Obit of the Day (Historical): No Whammies! None. Zero.
In a change of pace for OOTD (and a h/t to the iPad “Today in History” app) we’re looking at Mr. Michael Lawson who had two very, very good days on the game show Press Your Luck back in 1984.
Larson had while living at home, unemployed, become a big fan of PYL. Big. So big that he realized that the PYL big board (above) wasn’t random. Using his VCR (it was like the Stone Age!) Larson identified the flashing light pattern and decided to use this knowledge to win some cash.
Win he did. Over two days (the usual one episode game had to be extended) Larson, using his knowledge cleared $100,000. The NBC limit was $25,000 but they gave him the money anyway. Not before they tried to accuse Larson of cheating, though. OOTD doesn’t think it was cheating, just a man with a lot of time on his hands…and a really good system
Sadly enough when Larson died, on this date, in 1999 he was broke and not in contact with his family. He was also charged with fraud for trying to sell shares in a national lottery…that didn’t exist.
And if you want read another fascinating story about game show scandals, you should read Chris Jones’ Esquire article on The Price is Right's only perfect showcase bid.