1 9 6 0 – 1 9 6 2 (USA)
513 x 30 minute episodes
1 9 6 2 – 1 9 6 6 (Australia)
30 minute episodes
Two contestants, each accompanied by a “second” (a friend or relative), competed in this life-sized board game from CBS.
The original host was Jack Narz served (introduced on-air as “Mayor”). Monty Hall replaced Narz and hosted from September 1960 for the remainder of the show’s run.
Kenny Williams served as the announcer (the “town crier”) throughout the show’s run. Joanne Copeland (later to become the second Mrs Johnny Carson) served as the show’s original hostess (or “Assistant Mayor”). She was replaced by Eileen Barton when production moved from New York to Hollywood.
The game itself was laid out in three “streets” – Money Street, Bridge Street and Magic Mile: On Money Street, contestants won cash by landing on spaces and answering a question. Special spaces included “Lose-A-Turn,” “Free Turn,” “Go to Jail” (the contestant was escorted to an on-stage jail and had to answer a question correctly to get out) and “Do it Yourself”, where successfully completing a stunt won the player a prize worth up to $150.
On Bridge Street, contestants had to perform stunts to win cash prizes, and Magic Mile was similar to Money Street, except with bigger stakes and different spaces, including “$100 Free Cash,” “1-2-3 Go, 4-5-6 No” (the player could only advance by rolling 1, 2 or 3) and “Switch Places” (which required contestants to switch places).
The contestant’s second rolled a cage containing a die and “Town Crier” Kenny Williams called out each move. The first contestant to cross the finish line won the game and received a bonus prize (usually worth more than $2,000). The losers kept their prizes.
A Saturday morning series – Video Village Junior – was played with contestants aged 5 to 10 years. The child’s cash winnings were placed into a special savings bond, which matured on their 18th birthday.
In 1960, Milton Bradley released a “home version” of the game. The board game had rules that closely matched those of the TV show. The game proved popular enough copies were still sold even after the show had been cancelled.
A local Australian version based on Video Village Junior was produced by Crawford Productions for HSV7 in Melbourne from 1962 to 1966. The hosts were Danny Webb (Mayor) and Liz Harris (Mayoress) – later to be Mrs Leonard Teale – with Chris Christensen (later replaced by Vic Gordon) as the announcer (Town Crier).
Announcer (Town Crier)
Hostess (Assistant Mayor)