The Treasure of Pago Pago

By | March 3, 2020

Thanks to the Friend of the Bar who alerted me to this: a full episode of La Tresor de Pago Pago, TF1’s answer to Fort Boyard by some of the people behind Fort Boyard. It has a Russian (?) commentary track, but don’t let that stop you.

Three couples compete across three stages, at the end of the first two the worst performers are eliminated. The first stage is your typical adventure racing stuff (kayaking, net climbing, crossing a swamp). The second takes place in the village of Pago Pago (*), where the villagers protect the legendary pearl treasure and our contestants must prove themselves worthy in a number of village-y things (not flinching whilst having an arrow shot at you, bamboo dancing, sumo wrestling, being locked in a basket and thrown underwater). The winning team then get thirty minutes to complete underwater challenges, hampered by resident freediving pirates who want the treasure for themselves, to find a combination to a padlock which blocks the domed grotto containing the pearls, and earn bracelets which can be exchanged for using breathing apparatus held by the treasure’s topless guardians when collecting said pearls.

It’s certainly a bit of a curio, running for 11 episodes on TF1 across two runs – we’re aware there was a German version as well (Edit: actually might have crossed wires there). We quite like the Vangelis-style soundtrack, but there’s not much of it. Ultimately it suffers from Ice Warriors syndrome – there’s only so many ways you can dress up doing stuff underwater really, although it frequently looks gorgeous.

(*) There is in fact an actual village of Pago Pago in American Samoa, but this was filmed in the Turks and Caicos Islands.

14 thoughts on “The Treasure of Pago Pago

  1. Nico W.

    I actually learned written calculation with Pago Pago, because they had to do it (underwater?!) at some point. I’m so happy you found that episode! Been looking for ages to get my hands on one.
    But has there actually been a German version? I just remember it airing in Germany as one of several game shows in the early afternoon (most of the times IIRC it was combined with Sports Bakka and Takeshi’s Castle, with Xapatan replacing it every now and then), but I can’t remember a version produced for Germany. However if someone can tell me more about it or even unearth an episode I would be ridiculously thankful! I’m so amazed there is a full episode here!

    1. Brig Bother Post author

      Aaaah sorry, I might have my wires crossed here – I remember you mentioning you had watched it and assumed it was a German version.

      Anyway, here’s another fragment of what we believe to be the first series (again with commentary):

    2. Holgermat

      DSF’s afternoon lineup also featured the late seasons of Gladiators. 🙂

  2. David

    I called it the minute I saw your tweet- and I agree, looks nice, but you can tell why they did that round going from 3 teams to 1…and collecting pearls underwater just doesn’t have quite the visual look like getting Boyards in the Treasure Room (or even gold tokens in the Crystal Dome)

    1. Brig Bother Post author

      I was impressed/annoyed when you called it out!

      There are one or two things I fear I may be missing from the language barrier – the rescue game in the village is subtitled “the decider” so is there potentially more than one point on offer and if so, how? I’m fascinated by the health and safety implications of that game.

      The clue picture the guy accesses in the totem game looked to be a saw, but he seemed to mime combing his hair. What did he do that for?

      I think the endgame lacks urgency more than anything, and it’s a bit of a shame that clearly quite a lot of the uncaught pearls didn’t seem to make it back into the feeder for blowing out again because the effect isn’t quite so good when there’s fewer being blown up in the air.

  3. Chris M. Dickson

    See, this takes me back to 1997-1998 Scottish CITV contribution Get Wet, where one of the winning pair of kids scuba-dove beneath a ship to find a golden key to half-open the chest containing the grand prize, while the other kid found the other one above water on the ship itself. A quick search reveals no clips, having checked the YouTube channels of both STV and of co-host Simeon Courtie, who leaves it off his showreels and possibly even leaves it off his CV. Temptingly someone seems to have posted a link to a video of it on the Challenge forum, but the video is private. Ah!

    Anyone able to jump higher than my low bar for search skills?

    1. Alex

      Does STV’s site still have it? I know it did once have that and Twister (Fun House’s ‘cooler’ but ultimately many shades worse brother).

      1. Danny Kerner

        Both Get Wet & Twister is still online. Fun House has been removed sadly.

    2. Brig Bother Post author

      I think Get Wet worked better, because it looked like there was more Stuff, and it was all done in about three minutes.


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