Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Treasure Hunt: The Prelude To Deal Or No Deal

After finally getting around to watching some episodes of Deal Or No Deal recently, I think I know, at least part of the reason, why I've enjoyed the show: it takes me back to another similar game show from my childhood, Treasure Hunt.

My guess is, there's a whole generation of people out there that have no idea about this show, which was hosted by Geoff Edwards -- who hosted another underrated game show that I loved in the early 80's, but more on that later.

First, random thought on Deal Or No Deal: There comes a point in each game where my emotions go from rooting for the contestant to win big, to, in the blink of an eye -- usually when they pass up a really good offer -- hoping they crash and burn and win $.01.

Especially during this recent stretch of shows where the number of million dollar cases has stretched into the double digits, and the deal offers hit six digits. These contestants get too greedy, classic mistake, and pass up on life-changing amounts of money, foolishly going for the million dollars. Always fun to see them blow loads of money, and walking off stage with their tail between their legs.

Anyway, back to Treasure Hunt. Click here to find out much more about the show, but the basic premise was simple. The set featured an amount of gift boxes (usually 30, more in later years) that were positioned in the background, each had a number on it, and each had a gift inside.

The contestant would select one box, which was brought down to a small table where Edwards and the contestant were standing. Edwards would then offer the contestant a dollar amount -- somewhere between $500 and $2000 -- that they could take instead of whatever was in the box. Usually, the contestant wanted what was in the box instead.

The next few minutes consisted of Edwards peeking in the box to see what the prize was, and then, after plenty of amped up drama, revealing what was inside the box.

There was one box with a grand prize check, usually $25,000, although that number varied over the years. There were other smaller prizes as well in other boxes, and also "klunk" prizes, which were basically worthless.

Another treat was the stone-faced Emile Autouri, the show's security guard who was in charge of placing the grand prize check in one of the boxes before the show. During episodes when there wasn't a grand prize winner, Edwards, at the end of the show, would ask Autouri if he indeed put the check in one of the boxes, and Autouri's answer was always a deadpan, "Yes, I did (Geoff)."

Corny. Cheesy. Classic.

Another show from around that time that was a fave of mine was Starcade, also hosted by Edwards. This show ran in the early 80's on TBS, and it was a show built around watching kids compete against each other by playing arcade games.

Remember, back then, video games were just starting to become huge, and arcade games were still a big deal.

Occasionally the show would feature the arcade game Dragon's Lair, which was the arguably the most sophisticated video game of its time.

Thanks to the brilliance of the internet, you can enjoy some videos of these shows below, and you can click here for Starcade episodes of the past.

Treasure Hunt after the contestants have picked their box

More winners from Treasure Hunt

Treasure Hunt's Emile Autouri

Starcade featuring Pac Man

Dragon Lair episode part 1

Dragon Lair episode part 2

Dragon Lair episode part 3

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