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August 1st, 2010

Michael Larson on TAL

You’ve probably heard the story of Michael Larson, the guy who memorized patterns on the Press Your Luck board and won an absurd amount of money. So much money that they had to extend the episode’s length from 30 minutes to 60 to accommodate him.

A couple of weeks back, “This American Life” did an episode titled “Million Dollar Idea” whose final segment was about Michael Larson. Not only was it interesting to hear about the obsessive behavior that ruled Michael’s life when looking for a way to make money fast, but it was fascinating to hear from the control room’s perspective as well as what happened to Michael after the show. I had no idea the guy had the FBI after him.

Highly recommended listening for game show nerds (and anyone else that likes things that are good).

Posted in Pop Culture, Television, Movies, and Music

Dave Walls September 22, 2010, 7:29 am

Also be sure to check out the old GSN documentary “Big Bucks: The Press Your Luck Scandal”. the late Peter Tomarken hosted it, which aired the entire episodes uncut (at that time, a first), interviewed the booth staff, directors, the other contestants, and everything.

The most compelling part, IMO, is where they broke down the technology of the show, showing how Larson did it, and how it was even possible.

Footnote: This originally premiered on GSN. Afterwards, the season premiere of “Whammy!” came on, with a special episode reuniting the two other contestants, Ed and Janie, with Michael’s brother James as the third contestant.

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