The Monty Hall problem is a classic probability riddle and I will be gleefully explaining it to my class of discrete math students.

It is apparently based on his classic game show Let's Make a Deal. But I couldn't find any relevant footage despite lots of old videos of the show being easily available online.

Are there any out there? (Bonus points if the contestant ends up with the goat.)

Edit. Answer (one of my colleagues shared a link with me): No, as explained by Hall himself.

  • 4
    $\begingroup$ I agree it would be nice if this information one way or another made it into an answer (expanding the "No" a bit). $\endgroup$
    – quid
    Apr 1, 2015 at 9:09

1 Answer 1


As the poster points out, Monty Hall himself says they never did so on the show. (He says so at 1:45 in the linked video.)

Wikipedia has a long list of the sorts of deals that were offered on the show.

  • $\begingroup$ I'm amazed. Apparently like OP I looked through all these 1970's episodes on You Tube... Is there a known creator of the so-called "Monty Hall Problem"? $\endgroup$
    – Chaim
    Dec 20, 2017 at 13:16
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ I'm back here many years later, but it appears that the "Monty Hall Problem" came from a 1990 or 1991 edition of the "Ask Marilyn" column in Parade Magazine, written by Marilyn vos Savant. This column is mentioned in the interview in the video posted here, and an archived version of the column is at the following link: web.archive.org/web/20100310140547/http://… The wording of the question was supposedly submitted by a reader, Craig F. Whitaker of Columbia, MD. $\endgroup$ Feb 23, 2021 at 16:11
  • $\begingroup$ @Chris Cunningham: but it appears that the "Monty Hall Problem" came from a 1990 or 1991 edition of the "Ask Marilyn" column in Parade Magazine --- I would have thought the original source was very well known, and although I haven't looked, I would also have thought many scans of the original columns can be found on the internet. I just checked (I have the clippings in my 1988 copy of Paulos's Innumeracy), and while I don't have the column when the question was initially asked (probably because I wasn't all that interested in a probability/combinatorics question, (continued) $\endgroup$ Jul 30, 2022 at 19:18
  • $\begingroup$ and of course when it was first asked I had no idea it would later be famous), but I do have some columns when the controversy began: 2 Dec 1990 and 17 Feb 1991 and 7 Jul 1991 and 5 Jan 1992 (the 1992 column is a "shopkeeper and two baby beagles problem" that is very similar). Incidentally, in the case of 2 Dec 1990, I have nearly the entire issue, since a picture of then 13-year-old Lenny Ng fills the front cover, and there is a lengthy (for Parade Magazein) article titled "Meet Five American Podigies. Smart Kids: How Different Are They?" $\endgroup$ Jul 30, 2022 at 19:27
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ (this was a weekly periodical that was placed with the comics section in a large number of U.S. Sunday newspapers). Incidentally, the first chapter of Martin Gardner's 1996 book Weird Water and Fuzzy Logic. More Notes of a Fringe Watcher discusses this (surprisingly, a .pdf file is freely available at archive.org), and Gardner mentions his April 1957 Mathematical Games column, where versions of the same problem can be found, with references to it as long ago as 1911. $\endgroup$ Jul 31, 2022 at 0:46

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.