Soon to be a feature motion picture in 2001/2002, starring Bill Murray as Michael Larsen.

This is the true story of Michael Larsen, a contestant on the game show, Press Your Luck, that aired on CBS from 1983-1986, and ran in incessant reruns on the USA Network from 1987-1995. Larsen taped every single episode of the show, studying it until he had "cracked" the six basic board patterns (though there were actually 1,300 separate parts) that would allow him to beat the system. Travelling to California with nearly no money, he went on to have a streak that won him over $100,000 in a single episode, becoming the most successful game show contestant ever at that point.

You can
Its really a fascinating story.

This project seems to be stalled... too bad

Download a PC conversion of Press Your Luck!
Help get the show back on the air!

The "Big bucks, big bucks, no Whammy, STOP!" meme from Press Your Luck had cult status at the time.

The game show

Press Your Luck (1983-1986) was a game show for three players and a host. After its runs on CBS and USA Network, it would later run on Sony's Game Show Network. A while back, I taped several episodes of PYL off GSN because I was planning a PC conversion (not the one in the banner).

Round 1

Part 1: Four trivia questions. Buzz in with a correct answer and get 3 spins. After you buzz in, the answer you gave (or the correct answer if nobody buzzed in after five seconds) and two others are read as multiple choices for the other two players. Choose the correct answer and get one spin.

Part 2: The Big Board. Eighteen screens cycle through 3 sets of prizes (and Whammy). A moving rectangle hops from screen to screen six times a second. Hit a prize and it is added to your total. Hit Whammy and you lose everything you've won. Hit Whammy four times and you're out. If you fear Whammy, you can pass all the spins you have left to your competitor with the higher winnings, who must immediately use the spins. You can't pass spins that were passed to you (unless you hit Whammy, in which case your Passed spins are marked Earned).

Round 2

Part 1: Four ever-so-slightly tougher questions.

Part 2: Bigger prizes, more "money + extra spin" spaces, and Whammy pops up more often. The player with the most money from Round 1 plays last and does not immediately use passed spins. As in Jeopardy!, only the winner gets to take home cash; the other contestants get parting gifts.

Sources: and my PYL tapes from GSN

The theme song

to make sense of these numbers see noding music

72 50 71 50 50 50 50 71 50 73 50 73 50 74 50 50
72 50 71 50 50 50 50 71 50 67 50 69 69 47 48 49
72 50 71 50 50 50 50 71 50 73 50 73 50 74 50 50
65 67 65 64 48 62 60 63 51 65 63 62 46 60 58 60
48 48 48 48 48 48 61 49
62 50 50 50 50 50 50 50 50 54 0 55 0 56 0 57

Interesting: The background music from Mole Patrol in Super Scope 6 sounds vaguely like the sixteen-note "music" that plays when PYL's Big Board is running.

(return to) The Everything Guide to Game Shows

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