Andrei Freeman (lordandrei) wrote,
Andrei Freeman

When I say, "Obscure" I MEAN Obscure

Last evening I was YouTube surfing. I came across some old 70's game shows. I was a VORACIOUS game show fan in the 70's.

"Match Game", "Gambit", "High Rollers", "Now You See It", "Jackpot", "Password", "$foo Pyramid", "Gong Show", "Joker's Wild"... And the real "Wheel of Fortune" with Chuck Woolery, Susan Stafford, and buying ceramic dalmatians and putting the rest on a Gift Certificate.

I ate this stuff up.

One in particular was "Treasure Hunt." A really trashy show from the mind of Chuck Barris. (Which should make that statement redundant).

Here's the quick summary from wikipedia
The New Treasure Hunt involved women (the producers did not allow male contestants) competing to select one of 30 boxes (also known as "Surprise Packages"), with a top prize of $25,000 hidden in one of them.

Geoff Edwards hosted the 1970s and 1980s versions. Johnny Jacobs was the announcer for most of the 1970s and 1980s versions until his death in 1982; Tony McClay, who had also worked on the 1970s run, replaced him for the remainder of the final season. For a number of reasons, the studio maintained extremely tight security, and thus did not allow cue cards for host Edwards to use. In addition, Edwards, who had prior acting experience, had to memorize every skit due to the lack of cue cards.

After being shown two or three of some of the prizes hidden among the 30 packages, the contestant was asked to select one of the boxes, which one of the models would then bring down to the table. Once the box was chosen, and after a commercial break, the contestant had the option of taking a cash payoff (ranging from $500 to $2,000 originally; later in the run, up to $2500), or keeping the box instead and winning whatever was inside. Possible prizes included a package of several items, vacations, automobiles, checks for anywhere between $5,000 and $14,000, or worthless booby prizes called "klunks" (a word coined by Geoff Edwards himself, similar in meaning to that of "zonks" on Let's Make a Deal). One box contained a check for the grand prize of $25,000.

Upon making her selection, the contestant was not shown what she had won immediately; like most of the other Barris-packaged shows, the entire premise of this show was to display (and exploit) the female contestants' emotions. Host Edwards would engage the contestant in a comedic skit, usually using props, to intentionally mislead the contestant as to what she had finally won. Very often, a contestant would be shown a "klunk", only to have this lead to the actual prize, which could be just another "klunk", but was often much bigger.

The show was undeniably exploitation for entertainment purposes.

Due to the security around giving away so much money, every episode concluded with "Real-life, bonded, security agent" Emile Autouri verifying that he hid the check and kept secure record of it. Emile would appear at the end of the episode in a very stately pose. Proper suit, bowler, handlebar-white mustache. He would stand like a guard at Buckingham palace. He was unemotional, silent, and unmoving. The host would ask if Emile hid the check and Emile would lean in slightly to the microphone and say, "Yes I did." And that's all he did... for FOUR years. Over time this became something that they had to play with. A fan club was established. Host Edwards would try to get Emile to speak. It never worked.

And of course because I LOVE the obscure... I've faithfuly recreated a fan page for Mr. Autouri on Facebook.

Below is a YouTube exploration in abject stoicism. Back when Game Shows did fun things.

Tags: autouri, game shows, stoicism, youtube

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