September 28, 1998, Heatter leased the worldwide rights to his solo-developed game shows to King World for a limited time. That option has now expired.
MGM Television acquired the rights retained by Orion Television to the Heatter-Quigley shows, with the exception of Hollywood Squares format rights that Orion sold to King World Productions after Orion closed down its television division on November 25, 1991. Today, the remaining series of the Heatter-Quigley library are owned by Orion Television (a subsidiary of MGM Television) since 2013.
Kenny Williams was the announcer on all of Heatter-Quigley's game shows except for two: Temptation (announced by Carl King) and The Magnificent Marble Machine (announced by Johnny Gilbert), with both shows hosted by Art James.
Many hosts would become famous for the shows they did for HQ, with Peter Marshall being most famous for Hollywood Squares, while Wink Martindale would have his first big hit with Gambit, and Alex Trebek would see his first hit in America (after a long run with Reach for the Top in his native Canada) with High Rollers.
Titles by Heatter-Quigley Productions
- Video Village/Video Village, Jr. (1960–1962)
- Double Exposure (1961)
- People Will Talk (1963)
- The Celebrity Game (1964)
- Shenanigans (1964–1965)
- PDQ (1966–1969)
- Showdown (1966)
- Hollywood Squares/Storybook Squares (1966-1981 version)
- Temptation (1967–1968)
- Funny You Should Ask (1968–1969)
- Wacky Races (1968-1970, co-produced with Hanna-Barbera, like Orion's back catalog from the 1978–1982 joint venture period and some post-1982 films, rights owned by Warner Bros.; the only non-game show produced by the company, although it was intended to have a game show element)
- Name Droppers (1969)
- Gambit (1972–1976)
- Runaround (1972–1973)
- Amateur's Guide to Love (1972)
- Baffle (1973), a revival of PDQ.
- All-Star Baffle (1974), Baffle with no "civilian" contestants.
- High Rollers (1974-1976; 1978-1980)
- The Magnificent Marble Machine (1975–1976)
- Hot Seat (1976)
- To Say the Least (1977–1978)
- Bedtime Stories (1979)
- Las Vegas Gambit (1980–1981)
Titles by Merrill Heatter Productions
- Battlestars (1981–1982)
- Fantasy (1982–1983) (co-produced by Earl Greenberg Productions and Columbia Pictures Television)
- The New Battlestars (1983)
- All-Star Blitz (1985) (co-produced by Peter Marshall Enterprises)
- Bargain Hunters (1987) (co-produced by Josephson Communications, Inc.)
- High Rollers (1987–1988) (co-produced by Century Towers Productions and syndicated by Orion Television Syndication)
- The Last Word (1989–1990) (syndicated by Turner Program Services)
- Catch 21 (2008–2011) (co-produced by Scott Sternberg Productions)
Notes and references
- KING WORLD INTERNATIONAL ACQUIRES EXCLUSIVE INTERNATIONAL FORMAT RIGHTS TO GAME SHOW CATALOGUE FROM MERRILL HEATTER PRODUCTIONS, INC., prnewswire.co.uk
- "KING GETS THE SQUARE". Broadcasting: p. 26. 1991-11-25.