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Decisions, Decisions, Decisions!

Do you want what’s in the Box or what’s behind the Curtain?

One of the most popular television game shows of the 1960’s and 70’s, Let's Make A Deal is the show where contestants buy, sell, or trade anything and everything from Aardvarks to Zithers.  Lawyers, doctors, plumbers, and even Beverly Hills housewives dressed as kumquats and turnips hoping to trade a hard boiled egg for a Cadillac.  What would be behind the Curtain?… A Car or a Zonk (a worthless, ridiculous prize)?

Just before taping, thirty-five or so contestants were selected for each show from the studio audience to become the day’s possible Traders.  Of those people seated on the Trading Floor, about eight people were chosen by Monty Hall to participate in three or four deals plus the Big Deal which involved major cash and/or merchandise. 

To start the dealing, would-be Traders brought unusual odds and ends from home which they may have retrieved from their attic or garage or even made themselves.  Wearing costumes was the audience’s idea.  To attract Monty’s attention, the contestants got creative to out-do each other.  Someone brought a sign, someone wore a crazy hat, then one day someone dressed as the Jolly Green Giant and the show was never the same again.

Sometimes when a Trader had decided to “take the Curtain,” Monty offered to buy it back again… $1,000… $2,000… $3,000 not to take the Curtain!  Traders never knew how high he would go.  Prizes were disguised so that Traders were never sure whether a garbage can, for instance, contained a mink coat or just garbage, or which of three envelopes contained $1,000.  The decision-making was exciting and suspenseful.  Would it be a Car or a Camel?  A First-Class Trip to Hawaii or a Live Cow dressed in sunglasses and feather boa?  Would Carol Merrill point out the features of a new Refrigerator or would Jay Stewart be dressed as an old granny in a Giant Rocking Chair?

Part of the time, contestants played various games relating to the price of small items, pricing items of greater and greater value or matching the prices to the items,  for example.  Contestants began playing those games on Let's Make A Deal in the 1960’s.

Near the end of the show, Monty asked those who had already played if they wanted to keep what they had, or trade it for a chance at the Big Deal of the Day.  The first two Traders who decided to risk their cash and/or merchandise for a chance at a grand prize got to choose between Door #1, Door #2, or Door #3.  There were no Zonks in the Big Deal, but it was possible to trade down.

After the Big Deal until time ran out, Monty continued to make Quick Deals.  One of the most famous... “I’ll give you $50 for a Hard Boiled Egg.” 

Whether their dreams came true or they got Zonked, the Traders had a good time… And so did the viewers.  


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