Love to Interrupt
my name is Lee
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
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
except this wasn't technically
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.
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
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
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
Until next week, peace out, cub scouts!