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Encyclopedia > Let's Make a Deal
Let's Make a Deal

Let's Make a Deal title card, as seen on all the TVs given away
Genre Game show
Presented by Monty Hall
Narrated by Wendell Niles
Jay Stewart
Brian Cummings
Dean Goss
Country of origin Flag of United States United States
Producer(s) Stefan Hatos
Running time 25-30 min.
Original channel NBC, ABC
Original run December 30, 19631991
External links
IMDb profile

Let's Make a Deal is a television game show which aired in various encarnations in the United States. The show was based around deals offered to members of the audience members by the host. The contestants usually had to weigh the possibility of an offer being for a valuable prize, or an undesirable item, referred to as a "zonk". Image File history File links Let's_Make_A_Deal. ... “Quiz show” redirects here. ... Monty Hall, born August 25, 1921 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, as Maurice Halprin, is a Canadian-born actor, singer and sportscaster, but is best known for being the MC of popular American television game shows. ... Wendell Niles (born in 1905, died in March, 1994) was one of the great announcers of the golden age of radio. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... NBC (a former acronym for National Broadcasting Company) is an American television network headquartered in the GE Building in New York Citys Rockefeller Center. ... The American Broadcasting Company ( oftenly known as ABC) operates television and radio networks in the United States and is also shown on basic cable in Canada. ... December 30 is the 364th day of the year (365th in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar, with 1 day remaining. ... Year 1963 (MCMLXIII) was a common year starting on Tuesday (link will display full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1991 (MCMXCI) was a common year starting on Tuesday (link will display the 1991 Gregorian calendar). ... “Quiz show” redirects here. ...

The ABC version was an ABC Films production, and later was produced by Worldvision Enterprises (via CBS Paramount Television). The 1984 syndicated version was produced by Telepictures. Worldvision Enterprises, Inc. ... WorldVision Enterprises, Inc. ... CBS Paramount Television (formerly Desilu Productions, Paramount Television, among other companies) is an American television production/distribution company. ... In the entertainment and news industries, syndication is a method of making content available to a range of outlets simultaneously. ... Telepictures was an American television syndication firm established in 1978 by Michael Garin. ...

The original and most widely-known version aired from 1963 to 1976. Other short-lived versions aired in 1980, 1984, 1990 and 2003. Longtime host Monty Hall also co-produced the show from the 1960s through the 1980s with Stefan Hatos. See also: 1962 in television, other events of 1963, 1964 in television and the list of years in television. For the American network television schedule, please see 1963-64 American network television schedule. ... This is a list of television-related events in 1976. ... This is a list of television-related events in 1980. ... This is a list of television-related events in 1984. ... The year 1990 in television involved some significant events. ... This is a list of television-related events in 2003. ... Monty Hall, born August 25, 1921 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, as Maurice Halprin, is a Canadian-born actor, singer and sportscaster, but is best known for being the MC of popular American television game shows. ...



Each episode of Let's Make a Deal consisted of several "deals" between the host and a member or members of the audience as contestants. Audience members were picked at the hosts whim as the show went along, and couples were often selected to play as "one" contestant. The "deals" were mini-games within the show that took several formats.

In the simplest format, a contestant was given a prize, and the host offered them the opportunity to trade for another prize; however, the offered prize was concealed. 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 contestant might also be concealed, such as in a box, wallet or purse; or they might be initially given a box or curtain. The format varied widely. Technically, contestants were supposed to bring something to trade in, but this rule was seldom, if ever, enforced. This does not cite its references or sources. ...

Prizes generally were either a legitimate prize, cash, or a "zonk". Legitimate prizes often included furniture and appliances, or vehicles. Zonks were unwanted prizes which could be anything from animals to food or something outlandish like a giant article of clothing or furniture. On the original series, zonks were often demonstrated by the show's announcer, Jay Stewart, and legitimate prizes were modeled by Carol Merrill (although Merrill, too, helped model the zonks). This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ...

