Press Your Luck was a CBS daytime game show that ran from 1983 to 1986. It was one of the first game shows to use computer technology. The heart of the game revolved around a large computer-generated prize board. There were 18 'randomly arranged' panels. On average, 15 of the 18 panels contained cash or merchandise prizes. The other three were 'whammies.' If a player stopped the rotating board on a whammy, he lost everything. If a player kept accruing spins, he could keep pressing his luck and accumulate as much money and prizes as he dared. Enter Michael Larson, an out-of-work ice cream vendor from Ohio. Using his VCRs, Larson taped numerous episodes of Press Your Luck and screened them in slow motion. Larson's study habits paid huge dividends: He recognized that the board only generated five patterns. If a player was smart enough to recognize the patterns and time his presses accordingly, a small fortune could be amassed. In a May 1984 taping, Larson did just that. To the amazement of host Peter Tomarken, a studio audience, his two opponents, and CBS brass, Larson made 46 consecutive spins without hitting a whammy. (The odds of such a feat, if it were pure luck, are about 5000 to one.) At a time when most game show winners took home less than $10,000, Larson won $104,950 in cash, a sailboat, and trips to Kauai and the Bahamas-- for a total haul valued at $110,237. Larson's run of whammy-free presses took so long that CBS had to air the show over two episodes (on June 8 and 11). At first CBS was reluctant to award Larson his winnings, but they had no legal grounds to withhold Larson's loot. He had beaten the system fairly. Immediately afterward, the Press Your Luck board patterns were increased to 32 making it much less likely that anyone could memorize them. To see a condensed version of Larson in action, check out another post on this website: http://www.yourememberthat.com/media/14367/Michael_Larson_on_Press_Your_Luck/
Added: 30th November 2010
Posted By: Lava1964
I posted this on the CBC News website in Canada following the Boston Bruins' Stanley Cup championship on June 15, 2011. It got such a wonderful response that I thought I'd share it here too: It had been 14,279 days since captain Johnny Bucyk hoisted the Boston Bruins' last Stanley Cup on May 11, 1972. To put things in perspective...
Richard Nixon was in the White House.
America still had combat troops in Vietnam.
If you bought a quarter's worth of candy, you could get sick eating it all.
Pitchers still batted in the American League.
There was no such thing as rap music or punk rock.
Nobody considered the possibility of terrorist attacks at the Olympics.
The NHL had 14 teams. Few players wore helmets. Some goalies didn't wear masks.
Nobody seriously thought hockey players from the USSR were good.
There were hardly any McDonald's Restaurants in Canada. There were very few Tim Hortons either.
Archie Bunker was in his heyday.
Television sets had rabbit ears.
Nobody thought the world was in peril from global warming or climate change or whatever they're calling it this week.
Lotteries were illegal in Canada.
Arthur Godfrey Time had still been on the radio two weeks earlier.
Calculators could perform four functions and cost $179.
Most people had rotary telephones.
Forget about DVD players--VCRs didn't exist.
The idea of bottled water would have been laughable.
Computers were enormous things that occupied entire rooms and did simple calculations using punch cards.
Hardware meant hammers and wrenches. Software didn't mean anything.
People still sent telegrams.
Life Magazine was still around.
Canada still had the death penalty.
O.J. Simpson was a hero.
The Lord's Prayer was recited in public schools. Nobody thought it was wrong.
A new car cost $2500.
Hockey cards were a dime a pack--and they came with pink bubble gum covered in powdered sugar.
Bobby Orr was the greatest player in the NHL. (Thirty-nine years later he's still the greatest of all time.).
Added: 16th June 2011
Posted By: Lava1964