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Host
Monty Hall
Models
Maggie Brown & Juliet Hall
Announcer
Chuck Chandler
Broadcast
Lmad80
Syndication: 1980-1981
Packagers
Stefan Hatos-Monty Hall Produtions/
Catalena Productions (1980-1981)
Distributor
Rhodes Productions (1980-1981)

The game show that's also dubbed "The Marketplace of America".

GameplayEdit

Each episode of Let's Make a Deal consists of several "deals" between the host and a member or members of the audience as traders. Audience members are picked at the host's whim as the show moves along, and couples are often selected to play together as traders. The deals are mini-games within the show that take several formats.

In the simplest format, a trader is given a prize of medium value (such as a television set), and the host offers them the opportunity to trade for another prize. However, the offered prize is unknown. It might be concealed on the stage behind one of three curtains, or behind "boxes" onstage (large panels painted to look like boxes), within smaller boxes brought out to the audience, or occasionally in other formats. The initial prize given to the trader may also be concealed, such as in a box, wallet or purse, or the trader might be initially given a box, envelope or curtain. The format varies widely.

Technically, traders are supposed to bring something to trade in, but this rule has seldom been enforced. On several occasions, a trader is actually asked to trade in an item such as their shoes or purse, only to receive the item back at the end of the deal as a "prize". On at least one occasion, the purse was taken backstage and a high-valued prize was placed inside of it.

Prizes generally were either a legitimate prize, cash, or a "Zonk". Legitimate prizes run the gamut of what is typically given away on game shows including trips, electronics, furniture, appliances, and cars. Zonks are unwanted booby prizes, which could be anything, including live animals, large amounts of food, fake money, fake trips or something outlandish like a giant article of clothing, a room full of junked furniture, a room full of [insert joke hear: ex. cactus] furniture, a "shopping cart" bike (or some other contraption), vegetable-related items, or a junked car. Sometimes Zonks are legitimate prizes but of a low value (e.g., Matchbox cars, wheelbarrows, T-shirts, small food or non-food grocery prizes, etc.) some even require a guy dressed in an animal costume, for example a giant high chair being used by the "ZONK Gorilla" or "ZONK-EM STYLE dance lessons" featuring all the Zonk animals (gorilla, llama, donkey and turtle) dancing Gangnam Style. On rare occasions, a trader appears to get Zonked, but the Zonk is a cover-up for a legitimate prize.

Though usually considered joke prizes, traders legally win the Zonks. However, after the taping of the show, any trader who had been Zonked is offered a consolation prize (currently $100) instead of having to take home the actual Zonk. This is partly because some of the Zonks are intrinsically or physically impossible to receive or deliver to the traders (such as live animals or the guy in an animal costume), or the props/employees are owned by the studio. A disclaimer at the end of the credits of later 1970s episodes read "Some traders accept reasonable duplicates of Zonk prizes." Starting in the 2012–13 season, CBS invited viewers to provide Zonk ideas to producers. At the end of the season, the Zonk declared the most creative was worth $2,500 to the winner, and other viewers' Zonk ideas were also used. For every viewer-developed Zonk, the host announced the viewer who provided the Zonk. The contest has been renewed for its second season in 2013.

Quickie DealsEdit

As the end credits of the show roll, it is typical for the host to ask random members of the studio audience to participate in fast deals. The deals are usually in the form of the following:

  • Offering cash to one person in the audience who had a certain item on them.
  • Offering a small cash amount for each item of a certain quantity.
  • Offering cash for each instance of a particular digit as it occurred in the serial number on a dollar bill, driver's license, etc.
  • Offering to pay the last check in the person's checkbook, if they had one, up to a certain limit (usually $500 or $1,000).

Other deal formatsEdit

Deals were often more complicated than the basic format described above. Additionally, some deals took the form of games of chance, and others in the form of pricing games.

Trading dealsEdit

  • Choosing an envelope, purse, wallet, etc., which conceal dollar bills. One of them conceals a pre-announced value (usually $1 or $5), which awards a car or trip. The other envelopes contain a larger amount of money as a consolation prize. The trader must decide whether to keep their choice or trade. In some playings it is possible for more than one trader to win the grand prize.
  • Making decisions for another person, such as a spouse or a series of unrelated traders. Sometimes after several offers, the teams are broken up to make an individual decision.
  • Being presented with a large grocery item (e.g., a box of candy bars)—almost always containing a hidden cash amount—or a "claim check" at the start of the show. Throughout the show, the trader is given several chances to trade the item and/or give it to another trader in exchange for a different box or curtain. The final trader in possession of the item prior to the Big Deal is usually offered first choice of the three doors in exchange for giving up the item. The contents of the item are only revealed after the Big Deal is awarded (or prior to the Big Deal if the last trader with the item elected to choose one of the three doors).
    • A variation of the above: A "cash box," with at various points the host inserting packets of money inside, with the contestant allowed to give it to another trader in exchange for a curtain or box. As with the above deal, the host only revealed the contents only after the last trader with the box goes for the Big Deal (again, he/she is given first choice of the doors) or after the Big Deal segment and before the closing credits.

