Your First Impression

Monty Hall sold his first game show as a producer to NBC in 1962. It went on the air in January of that year, more or less replacing It Could Be You, inherting the host of that show, Bill Leyden, and its producer, Stefan Hatos. Your First Impression was based on the semi-psychological exercise of asking people questions to which they’re expected to reply with the first thing that comes into their minds. A typical question might be to finish the sentence, “The thing I don’t do well is…” Or “If I could do any other job in the world, I’d be a…”

There were occasional variations in the format but the main game involved bringing on a mystery celebrity and asking him or her questions of that nature. A celebrity panel was given the name of five possible contenders and based on the responses, they had to figure out which of the five was present in the studio with them. Once, the mystery celeb was Richard Nixon, who was asked to complete the sentence, “I wish I’d been…” and who gave it away when he came back with “…the captain of a P.T. boat.”

Leyden was a cheery, laid-back gent who kept things moving nicely but who had health problems that caused him to miss the show from time to time. Monty Hall filled in occasionally and then Dennis James, who was often on the celebrity panel, took over as host for an extended period. The show went off the air in 1964, by which time Mr. Hall was quite busy. In the interim, he and Stefan Hatos had formed a production company together and sold a show called Let’s Make a Deal.