Let’s Make a Deal

Let's Make a Deal

If there is one thing that contestents of Let’s Make a Deal could have really used it is X-ray vision. Instead, they had to rely on pure intuition as they decided whether to take Monty’s modest cash offering or instead reveal what lurked behind one of three doors. Choose wisely and the sky was the limit. Choose poorly and you might just become a proud parent to a new llama.

Hosted by Maurice Halperin, better known as Monty Hall, Let’s Make a Deal was all about choices. Monty would make them numerous offers – a chance at a car perhaps, or a chance at the dreaded Zonk, a prize consisting of worthless junk that nobody would ever want. Along with model Carol Merrill and announcer Jay Stewart, Monty Hall led the deal making on and off for 16 years.

At first, contestants wore their finest suits and dresses but they soon learned that one was far more likely to catch the eye of Monty if they dressed a little more outside the norm. Soon after, everyone was showing up wearing some of the most outrageous costumes ever witnessed on television, all in the hopes of garnering their moment of fame.

If they were lucky (or even enthusiastic) enough to be chosen, they might have to perform a skill-based task, guessing prices and such ala The Price is Right. Or, they might play a game of chance, such as choosing four of seven envelopes, each containing money, in the hopes that the amounts in each would add up to seven dollars. But most times, it was simply a matter of choosing what was behind one of those three maddening doors. And if they chose poorly, they might be going home with a supply of pasta, a junker of a car, a blanket … or even livestock.

Of course, players didn’t really have to take the cows or cars home; they could trade the beast for a consolation prize. Still, there was nothing worse than choosing door number 2 (which contained a duck) while door number 3 had a brand new car, European vacation, or leather living room furniture set.

The original run of Let’s Make a Deal lasted from 1963 to 1976. It was brought back in 1980, 1984, 1990, and 2003, although it never recaptured the popularity of the first 13 seasons. Most of that is owed to Monty Hall, a man who was all charm and smooth talking. Chances were, if he made you a deal, it was a pretty hard thing to pass up – even if it meant making a stop at the feed and tack store on the way home.

Did you tune in faithfully to Let’s Make a Deal each week? Better yet, did you ever appear on the show? We’d love to hear all of your memories of this classic game show in our comments section below.

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