Contestants legally won the zonks[citation needed]; however, after the taping of the show, any trader who had been zonked would be offered a consolation prize instead of having to take home the actual zonk. In fact, a disclaimer at the end of the credits of later 1970s episodes read "Some traders accept reasonable duplicates of zonk prizes." This article is in need of attention from an expert on the subject. ...

In addition, as the end credits of the show rolled, it was typical for Monty Hall to ask random members of the studio audience to participate in quick deals. The deals were often in the form of offering cash to one person (or the first person in the audience) who had a certain item on them, or else offering cash for each of a specific item (such as pennies) the person had. The deals usually had a low value ($50-100), but provided filler until the end of the show. Perhaps the best known fast deal was Hall's, "I'll give you $300 for a hard-boiled egg."

Other deal formats

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, similar to those used on The Price is Right: The Price Is Rights US 35th season logo. ...

Trading deals

  • Choosing an envelope, purse, wallet, etc., which concealed dollar bills. One of them concealed a pre-announced dollar bill (usually $1 or $5), which awarded a car or trip. The other envelopes contained a consolation gift of $500, $1000 and $1500. The player had to decide whether to keep his/her choice or trade.
  • Three unrelated traders act as a team on deals. Sometimes, only one was allowed to speak for the team without consultation of the others; other times, a "majority rules" format was used. Usually after a series of deals, Hall broke up the team and could individually decide on one or more options on a final deal.
  • At the start of the show, a contestant would be given a large grocery item (e.g., a box of candy bars), always containing a cash amount. Throughout the show, he/she was given several chances to trade the box and/or give it to another trader, in exchange for the box or curtain. Only after the Big Deal of the Day was awarded (or if the last trader with said item elects to go for the Big Deal) was the cash amount or prize given. Variant: A "claim check" given to a trader at the start of the show for any prize shown during the regular deals and chances to trade throughout the episode. The prize ranged from cash and cars to zonks. The "claim check" was sometimes played as the very last regular deal, however, with one sure deal offered in lieu of its contents.
  • Keys which unlocked anything from boxes (containing money, trip tickets, etc.) to cars, usually from a choice of three. Hall always offered cash or a curtain/box as options. Variant: A couple chooses one key from a choice of three, with a car offered as the grand prize (and a sure-thing buyout offered once Monty demonstrated one of the "dud" keys).
  • Deciding whether an announced prize was real or imitation, and choosing a cash amount or the box/curtain as a substitute.

A wide range of candies on display on a market in Barcelona, Spain. ... Look up key in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Karl Benzs Velo (vélo means bicycle in French) model (1894) - entered into the first automobile race 2005 MINI Cooper S. An automobile (also motor car or simply car) is a wheeled passenger vehicle that carries its own motor. ...

Games of chance

  • Two traders competed against each other to price a series of four grocery items or small prizes. The first contestant gave a price, and the opponent gave one; the one who was closer got a cash prize (e.g., $100). Each succeeding item is worth more (e.g., $200, $300 and $400), with the players alternating turns going first. The first trader (or team) to collect a pre-set amount (usually $700) won a grand prize, such as a car or a trip (and got to keep any leftover money). The losing contestant was offered a regular take-it-or-leave-it deal in exchange for any cash accumulated; the consolation deal was also played for both teams if both obtained less than the required amount.
  • Choosing four of seven envelopes, each containing $1 and $2 bills, whose contents they hoped added up to at least $7 for a grand prize.
  • Monty's Cash Register, wherein a couple had to punch keys on a 15-key register. Exactly 13 of the buttons hid amounts of either $50 or $100, and getting to a stated amount (usually $500-$1000) won a grand prize. The couple could stop at any time and keep what they have (always then being tempted with a follow-up keep-or-trade deal) but hitting "no sale" at any time ended the game. One twist involved the two "no sale" buttons; if an unlucky button were struck on the first try, hitting the second "no sale" button the very next time also won the grand prize. Otherwise, Monty allowed the couple to take home whatever dollar amount they hit with the next key punch.
  • Beat the Dealer: three contestants would choose envelopes to start the game; two of them contained $500 cash, the other $50. The two dealers who chose the $500 continued on to try to win a middling prize by picking the higher-suited card out of nine off a game board. The one who won could then risk the prize and the cash by picking two more cards - one for themself and one for Monty. If the player picked the higher card for themself, they added a new car (or another big prize); otherwise, they lost everything.

