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“Hello, I’m Chuck Barris. Welcome to the new and exciting Treasure Hunt, a demonstration show of a program that’s bound to stir up a lot of conversation. Why? Because it’s the return of the big money game show, only our program is fool-proof. Nobody can tamper with the results. And since nobody can tamper with the show, it becomes more exciting than ever. And that’s because $25,000 is sitting onstage in a box. And there’s a good chance that a contestant will put his or her greedy little hands on that box, not once, but twice in that half hour. And if you don’t think that’s exciting, then that’s because it’s not your cash. Since it’s my cash, I find this program concept quite taut. There is also various not-to-be believed prizes: a mobile home, a boat, and a salami that can be won. With my luck, the contestant will win the mobile home and the boat, and I’ll end up with the salami, which isn’t bad if the rye bread is fresh. And now, here’s the wildest and woolliest game show to come your way in years. The contestants will win what they get or lose what they get. Everything is happening as it’s happening. Ladies and gentlemen, the new and exciting…Treasure Hunt.”

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And following that pitch, we’re treated to the not-for-air pilot of “Treasure Hunt,” taped in 1972.

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“Ladies and gentlemen…this mystery celebrity…witnessed by this Lloyd’s of London bonded agent, has just placed a $25,000 check in one of these surprise packages. Tonight, six contestants will compete for thousands of dollars in prizes, and the chance of winning that $25,000 grand prize, on…Treasure Hunt.”

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The opening theme music is a different piece of music, a grandiose orchestral arrangement, with Geoff being greeted by a group of cheerleaders (including Jane Nelson, who stayed around for the series).

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Geoff welcomes us to “the show where anything can happen and it always does.” He shows us a facsimile of the check that was hidden by the mystery celebrity before the show started.

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Two games are played during the evening. To start, three contestants (including men!) competed against each other. Geoff reads trivia questions for one minute and the contestants ring in to answer. The most correct answers at the end of the minute goes on a treasure hunt.

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But first, we pause for a commercial, each commercial is preceded by a way-too-long montage of models eagerly shaking the boxes and wondering which one has the money.

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The contestant is given exactly 30 seconds to decide which box she wants (by pointing to it, they aren’t numbered in the pilot). Geoff offers the cash in the cash award envelope, but before the contestant decides whether to pick the money or the box, that’s the moment when Geoff takes the time to show the contestant some of the prizes that MIGHT be in the box. Our first hunter keeps $400 and winds up missing out on an 8-track tape…and a stereo system…and a car. The second contestant gives up $750 and leaves with TWENTY-FIVE THOUSAND…lira.

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At the end of the show, Geoff reveals the true identity of tonight’s mystery celebrity…James Brolin. Brolin reveals which box he hid the check in, and together, he and Geoff watch a clip of “a previous episode” with a $25,000 win.

Adam's thoughts: The basic elements are there, the atmosphere is the same, and yet, this pilot manages to be very, very different from the product that was unleashed on the public the following autumn.
One of the noticeable changed elements of the pilot is the music, none of which was composed for the pilot. It’s an eclectic mix of pop music and instrumental standards. Here are the pieces we were able to identify.

– Jacques Brel (an English language version by Gay Mitchell)
Popcorn – Gershon Kingsley
The Savers – Perry and KingsleyI
Know – Fats Domino
Stars and Stripes Forever

The spark that makes Treasure Hunt such an enjoyable show is present almost from the word Go - and the changes made between the pilot and series run strengthened the show in pretty much every way. The added celebrity likely would have worn thin fast - plus we would have missed out on one of the greatest comedy duos of the 70s, the legendary team of Edwards and Autori.



Up three levels to GEOFF EDWARDS' WORLD

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