Peter - March 15
I was planning on doing
something about game shows and tournaments, but
obviously that's going to wait until next week.
Obviously, that's not going to happen. From the front
page news, you know by now that former game show host
Peter Tomarken was killed in a plane crash off of the
coast of California. We're all here because we love game
shows. I love to write about them, the people involved,
those of the past and present.
Everyone remembers him from "Press Your Luck," or if
they can't remember the name of the show, it was "that
one with the whammies". He hosted the show with a style
all his own for four great years; years you can see
daily on Game Show Network, and the USA Network before
it. I doubt that "Press Your Luck" was among the harder
game shows to host - the questions were not demanding,
all anyone has to do is keep up with the information on
the scoreboard, read whatever is on the hit screen, and
occasionally mention the price of a prize that was hit.
Even so, Peter made the show his own, coining catch
phrases out of something as simple as reading the
current player's cash total. Who among us doesn't
remember "You want to be careful about picking up a
third whammy in round one?" His pairing with Rod Roddy
was genius casting.
Though Peter will be remembered by most casual viewers
as host of "Press Your Luck," I was particularly fond of
his hosting on "Wipeout" and "Paranoia." It was a chance
to see Peter away from the show where he had been
working for four years. Personally, I thought he was
fantastic. On "Wipeout," Peter was able to bring the
excitement from "Press Your Luck" to a game that was
more about knowledge (or at least assumed knowledge)
than straight up luck. "Paranoia" was a great showcase
for his improvisational and interviewing talents, since
it was the first game show in a while to go out live.
Even after an amusing slip-up concerning a throw to
commercial, he was able to laugh about it and keep
going, providing trivia geeks with a show that had never
been done before: you're not crazy, everyone IS out to
We've lost a great host and figure in the world of game
shows. Even so, we still have over a thousand episodes
of his work to watch, all of them showing what a great
host he was. Enjoy the forthcoming marathon, and
remember Peter the way he should be remembered.
No pithy end line this time. Send comments, memories
and thoughts to: firstname.lastname@example.org