Skill-based games

These games were played for a grand prize, such as a car or trip. At certain stages of these games, the host often offered a deal (a box/curtain/etc. or cash amount) to quit before the answer was revealed. If all of Hall's offers were turned down and the grand prize lost, Hall would usually give the priced items to the contestant as a consolation prize along with $50 or $100 in cash:

  • Arranging small prizes (usually $5-50) in order of dollar value.
  • Determining which item out of several was appearing on the show for the first time.
  • Choosing which item was a pre-announced price, or added up to a certain amount
  • Recalling which grocery items were concealed beneath the letters in the name of a car model or trip destination.
  • Pricing successive items within a predetermined amount from the suggested retail prices (SRP) (on the West coast).
  • Pricing items with the total of all guesses within a predetermined amount from the total of the SRPs.
  • The contestant is given a dollar amount (often $5), and is asked to price several items. The difference between the contestant's guess and the actual SRP of the item was deducted from the contestant's money. If the contestant had even a penny left, they won the grand prize.

The (manufacturers) suggested retail price (MSRP or SRP), list price or recommended retail price (RRP) (originally, Monroney suggested retail price) of a product is the price the manufacturer recommends that the retailer sell it for. ...

Big Deal of the Day

Each show ended with the Big Deal of the Day. Beginning with the day's biggest winner, and moving in order to the winner of the lowest prize value, the host would ask each contestant if they wanted to trade their winnings for a spot in the Big Deal (whose value was usually revealed at that point). He would continue asking until two contestants agreed to participate.

The big deal involved three doors, famously known as "Door number 1", "Door number 2" and "Door number 3", each of which contained a prize or prize package. One door hid the day's Big Deal, which was usually more than the top prize offered to that point. It often included the day's most expensive prize (a luxury or sports car, a trip, furniture/appliances, a fur, cash, or a combination of two or more of said items). The other two doors concealed prizes or prize packages of lesser value. Zonks were never included in the Big Deal, although the contestant sometimes risked winding up with less than their original winnings.

The top winner of the two was offered the first choice of a door, and the second contestant was then offered a choice of the two remaining doors.

Value in different incarnations

During the classic era (1963-1977), the daytime Big Deal of the Day was typically worth $1,500-$5,000; the nighttime and syndicated show's Big Deals were worth $7,000 to $15,000 or more, with cars often being part of the runner-up door. In the television industry (as in radio), syndication is the sale of the right to broadcast programs to multiple stations, without going through a broadcast network. ...

During the 1975-1976 syndicated season, a new "Super Deal" was offered for Big Deal winners. At this point, Big Deals were limited to a range of $8,000 to $10,000. The contestant could risk his Big Deal winnings on a 1-in-3 shot at adding a $20,000 cash prize. The other two doors caused the player to lose the "Big Deal," but he/she took home a $1,000 or $2,000 consolation prize. A Super Deal winner could win as much as $30,000 in cash and prizes. In fact, the first-ever Super Deal won the $30,000 maximum. Later, the consolation prize was changed to $2000 and a mystery amount ($1,000 to $9,000). The Super Deal was discontinued when the show permanently moved to Las Vegas for the final season (1976-1977). By that time, the "Big Deal" ranged from $10,000-15,000.

In the 1980-1981 syndicated series, Big Deals were worth around $5,000 (which meant regular prizes were also cheaper). Also, instead of offering cash in actual currency, cash was given in the form of "Monty Dollars". As explained in the show, this was due to the fact that the show was seen in Canada and the U.S., and contestants could take home money in US or Canadian currency, with a likely preference for the American greenback because of its relative strength. Greenback may refer to: Greenbacks, a colloquial term for the United States dollar, often used when referring to the debate of hard vs. ...

