William Shakespeare was an English poet and playwright, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's pre-eminent dramatist. He is often called England's national poet and the "Bard of Avon" (or simply "The Bard"). His surviving works consist of 38 plays, along with numerous pieces of poetry. His plays have been translated into every major living language, and are performed more often than those of any other playwright.
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Between 1585 and 1592 he began a successful career in London as an actor, writer, and part owner of the playing company the Lord Chamberlain's Men, later known as the King's Men. Shakespeare produced most of his known work between 1590 and 1613. His early plays were mainly comedies and histories, genres he raised to the peak of sophistication and artistry by the end of the sixteenth century. Next he wrote mainly tragedies until about 1608, including Hamlet, King Lear, and Macbeth, considered some of the finest examples in the English language. In his last phase, he wrote tragicomedies, also known as romances, and collaborated with other playwrights.
Few, however, are familiar with Bill's other creation: the Game Show.
Shakespaere did not invent the Game Show, per se. Many Elizabethan theaters had "games" that we're performed as part of the pre-show warm-up, in which audience members were selected to come up on stage and compete for prizes. But Shakespeare took the concept further: he expanded on the concept, and made the game show the main production.
One of Shakespeare's early successes was Let's Maketh a Deal, where an audience member was selected, and given a prize. He (or she) was then offered the chance to trade the prize for what was behind a curtain. If the player took the deal, there was a chance that the new prize was better, but there was also the chance that the prize was worthless and the player was "zonked."
Known Shakespearean Gameshows:
*Some scholars attribute this show to Francis Bacon
- Let's Maketh a Deal
- The Pryce is Ryght*
- The 64 Shilling Question
- Art thou smarter than a peasant?
- Who wants "to be or not to be" a Millionaire?
- Wheel of Fortune
- Deal or No Deal
But perhaps the most popular of Shakespeare's game shows was Deal or No Deal, where contestants opened small boxes to reveal the amount of money each contained, hoping that their box contained a large amount, or that the dealer would offer them a large amount in exchange for their box.
So popular was this show that at its peak, there were over 60 troupes performing the game throughout England, as well as numerous versions throughout continental Europe.
- Ironically, in the modern version of this game, winning a goat is considered a zonk, but in the Elizabethan era, winning a goat was considered one of the top prizes
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