Monty Hall; Goodbye at 96
The audience dressed in zany costumes to catch his attention, he gave us Jay and The Lovely Janet, and a choice of Door Number One, Two or Three OR what's in the Box Jay was bringing down the aisle. Sometimes you got a last-second choice to skip the doors and the box, and take what was in the envelope he had suddenly pulled from his jacket pocket.
Monty Hall, the happy-go-lucky host and co-creator of one of television's most fun shows, has passed away from heart failure at age 96 at his Beverly Hills home, according to his daughter, Joanna Gleason.
Let's Make a Deal premiered on daytime television in 1963, and featured the glib showman tempting thousands of people over the years to keep what they had, or trade it away and sometimes getting 'zonked' in the process. Getting 'zonked' meant that, when the door was opened, it revealed a crummy prize, perhaps a live zebra or even Jay dressed as an old man on a park bench, or maybe the envelope simply had a piece of paper in it with the word 'Zonk' on it.
Whatever the prize, it was always fun to watch Monty, his announcer/foil Jay, and the Lovely Janet try to get people to trade away a bird in hand for whatever was in the box.
Hall also got the non-players in the studio audience involved periodically by offering a $100 bill to anyone who could produce an odd item from their purse or pocket on the spot. He was a brilliant ad-libber, and kept the show moving at a quick pace. Even though some contestants couldn't make up their minds, Monty kept them jumping.
Hall earned a bachelors degree in Chemistry and Zoology from the University of Manitoba, but was bitten by the show biz bug and the sound of the audience applause while appearing on stage in his college days. He moved to New York City in 1955, and landed a job at NBC Radio. The rest, as they say, is history.
Monty Hall is survived by his wife of some seventy years, Marilyn, two daughters and a son, all of whom followed their dad into some aspect of show business.
Thanks for the memories, and rest in peace, Monty Hall.