For the 1984-1986 syndicated series, Big Deals ranged from $6,000 to $8,000 in season 1, and from $8,000 to $11,000 in season 2. This version was most famous for a new feature called "Door #4" (in actuality a curtain). Played every few days, and announced with siren and quick-zoom fanfare, a contestant was chosen by a computer at random based on the number on the contestant's tag (1 to 36). This contestant was chosen to play a special deal, which had four incarnations:

  • Version 1 - The contestant was offered a prize in exchange for a mystery cash amount ranging from $1 to $5,000.
  • Version 2 - The contestant spun a 20-space carnival wheel containing cash amounts from $100 to $5000. He/she could keep the amount won or spin again in hopes of winning a higher amount. If a lesser amount was spun, all winnings were lost. One space on the wheel read Double Deal, and if spun on either spin, doubled the winnings, up to a maximum of $10,000. Hitting Double Deal on both spins also earned the top $10,000 prize. Wheel configuration: $5,000, $750, $600, $200, $3,000, $350, $700, $150, $1,000, Double Deal, $500, $2,000, $400, $250, $800, $4,000, $300, $450, $900, $100.
  • Version 3 - The contestant could keep $750 or risk it by spinning the wheel, which now contained spaces that earned $1,500 (by landing on a space marked DOUBLE), $2,250 (landing on TRIPLE), $3,000, a new car ... or win less (anywhere from $100 to $500, or perhaps even a zonk). The zonk was a T-shirt that read "I was ZONKED by Monty Hall". If the contestant kept the money, Monty would let the player spin the wheel just for fun to see what was passed up.
  • Version 4 - Played the same as Version 3, except the contestant was given $1,000 to start. Wheel configuration: Car, $200, $100, Triple, $200, Double, Zonk, $100, Triple, $200, Car, $100, $200, $4,000, $100, Double, Zonk, $200, Triple, $100.

On the 1990-1991 NBC daytime, Big Deals could be worth up to $20,000. On the 2003 NBC primetime revival, the Big Deal on each show added up to over $50,000. On the 2005 Univisión series, Big Deals were worth around $3,000-5,000 on the regular show and around $26,000 during the primetime specials.

The Audience

When the series began, studio audience members wore suits and ties or dresses. Shortly into the show's run, a single audience member came dressed as a chicken to try to get Monty's attention, and he picked her. A few days later, Hall chose someone else who was wearing an outlandish costume. The number of signs, costumes, and hollering quickly increased to the point where everyone in the section from which the host selected contestants wore a costume, as well as many of the remaining audience. The free-for-all with the audience became a hallmark of the show. This article or section does not adequately cite its references or sources. ...

The most frequently asked question was if the show provided the zany costumes for the studio audience. The standard response was that all contestants came "dressed as they are", in the words of Jay Stewart.

Broadcast History

Main article: Let's Make a Deal broadcast history The U.S. television game show Lets Make a Deal, one of the most popular of its genre from the mid-1960s through the late 1970s, proved durable enough to find its way onto the schedules of several networks and syndication well into the mid-2000s. ...

Episode Status

Most of the Let's Make a Deal episodes exist:

  • The NBC daytime version is unknown, though it's very likely that the original tapes were wiped as they were recorded over by NBC with new programming in an era when videotape was an expensive commodity. The 1963 pilot, with Wendell Niles as announcer and contestants in normal attire (typical of its first season), exists, and has aired on GSN.
  • The ABC daytime version is unknown; they may have met the same fate as the NBC episodes.
  • The 1969-1971 ABC prime-time and 1971-1977 syndicated nighttime shows exists almost in its entirety, and has aired on The Family Channel (now ABC Family) from 1993-1996 and on GSN in 2001. Let's Make A Deal began airing on GSN on June 4th, 2007. It currently airs at 10AM Eastern weekdays and at 2AM Eastern Thursday, Friday, and Saturday mornings (technically early Friday, Saturday, and Sunday mornings.). [1]
  • The 1980-1981 Canadian version is unknown.
  • The syndicated 1984-1986 revival exists in its entirety, and has also aired on The Family Channel from 1993-1996 and on GSN.
  • The status on the 1990 NBC revival is unknown, though it is likely that it still exists.
  • The 2003 NBC prime-time series still exists, though there are currently no plans on rerunning that series
  • The 2005 Univision series still exists, and is still seen on that network in reruns.

