Le Mot Le Plus Long

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Graeme Cole
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Le Mot Le Plus Long

Post by Graeme Cole » Sat Aug 13, 2016 11:31 pm

I stumbled on a video of the first ever episode of the French game show Le Mot Le Plus Long, from 1965. In 1972 this show had a numbers game added and became Des Chiffres et des Lettres, which Countdown was based on.

The contestants (referred to very formally as Monsieur Harment and Monsieur Lichtenberg) formed they longest word they could from a selection of seven letters. Yep, seven. They got 45 seconds, but the letters were picked while the clock was running. The first ever round wasn't the most spectacular start to the game that would still be running fifty years later; one player offered a two-letter word which was spelt out in the selection. His opponent won the round by adding on the selection's next letter to make three.

In subsequent rounds, the letters that weren't used in the previous round's winning word stay in the rack and new letters are added to it to make seven letters, like in Scrabble. You've got a Z, an X and a W? Tough. They hang around for the rest of the game until you use them.

So far the format seems rather undeveloped compared to nowadays, but compare the scoring system to what we have now.

Countdown: If you win or draw the round, you get a point for each letter in your word, or 18 for a nine.
Le Mot Le Plus Long: On the wall, behind a random vase of flowers, there's a triangular course of 18 alternating black and white spaces. The winner of the round moves around the board the same number of spaces as letters in their word. If their move would land them on a black space they have to answer a general knowledge question right in order to make the move. Otherwise they just move. Presumably the first person round the course wins. There are also lights numbered from 1 to 5 above each contestant's name, but we don't get to find out what they're for. Perhaps the host explained it but I didn't understand a great deal of what she was saying.

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Johnny Canuck
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Re: Le Mot Le Plus Long

Post by Johnny Canuck » Sun Aug 14, 2016 12:19 am

Graeme Cole wrote:The contestants (referred to very formally as Monsieur Harment and Monsieur Lichtenberg) formed they longest word they could from a selection of seven letters. Yep, seven. They got 45 seconds, but the letters were picked while the clock was running. The first ever round wasn't the most spectacular start to the game that would still be running fifty years later; one player offered a two-letter word which was spelt out in the selection. His opponent won the round by adding on the selection's next letter to make three.
Sheesh. North American contestants could do almost as well as this.
Q: What's black and white and 3D?
A: A zebra in Blender.

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Mark Deeks
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Re: Le Mot Le Plus Long

Post by Mark Deeks » Sun Aug 14, 2016 1:44 am

Without watching the clip, you've just described a Countdown/Blockbusters mash-up, which sounds awesome, and so now I can't watch it, in case it isn't.
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Ben Wilson
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Re: Le Mot Le Plus Long

Post by Ben Wilson » Sun Aug 14, 2016 9:20 am

Maybe I should revive the tradition of the bizarre/experimental COLIN warm-up game...

Matt Bayfield
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Re: Le Mot Le Plus Long

Post by Matt Bayfield » Thu Aug 18, 2016 11:59 am

As far as I'm concerned, this once excellent 1960s show jumped the shark in 1972.

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