Thursday, January 2, 2014
Game Show Host Geoff Edwards Has Died
Sad news that one of television's greatest daytime stars passed away on Wednesday, March 5 2014 - Geoff Ewards was 83.
One of my guilty pleasures from years past was The New Treasure Hunt from the mid-1970s starring Geoff Edwards, a master at wringing comical moments and over-the-top reactions out of the contestants.
The premise could not have been simpler or more random - each audience member opened a package to determine which one of them will be invited on to the stage for a chance to win cars, boats or even $25,000. That was huge money for a game show in the 1970s.
Based on a game show from the fifties (Treasure Hunt), this Chuck Barris production is my favorite game show of all time. This was Geoff Edwards' shining moment - emotionally torturing his overly-excited contestants for laughs.
No skill or knowledge was needed on The New Treasure Hunt, it was a lot like Deal or No Deal - two contestants on each episode got to choose from thirty wrapped packages displayed center stage.
They had a shot at the usual game show prizes (washer-dryers and Turtle Wax) or a chance at the grand prize - a check for $25,000 (that's about $125,000 in today's dough). It later increased to $50,000. Quite a few people found the check which heightened the excitement. There were also booby prizes called "clunks" interspersed with the prizes. The way Edwards would tease the contestants mercilessly before delivering the verdict was nothing short of brilliant. And the silly skits somehow worked when Geoff Edwards performed them.
To prolong the suspense, the host would peek into the boxes before the contestant got a look and go through a number of fake-outs before he sprung the actual prize on them. In so many cases, the contestant would be a large black woman who went absolutely berserk at the prospect of winning a big prize, jumping up and down, screaming at the top of her lungs and pummeling the poor host.
Part game show, part wrestling match - Geoff Edwards often ended the show on the floor or off to the side of the stage. This led to some degree of criticism that the show was overly exploitive.
The announcer on The New Treasure Hunt was Johnny Jacobs. Game show producer / host Chuck Barris wrote the show's lovely, melodic end theme.