Benjamin Beckman had a tough choice. Accept $800 or go for a potential bigger prize in the mystery box.
“$800 seems like a lot to most people, but I wanted to come out with a car or a trip,” he said.
Unfortunately for Beckman, the gamble did not pay off, but he still walked away from his appearance on CBS’ game show “Let’s Make a Deal” with $100 just for making an appearance and a lot of great memories.
Beckman, 30, can finally share his full story with his Blaine neighbors and students and co-workers at Crossroads Alternative High School in Coon Rapids where he teaches physical education and health. He also coaches gymnastics and track in District 11.
Rule number one for any game show is the contestants cannot talk about how they did until the show aired. The Nov. 26 show was taped in August so he had to keep his lips sealed for a long time.
“For me it was just fun to be with family members and get close to winning a big prize and see how the production happens behind the scenes, to meet other people just as excited as you to be on the show, and being on national TV for my five minutes of fame,” Beckman said.
Beckman and his wife Valene, a Spanish teacher at Southwest Junior High School in Forest Lake, were out in California visiting his brother Andrew, who works at the Vandenberg Air Force Base. Benjamin has been a fan of “Let’s Make a Deal” for a couple of years and had never been on a game show so they all thought it would be interesting to try to get on the show.
Nobody is guaranteed to step on the stage. Like “The Price is Right,” names are called throughout the show, but Beckman said the show’s producers interview prospective contestants beforehand to find the most entertaining and articulate people.
“They give you 35 to 40 seconds to sell yourself,” Beckman said.
In true Minnesota fashion, Beckman dressed up as a mounted deer on the wall and his wife and brother wore blaze orange hunter’s outfits. They arrived a couple of hours early to show the producers they were anxious for the opportunity to be on the show.
Because the show is not live, the producers can choose to do re-takes. One contestant did not get too excited when his name was called so they did a re-take and instructed him to be more enthusiastic.
Beckman did not need a second take after his name was called.
“My favorite part of the show was the anticipation, waiting to see if they were going to pick you,” he said.
Beckman was one of three contestants on the stage during the second segment of the show and each were handed $800.
Beckman asked the audience for feedback and decided to take a chance on what was inside the “big box.” There was no good deal to be found in the box, however. It was a “zonk,” which is a silly gift without a practical use. Inside the box was a contraption dubbed the motorcycle vacuum.
Beckman has to wait three years before he can re-appear on “Let’s Make a Deal” and one year if he wants to go on CBS’ other hit show “The Price is Right.” He can hardly wait for a second chance.
“In three years, I’ll be back again,” he said.
Eric Hagen is at [email protected]