How to Win Over 100K on a Game Show...
Sometimes the difference between cheating and winning fair and square is knowing the rules. When Michael Larson won $110,237 on the game show Press Your Luck in 1984 His winnings represented the largest single day prize in the history of TV game shows up until that time.
In the production booth, however, it was chaos. Producers scrambled to figure out exactly how Larson was managing to buzz in at just the right moment to cash in.
CBS soon discovered the secret to Larsons success. The prize board on Press Your Luck followed a series of five seemingly random patterns, which Larson had memorized thanks to countless viewings of the show. While he kept his money Larson never returned to network TV.
Normally the game’s winner was invited back to the show for another episode, but due to Larson winning well over the network’s $25,000 earnings cap he was not welcomed back to press his luck again. The winning streak was aired once, split across two episodes which aired in June of 1984. Afterward, the network buried the episodes. They wouldn’t be aired again until March of 2003 when the Game Show Network rebroadcast them as part of the documentary Big Bucks: The Press Your Luck Scandal.
Larson’s sweep of the board led to major changes on “Press Your Luck.” The game board’s five patterns were erased and replaced with 32 new patterns, effectively making a repeat of the contestant’s feat impossible.
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