The examples and perspective in this article or section may not represent a worldwide view. ... ABC Family is an American cable television network currently owned by Disney/ABC. ABC Family offers contemporary and inclusive programming, including series, movies, events, and enhanced ABC encore presentations. ... The Game Show Network (GSN) is an American cable television and direct broadcast satellite channel dedicated to game shows and interactive television games. ... June 4 is the 155th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (156th in leap years), with 210 days remaining. ... Year 2007 (MMVII) is the current year, a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar and the AD/CE era. ...


  • The show is the focus of an The Odd Couple television episode featuring Hall. In it, Oscar (Jack Klugman) and Felix (Tony Randall) team up to come dressed as a horse.
  • A spoof of the show appeared at the beginning of the Flintstones animated film The Flintstones Meet Rockula and Frankenstone (1979), entitled Make a Deal or Don't. The game-show's host was called Monty Marble. The way in which 'Marble' was pronounced gave emphasis to the end of the word, making it sound like 'marb-hall'.
  • Another spoof appeared on the situation comedy Sanford and Son, when Fred Sanford, Grady and Bubba appeared on a show called Wheel and Deal, hosted by Harry Monty (John Barbour).
  • On the cartoon Wacky & Packy, the title characters appear on a parody called Let's Make A Bundle with host Monty Tall.
  • The show was parodied by Cheech and Chong in their Let's Make A Dope Deal comedy routine from their second album Big Bambu. Several years later, they made a sequel from the album of the same name, Let's Make A New Dope Deal.
  • George Carlin discusses the show on his second album FM & AM
  • Door Number 3 a song authored by Jimmy Buffett and Steve Goodman mentions many regulars on the show, and was used in the documentary movie about the show, Deal.
  • In The Simpsons episode "Homer Goes to College," Mr. Burns — playing the role of Monty Hall — attempts to bribe inspectors with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission with a LMaD-style offer in an effort to get them to reconsider sanctions against the plant for critical safety and environmental violations (which had been exposed during a surprise inspection). Waylon Smithers plays the part of Carol Merrill, modeling the prizes Burns had hoped to bestow upon the inspectors.
  • In the 1995 computer game "The 11th Hour: The Sequel to the 7th Guest", the show was parodied in the ending sequence, where choosing a door also chose the game's ending. The name was changed to "Let's Make a Real Deal." The host was "Monty Stauf", mixing the names of the original host and game character.
  • In a Price is Right "showcase" where the theme was the models discussing network TV shows that never made it to air, Dian came up with a show called Let's Make a Meal.

Walter Matthau and Art Carney in the 1965 Broadway production The Odd Couple was a hit 1965 Broadway play by Neil Simon, followed by a successful film and television series, as well as other derivative works and spinoffs, many featuring one or more of the same actors. ... Jack Klugman (born Jacob Joachim Klugman on April 27, 1922 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) is an American television and movie actor. ... Tony Randall (February 26, 1920 – May 17, 2004) was an American comic actor. ... The Flintstones is an American animated television series produced by Hanna-Barbera Productions. ... This Halloween special featured Fred and Barney on a spoof of Lets Make a Deal. ... Also: 1979 by Smashing Pumpkins. ... A situation comedy, usually referred to as a sitcom, is a genre of comedy programs which originated in radio. ... Sanford and Son is an American sitcom that ran on the NBC television network on January 14, 1972 and was broadcast for six seasons until the final original episode aired on September 2, 1977. ... Cheech Marin and Tommy Chong were a comedy duo who found a wide audience in the 1970s and 1980s for their stand-up routines, which were based upon the eras hippie, free love and especially drug culture movements. ... Big Bambu is a comedy album recorded by Cheech and Chong. ... George Dennis Carlin (born May 12, 1937 in New York, New York)[2] is a Grammy-winning American stand-up comedian, actor, and author. ... FM & AM (Eardrum Records, 1972) FM & AM is an album by American comedian George Carlin. ... This article needs additional references or sources for verification. ... Steve Goodman (July 25, 1948 – September 20, 1984) was a Chicago folk music singer and songwriter. ... Simpsons redirects here. ... Homer Goes to College is the third episode of The Simpsons fifth season. ... Charles Montgomery Monty Burns, normally referred to as Mr. ... This diagram demonstrates the defense in depth quality of nuclear power plants. ... Waylon Smithers, Jr. ... The Price is Right is a popular game show based on contestants guessing the retail prices of displayed prizes. ...


