For many of a certain age the mention of Video Village will conjure up some fond memories.
Video Village was a popular game show of the 1960s, produced by Crawford Productions for HSV7 in Melbourne and screened on a number of interstate stations.
Launched in July 1962, Video Village was hosted by “mayor” Danny Webb, a presenter at HSV since its inception in 1956, with “mayoress”, actress Elizabeth Harris and “town crier”, singer Chris Christensen.
Based on an American show of the same name, Video Village took the format of a life-sized board game where contestants made their way around the “village” by completing tasks or quizzes. The show originally screened in an early afternoon timeslot but by April 1964 it had shifted to the after-school timeslot of 4.00pm, making it more accessible to younger viewers.
Such was its popularity that the show would receive anything up to 4000 letters a week — mostly from would-be contestants but others would be fan mail for the show’s hosts or even lottery tickets bought in their name. Some letter writers also admired the three-wheel electric-powered bus that would ferry the hosts around the set.
The show continued until April 1966 after Sydney and Adelaide TV stations stopped buying the program, and as HSV was making a dramatic purge of children’s TV production — with the long-running series The Happy Show also axed some months earlier.
Webb continued as a presenter and journalist for HSV7 for many years afterwards, while Harris moved onto The Magic Circle Club, Adventure Island and roles in various dramas including Prisoner, Sons And Daughters, A Country Practice and GP.
Vic Gordon, who had replaced the late Christensen as the village’s “town crier” in early 1966, concentrated on theatre work but would later return to TV in the 1970s in drama series Matlock Police.
Source: The Age, 5 July 1962. TV Week, 8 September 1963. TV Times, 20 April 1966.
I was on Video Village in 1964 and wondering if you had the video of it
I was also a child contestant (probably early 1960s) and was hoping to get a copy of my episodes.
Did you have any luck and do you have any suggestions please?
My name is Michael Hodgson
Hi Michael your chances of getting any footage are very slim. Most likely the footage no longer exists, and even if it exists there are often copyright restrictions on releasing footage. I can only suggest you contact the National Film and Sound Archive in Canberra or perhaps Channel 7 but again I doubt either of them will be able to assist.
When it screened in Canberra we never missed an episode. Loved it…so much that we had the Video Village board game. A few years ago I managed to track one down – all complete and (most importantly) made by John Sands in Australia, not the US made version.
The original American version ran on CBS from 1960 to 1962, in prime-time, weekday daytime, and a children’s version on Saturdays.
The first host of the U.S. version of the show was Jack Narz, (as “Mayor”) with Joanne Copeland as “assistant Mayor”, and an announcer, probably from the CBS New York staff (the show originally was broadcast from there) as the “Town Crier”.
Before long, production shifted from New York to Hollywood (reportedly because the show’s huge set was difficult to set-up and take down in the network’s New York studios, but much easier to do at CBS’s much larger Television City studios in Hollywood.
The move also resulted in a complete cast change, with the show’s three best-known personalities joining up upon the move West: Monty Hall (several years before his best-known show, “Let’s Make A Deal” premiered) as the new emcee and “Mayor”, Eileen Barton (a singer who several years before had recorded “If I Knew You Were Coming, I’d Had Baked A Cake”) as “Assistant Mayor “, and Kenny Williams as announcer and “Town Crier”.
While the American version ran only two years, the box-game version of “Video Village” became a big seller for the Milton Bradley company, and I think it was still being marketed a couple of years after the American version got cancelled.
Until I stumbled onto this website, I never knew this show had ever been done in Australia, or that the Aussie version ran much longer than the original American version.
I’m Robert Gengaroli.
I was on Video Billage in October, 1963. I was the boy that was selected by Lorain Bailey from the audience . I got picked after acting like a monkey on the monkey bar. I managed to take six watches out of a tank filled with water. I was on the show for 10 weeks.