2, 12, 1, 9, 4: Big Money. No Whammies.
April 3, 2012 11:25 AM Subscribe
posted by zarq (42 comments total)
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On May 19, 1984, an unemployed ice cream truck driver named Michael Larson went on Press Your Luck
and over the course of two episodes, took home more money than had ever been won in the history of television: $110,237 -- to the shock of the show’s producers and host, the late Peter Tomarken
. How did he do it? The show’s game board had only 5 patterns of 18 squares, and Mr. Larson had memorized them all. After the show, CBS tried to disqualify him but couldn’t, because Larson hadn’t done anything illegal. But they did
refuse to allow those episodes to be aired in syndication. So, they didn’t re-air until 2003, when the Game Show Network produced a Tomarken-hosted documentary about Mr. Larson’s incredible win: Big Bucks: The Press Your Luck Scandal
It took Mr. Larson 47 spins to win $110,237, which included a sailboat, trips to the Bahamas and Hawaii, and over $100,000 in cash
At this time index,
the documentary breaks down exactly how Michael beat the game’s “Big Board.” Tomarken then gives Larson’s previous fellow contestants the opportunity to mimic Michael's accomplishment
. Once it has been pointed out, the pattern becomes immediately obvious when it shows up
in other episodes
from the same era.
The episodes: 1
A 10-minute compilation video of his spins:
* Michael Larson’s Spins of Terror
Back in 2010, This American Life highlighted Mr. Larson’s story. Starts at approximately 38:17 in Act Four of the episode: Don’t Hate the Player. Transcript
Larson, Previously on MeFi.
The Bill Murray movie does not seem to have materialized.
There were a total of about 80 whammies on the original Press Your Luck
. Here are 15 minutes worth
, complete with shouting contestants.