  • RTL Group holds international rights to the show, and has licenced the show to 14 countries.
  • The show is scheduled to air on Alpha TV in Greece. 140 60-minute episodes have been ordered.
  • A Spanish-language US version called Trato Hecho aired on Univision in 2005. Guillermo Huesca was the host.
  • Ex-Spice Girl Geri Halliwell was a model on a Turkish version of the show.
  • An Indonesian Version of Let's Make a Deal debuted on the Antv network April 2006, as Superdeal 2 Milyar (The 2 Billion Rupiah Superdeal).

RTL Group is Europes largest TV, radio and production company, and is majority-owned by German media conglomerate Bertelsmann. ... Alpha TV is a Greek terrestrial channel (prior to 2000: Skaï, the Greek spelling of Sky). ... Trato hecho is the Spanish-language version of the Hatos-Hall game show, Lets Make a Deal. ... Univision is a Spanish-language television network in the United States. ... The Spice Girls are a BRIT Award-winning English all-female pop group, which formed in London in 1994. ... Geraldine Estelle Geri Halliwell (born 6th August, 1972) is an English pop singer and songwriter, television personality, writer and actress, and became famous (under the nickname of Ginger Spice) in the late 1990s as a member of the girl group the Spice Girls. ... Antv (Andalas Televisi) is an Indonesian television network. ... The 1998-2001 series of rupiah banknotes Rupiah (Rp) is the monetary unit of Indonesia (currency code IDR). ...

DVD Releases

In the late summer of 2006, a new DVD Let's Make a Deal game which along with a playable game features classic clips from the Monty Hall years of the show, was released. [2]

See also

Monty Hall, born August 25, 1921 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, as Maurice Halprin, is a Canadian-born actor, singer and sportscaster, but is best known for being the MC of popular American television game shows. ... The Monty Hall problem is a puzzle involving probability, loosely based on the American game show Lets Make a Deal. ... Treasure Hunt (or The New Treasure Hunt) was a United States television game show that ran in the 1950s, 1970s and 1980s. ... Linda de Mol host of Miljoenenjacht (and the sister of Endemols founder), enters the game shows set. ...

External links

Preceded by
People Will Talk
2:00 p.m. EST, NBC
12/30/63 – 6/26/64
Succeeded by
The Loretta Young Theatre
Preceded by
Make Room for Daddy
1:30 p.m. EST, NBC
6/29/64 – 12/27/68
Succeeded by
Hidden Faces
Preceded by
Funny You Should Ask
1:30 p.m. EST, ABC
12/30/68 – 12/26/75
Succeeded by
Rhyme and Reason
Preceded by
12:00 p.m. EST, ABC
12/29/75 – 7/9/76
Succeeded by
Hot Seat
Preceded by
10:00 a.m. EST, NBC
7/9/90 – 1/11/91
Succeeded by
Wheel Of Fortune

  Results from FactBites:
Definition of Let's Make a Deal (803 words)
Let's Make a Deal is a television game show aired in the United States.
Now the contestant is forced to make a difficult choice: keep the egg he's been given in the hope that a thousand dollars is contained within, or pick the box and its contents instead.
On January 10, 2005, a Spanish version of Let's Make A Deal, titled Trato Hecho, which when translated means "Treatment Done", premiered on Univision, a Spanish television network in the United States.
  More results at FactBites »



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