A different Monty Hall question.

While my oldest son, Fang, and I were driving home from soccer practice last night, we were talking about math, probability, and The Monty Hall Problem. As I was laying out the scenario and explaining the math behind it, he said he would keep his pick, not because he didn’t believe the math worked out, but because he wanted a goat.

He then asked whether anyone ever got to keep the goat. I had no idea, but I figured one of The Teaming Millions would know.


Did anyone on Let’s Make a Deal ever keep the goat?

From a Monty Hall interview:

So they were entitled to keep the zonk but I can’t find an instance of somebody keeping a goat specifically.

I vaguely remember seeing an article in TV Guide about Let’s Make A Deal. As I remember, the article said that originally, they just assumed no one would want the zonk, but once it was a brick wall, and the contestant insisted that it be erected in his/her backyard. So they changed the rules after that to make it explicit that the contestants didn’t actually win the zonks.

I’m loving watching the reruns of Let’s Make a Deal; it’s on one of those low-rent nostalgia channels, I think it’s Buzzr. The above quote mentioned him getting 50,000 kisses, and he was really happy for and kind to the contestants.

These episodes are from the 1970’s (oh! the prizes! Z-brick and avocado appliances), and I’m impressed how racially mixed the audience and contestants are. The biggest beaming smile that Monty Hall had was for a middle-aged black couple who won a 197? Cadillac El Dorado convertible, a really classy car (and it was worth like $30000 then).

Back to the OP: one of the zonk prizes was a Saint Bernard puppy, cute as hell, but it was meant as a joke. Those things must have been kind of pricey; they even gave the name of the puppy mill firm that provided them. I would have taken that as a zonk!

I saw some older episodes a few months ago. One interesting thing I remember seeing; the cash that Monty Hall was handing out included $500 and $1000 bills.

If you watch the reruns, you may notice that you never see the situation described in the original problem where he shows 3 doors, you pick one, and he opens the other one. Did that ever really happen? I watched the reruns for a while and never saw it.

You mean, 5 or 10 $100 bills? Or did he really get hold of old $500 and $1000 bills? If so, I wonder if after the show, people who won them needed some kind of verification letter to take them to the bank. There were so rarely used, banks would be automatically suspicious.

ETA: Duh. People probably swapped them for smaller bills after the show, and then Hall had the bills to use again the next day.

“Where’s my elephant?!”

Actual $500 and $1000 bills. Remember, this was the early 1970s; they hadn’t started taking them out of circulation until 1969, IIRC. (This does not include the season filmed in Canada where they used fake money; Hall said on one episode that the contestants could choose US or Canadian dollars.)

I never have, either, although every time I say that, someone else responds with a claim that “obviously you have never watched the show.”

I think the brick wall reference was from Concentration, which also had gag prizes in its '50s/60s/70s NBC days. I do remember that article, however, and I think the zonk that was mentioned as being kept was a cow. There was also a mention of an oil derrick (the kind that bob up and down) being offered as a zonk.

I also remember that at least two contestants who won zonks (one of which was a “bicycle built for five”) ended up winning the Big Deal of the Day.

In the current version, they put a big “ZONK” label (and play the same Zonk Music) on every zonk; my guess is, it’s to indicate that the contestant didn’t actually win that prize.