The original version of the game show, where contestants use their intuition and luck to help them win cash and prizes by deciding whether to keep the unknown contents of a box they have chosen.


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Credited cast:
Jan Murray ...
 Host (1956-1959)
 Pirate Girl
Pat White ...
 Pirate Girl
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Marian Stafford ...
 Pirate Girl (1956-1959)


In the original version of "Treasure Hunt" (a weekly and daily series which aired on ABC and later, NBC) two contestants, one a champion, answer up to 5 general knowledge questions as selected by their opponent. The winner got to go on a treasure hunt. On the stage were 30 numbered treasure chests some small, some invitingly large. Each treasure chest had a cash amount from $100 up. The contestant could pocket the cash or give it back for whatever was in the box. It could be anything from a worthless nonsense prize (e.g., a head of cabbage) to cars, trips, furs, jewelry, furniture sets, appliances ... to a cash jackpot worth $25,000 (or $10,000 plus $1000 for each show unclaimed on the nighttime show and also the difference of the same jackpot worth $1000 plus $100 for each day was unclaimed on the daytime show.) After the contestant had made his/her decision, Murray then showed him/her what they had won (or in some cases, could have won). Either way, the contestant returned and ... Written by Brian Rathjen <>

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Family | Game-Show






Release Date:

7 September 1956 (USA)  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Followed by The New Treasure Hunt (1973) See more »

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User Reviews

What a Treasure!
28 July 2006 | by (Van Buren, Arkansas) – See all my reviews

The late Jan Murray was my favorite game show host when I was a kid, growing up in the 1950's. That's saying a lot, since game show hosts were ubiquitous on early TV, perhaps the most popular being Bill Cullen. Jan had a warm sense of humor, with a down-home persona. Being a stand-up comic enabled him to establish a friendly rapport with the studio and TV audiences. Like Johnny Carson, who also hosted a game show ("Do You Trust Your Wife?, "Who Do You Trust?," changed to "Whom Do You Trust?" for reasons of correct grammar) during the same time span that "Treasure Hunt" was on the tube, Murray would interject funny quips from time to time much in the manner of Graucho Marx on "You Bet Your Life," but not as scathing.

The game involved two contestants, usually one male, one female. One would be a returning winner challenged by the new arrival. The one that eliminated the rival would then choose from a variety of treasure chests on stage containing varying amounts of money with one having a mystery treasure inside. Having learned the contents of the chosen chest, the contestant then had to decide whether to keep the treasure or go for the big prize, which could be as much as $25,000 on one version of the game. The grand prize was revealed no matter if the contestant chose it or decided to keep the prize already won, for the big prize might turn out to be a dud; so the contestant was taking a gamble.

An added attraction, particularly for male viewers, was Jan's assistant, the pirate girl, Marian Stafford (other pirate girls were Pat White and Greta Thyssen). The pirate girl wore abbreviated attire that would have made Captain Kidd proud. Jan at times would make humorous comments concerning the pirate girl but it was all in good fun. Jan never became a TV superstar like Johnny Carson but it wasn't because of lack of talent. He made us laugh. What could be better than that?

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