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20 Shining Moments: Part 1 - December 2

If you have read the top stories on our main page, then you know that TV Land will be airing a Top 100 Moments in Television History. Of course, us being, I can’t let this go by without having a Top 10 column of my own. Like what has been done in the past, I also invite you to e-mail me your own Top 10 list with anything in here that I may have missed.

Without further ado, here is my Top 10 Traditional Game Show Moments list.

10. Thom McKee’s Run, Tic Tac Dough – We all remember Ken Jennings and his magical run. Well, McKee was the Jennings of the 80’s, as in 1980, we went on a 43 game winning streak, grabbing $312,700 and 8 new cars. How he lost it was just as dramatic as he went a number of games to Kit Salisbury before finally falling. That record would stick around for awhile until you know who showed up.

9. Rip Taylor Flips His Wig, Super Password – It would have been hysterical enough to just have the players massacre the word ‘Testimony’, but Rip Taylor goes one step further to make this clip a classic – his stool goes flying, and then his hairpiece right along with it. The toupee winds up on host Bert Convy’s chest before landing back on Taylor’s head – backwards.

8. Playing With Balls, Match Game 90 Pilot – The question - 'At the Cannibal Halloween Party, they don't bob for apples, they bob for _____.' Marsha Warfield's answer? 'Boobs'. We get down to Gloria Loring, who fights with host Bert Convy to not show her answer. Bert wins the fight, and the answer is... 'Balls'. The audience goes nuts, and Brad Garrett clips that they will be having a party at his place that night. Heh.

7. The Bizarro Family, Family Feud - This family is nuts. The first person is asked to name an animal with 3 letters, and we get 'Frog'. We need a brand of gas and we get 'Regular'. We need something that comes with a summer storm and we get 'Snow'. His family teammate comes out and we still need an animal with three letters. Richard: 'You cannot and you do not want to duplicate any of his answers.' Well, he doesn't duplicate it as we get the animal answer of 'Alligator'.

6. The Mighty Yolanda, The Price is Right – Yolanda Bowersley wants to come on down and play a pricing game. Her breasts want to come on out and play peek-a-boo. Her breasts win. Peek-a-boo! I see you!

5. Billy Crystal on the Pyramid – Billy Crystal uses only 7 clues and gets up the Pyramid’s Bonus round in 26 seconds, far and away the quickest time ever.

4. Michael Larson Wins $110,000+, Press Your Luck – The Ice Cream Man Cometh as Larson makes an incredible run on the Press Your Luck Board to win $110,000 and change. This event sparked a new board configuration, a 2 hour documentary on GSN, and a rematch on Whammy!, where Michael’s brother, playing for the late Larson, wins the rematch against the two players that Michael played against 20 years ago.

3. John Carpenter Wins $1 Million, WWTBAM – Of course, there have been many, many million dollar winners on prime time television over the years, including our good friends Tim Hsieh, Ed Toutant, David Legler and Dr. Kevin Olmstaed (among others), but there’s nothing like seeing it for the first time that makes your mouth drop in awe.

2. Ken Jennings Wins 74 Straight Games for Over 2 Million, Jeopardy! – This was voted by you as the top event in the past 5 years, and well earned, as Jennings rewrites the Jeopardy history books. Forget about the Ultimate Tournament of Champions – Jennings kept the audiences glued in their seats and gave Jeopardy a renaissance that it never saw in it’s history.

1. Dan Avila Loses $2 Million, Greed – However, if you want to talk about pure moments, nothing beats this. As much money as people have won, this is the only moment in television history where someone sees a potential $2 million slip from their grasp on a single question. That moment – and their team (which featured Curtis Warren, a man who would go on to win a million dollars later on during the show’s run) is the sole reason why Fox's show got the full season run. Heck, we keep referencing this moment on WLTI and Dan Avila, who is a pure gentleman, joined us as that episode is one of our highest clicked on shows. Apparently, you guys are as transfixed on him as we are.

Obviously, this is only my Classic Top 10, and there are many, many more moments than just this. Please e-mail me with your choices and I’ll be posting them up on a future State of Play. Next Week – The Reality Show Top 10.

Gordon Pepper welcomes all top 10 lists at


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