After reading today's XKCD, I've actually become curious. Is there any record of a contestant actually wanting to go home with the goat (or other Zonk!) on Let's Make a Deal?

  • I've never seen the show, but I'd guess the goat is not actually a prize, simply representative of 'losing'. – DisgruntledGoat Oct 26 '13 at 20:31
  • @DisgruntledGoat, they were considered an "undesirable prize". As such, contestants would have had legal claim to the animals, but most contestants would choose the cash equivalent. – RLH Oct 27 '13 at 0:38
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    Are game shows even on topic here? – Flimzy Oct 27 '13 at 1:54
  • @Flimzy Hard to say, but it seems so. Might even deserve a meta discussion? – Napoleon Wilson Nov 6 '13 at 15:58
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    @RLH: News and current events shows are not on-topic, and they are a huge part of television. And game shows seem more closely related to talk shows than to scripted shows. But then reality TV I suppose is on-topic... so... shrug – Flimzy Nov 6 '13 at 16:37

From the Wikipedia Page for Let's Make a Deal:

Prizes generally are either a legitimate prize, cash, or a "Zonk". Legitimate prizes run the gamut of what is typically given away on game shows, including trips, electronics, furniture, appliances, and cars. Zonks are unwanted booby prizes (e.g., live animals, large amounts of food, fake money, fake trips or something outlandish such as a giant article of clothing, a room full of junked furniture, etc.). Sometimes Zonks are legitimate prizes but of a low value (e.g., Matchbox cars, wheelbarrows, T-shirts, grocery prizes, etc.). On rare occasions, a trader appears to get Zonked, but the Zonk is a cover-up for a legitimate prize.

Though usually considered joke prizes, traders legally win the Zonks. However, after the taping of the show, any trader who had been Zonked is offered a consolation prize (currently $100) instead of having to take home the actual Zonk. This is partly because some of the Zonks are intrinsically or physically impossible to receive or deliver to the traders (such as live animals or the guy in an animal costume), or the props/employees are owned by the studio. A disclaimer at the end of the credits of later 1970s episodes read "Some traders accept reasonable duplicates of Zonk prizes."

To back this up, this is from an interview with Monty Hall, one of the first presenters:

Interviewer: People who got stuck with the "zonks," the joke prizes, were they good-natured about losing out?

Monty Hall: In 4,700 shows, I got kissed 50,000 times. Even when they lost, they were very nice about it. But you know the law in game shows - if you go on a show and you win a donkey, that's your prize. You're entitled to it. So if a person won one of our zonks, they could take it home. But in 99 percent of the cases, we would offer them something after the show - a washer and dryer or a color TV or something, instead of that very valuable zonk, and they would take it. In 1 percent of the cases, they didn't.

There was a time when a farmer won five calves and he wanted the calves. That cost me a fortune because when you rent them from the animal place, they're expensive. And there were other cases like that. Like people won dogs; they would keep dogs. They wouldn't keep cats. They would keep dogs. It was a very genial atmosphere, over 27 years.

So despite the "zonks" being joke prizes, people did indeed take them home on rare occasions. I'm sorry to say I haven't found an example of a goat being taken home, but I'm hoping a calf will do!

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    Wow! I'm not sure how I missed the notification that you had answered my question. This is what I had hoped to find. Thank you! – RLH Jul 16 '14 at 20:39

Once I saw a Zonk on the old "Let's Make a Deal" it was some kind of Animal (maybe a baby elephant or something) and I guess it was actually worth so much money Monty Hall let her trade it for a chance at the Big Deal at the end of the show, I only saw this happen one time on all the old "Let's Make a Deal" reruns I've seen, so it's obviously very rare that a Zonk was worth a lot of money like that.

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    Hello and Welcome to Movies & TV Stack Exchange! While your answer appears to be helpful, it would benefit from having a reliable source, otherwise it comes off more of comment. Eventually you will have enough reputation to leave an actual comment in the comment section. – Darth Locke Nov 30 '19 at 23:48

Zonks are not actually prizes. You get $100 (or was it $200) in lieu of the Zonk. I know because I have been in the back room during prize paperwork time. :)

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    Monty Hall begs to differ. – JohnP Sep 10 '14 at 18:23
  • This isn't an unreasonable response, however, you may need to provide a bit of clarification. Why were you backstage? Was this for the original show, or the newer one? Did you (or do you) work for the television station that produces LMAD? I'd be interested in finding out more, but for this to be an acceptable answer, you need to give a better, more objective response. – RLH Sep 10 '14 at 18:51

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