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Hi… my name is Lee… and I'm addicted to game shows.

It all started when I was young, I guess… I would climb the stairs of my house and wait for Rod Roddy (God rest his soul) to scream "Come on Down!" Like the contestant that never was, I would sprint down the stairs and sit in my own contestants row… my living room couch.

written by Lee DiGeorge


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Episode 1 - "The Greatest Player Ever" (June 11)

For the first column in "The DiGeorge Files", we will celebrate the 20 year anniversary of Michael Larsen.

For all of those in the dark about who Mr. Larsen was, I'll give you a quick refresher course.

Michael Larsen, an unemployed ice cream truck driver, pulled off the biggest coup in the world of game shows at the time since the Charles Van Doren era of the $64,000 question… except this wasn't technically cheating…

Michael Larsen, having nothing to do with his life, was looking for his next get rich quick scheme. His mission: To locate a pattern in the big board. Larsen would record each show and trace the movements of the "lit square". There were also a few squares on the board that never had a Whammy. In an ironic twist of fate, all of these areas were "money and a spin" spaces. Larsen, after studying, had narrowed the light movement to just a few patterns. He was ready…

…ready to make game show history.

Larsen was cocky, too… in round one; he TRIED to hit a Whammy just to test his ability to stop it whenever he wanted. He succeeded. It would be the one and only time that the Whammy would get the best of him. Round two led Michael Larsen to approximately 50 consecutive spins, landing in the same 3 or 4 squares, one of them being the "Big Bucks" Square.

But… there was a problem….

Larsen was beginning to get tired. His reaction time was slowing down dramatically. Soon enough, there was one instance where he narrowly avoided a Whammy. Larsen has grown tired. Larsen had missed his mark.

The other hole to the plan was that Larsen could not end the game himself. Since the only squares he knew were the "…and a spin" spaces, he would always have to engage in a passing war with someone.

But, there were no more slip-ups. Michael Larsen finished the game with $110,237. Imagine that sum of cash in 1984. Unreal.

CBS executives flipped out, and after a long meeting, agreed on a few things. They would have to pay Michael Larsen his money. After all, he had done nothing wrong. He just, in fact, was much better equipped to play the game. CBS also changed the light pattern to a random number generator. They will not be duped again.

That show, broken up into two parts, was the highest rated "Press Your Luck" ever… and rightfully so. GSN recently aired a great recap of it, highlighting exactly how he did it, and how any of the other contestants could have done the same thing.

The truth of the matter is that this man, instead of working hard for his money, found a get rich scam that worked. Maybe I'm just jealous… I would have LOVED to be up there, hitting that plunger at exactly the right time, and making $110,000 in 1984 (worth $350,000 or more today).

Instead, here I am, rambling about it to the world.

A question I will pose to my readers –

What, besides the Michael Larsen episodes of Press Your Luck, do you feel is the definitive "greatest moment in game show history"?

Please e-mail all your responses to digeorgefiles@yahoo.com

Until next week, peace out, cub scouts!

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