Games of chanceEdit

Games of chance range wide in variety and format:

  • Collecting a certain amount of money hidden inside wallets, envelopes, etc., or by pressing unlabeled buttons on a cash register, in order to reach a pre-stated "selling price" for a larger prize, such as a car, trip or larger amount of cash. Typically, there may also be one or more Zonk items hidden which end the game immediately if found. (In the cash register game, if the Zonk button – the one that rings up "No Sale" – is found, the contestant was offered a chance to find the second "No Sale" sign to win the grand prize, otherwise the contestant won whatever amount was rang up, often double the amount)
  • Choosing one from among several items (e.g., one of three keys that unlocks a safe, one of three diamond rings that is genuine, one of three eggs that is raw, etc.) in order to win money or a prize. Sometimes, two or perhaps all three of the items would pay off with the state prize, especially if multiple contestants played.
  • Games involving a deck of cards in which a trader must find matching cards, draw cards that reach a cumulative total within a certain number of draws, etc. to win a prize or additional money.
  • Receiving clues about an unknown prize (such as a partial spelling of the prize or clues in the form or rap, rhyme, etc.) and deciding whether to take the unknown prize or a cash prize.

Depending on the game, the contestant is given the opportunity to stop the game at various points and take a "sure thing" deal or cash/prizes already accumulated or continue on and risk possibly losing.

Beat the DealerEdit

"Beat the Dealer" is a game played with three players. Prior to 2011, the three contestants each choose an envelope which contained cash (two each of $500 or $1,000, depending on the version; with the third containing $50 or $100). The contestant who found the smaller amount was eliminated, while the other two advanced to the second round. A prize package was shown, and the two advancing players each selected a playing card from a board displaying nine cards. The contestant with the higher card won the prize package and the other is eliminated. The remaining contestant could quit with their winnings so far or risk them in an attempt to add a car. If the contestant chose to play, he or she selected a card for himself or herself, and one for the host. Before the draw, the contestant was given the option to assign the card to either themself or the host. If the contestant again chose the higher card, he or she won all the prizes announced.

Since 2011, the initial round with three envelopes has been eliminated, and the first three contestants choose a card from the board to begin the game. The contestant selecting the lowest-ranked card is eliminated, while the other two receive $500. The game continues as before, first with the remaining contestants competing for a prize, and with the eventual winner deciding whether or not to risk everything won so far in order to also win a car.

Pricing gamesEdit

Other deals related to pricing merchandise are featured in order to win a larger prize or cash amounts. Sometimes traders are required to price individual items (either grocery products or smaller prizes generally valued less than $100) within a certain range to win successively larger prizes or a car. Other times traders must choose an item that a pre-announced price or two items with prices that total a certain amount to win a larger prize. Other deals are related to products in the form of when they were introduced to the market, general knowledge quizzes, or knowledge of geography of trips to certain locales used as prizes.

Big DealEdit

Each show ends with the Big Deal. Beginning with the day's biggest winner, and moving in order to the winner of the lowest prize value, the host asks each trader if they want to trade their winnings for a spot in the Big Deal (whose value was usually revealed at that point). He continues asking until two traders agreed to participate. However, in the CBS version, only one trader is asked to participate in the Big Deal.

The Big Deal involves three doors, famously known as "Door #1", "Door #2", and "Door #3", each of which contains a prize or prize package. In the two-trader format used until 2003, the top winner of the two was offered the first choice of a door, and the second trader was then offered a choice of the two remaining doors. In the one-trader format used since 2009, the trader simply selects a door.

One door hides the day's Big Deal, which is usually valued higher than the top prize offered on that specific episode to that point. It often includes the day's most expensive prize (a luxury or sports car, a trip, furniture/appliances, a fur, cash, or a combination of items). The other two doors conceal prizes or prize packages of lesser value. The Big Deal does not offer Zonks, although there is always the possibility that a trader could wind up with less than their original winnings.

MusicEdit

Main - Sheldon Allman & Stan Worth

Prize Cues

"Biyo" by Earth, Wind & Fire
"Pop Trumpets" by Keith Mansfield (KPM Music)
"Sexy" by Mother, Father, Sister, Brother

Episode StatusEdit

This version is intact and has been reran on Global during the 1980s.

LinksEdit

The Official Let's Make A Deal Website
Rules for Let's Make a Deal @ Loogslair.net
Josh Rebich's Let's Make A Deal Rule Sheet
Official Pearson site for Let's Make a Deal (via Internet Archive)

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