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Game Show Marathon: Press Your Luck

by Richard Keller, posted Jun 8th 2006 10:55PM

Press Your Luck(S01E04) It could be my imagination, but I could swear that the remaining three celebrities vying for the last seat of Game Show Marathon semi-finals were having a good time. Maybe they were finally warming up to each other after four games, maybe it was a 'I don't care what happens, I'm going to have fun' belief. Or, maybe it's the fact they were playing Press Your Luck and, dammit, they really had a competition going on.

The original Press Your Luck, which aired on CBS from 1983 until 1986 was such a cool concept that the show is still a favorite to this day. So, it was great to see it in all it's glory on Game Show Marathon. Other than the late Peter Tomarken all of the elements were there, the spinning set, the big board, the theme music, and, of course, the Whammys. In addition, it was probably the best episode of the series so far.

Host Ricki Lake did an admirable job as host of the show, which pitted Leslie Nielsen, Kathy Najimy and Tim Meadows against each other for the last semi-final seat. As Marathon has progressed I think she gotten a bit more comfortable with the hosting routine. However, it would have been nice to have Todd Newton host this part of Game Show Marathon as he was host of the Press Your Luck revival that aired on GSN from 2002 until 2003. Still, she did a good job at moving the game along and guiding the contestants to either play their spins or pass them to their contestants.

During the question-and-answer session of the game, which allows users to gain spins for each correct response, the three contestants faired pretty well, and there was an air of relaxation amongst them. It's when they began pressing their luck were the children separated from the adults. It was fairly obvious from the beginning of the first spin round that Leslie Nielsen would not be warming the last semi-final seat. By the end of the first round he had stacked up three Whammy's. At the beginning of the second round he crapped out fairly quickly with his fourth Whammy. Let's face it, Leslie was probably the worst player for all the games.

Now Tim Meadows and Kathy Najimy; that's a different story! They were evenly match at the end of the first round with one Whammy apiece. But, by the second round, the gloves had come off. After Kathy racked up over ten thousand dollars in cash and prizes she passed all of her spins to Tim. He used those spins to accumulate over thirty thousand dollars! After he used up all of the passed spins he gave the remaining ones back to Kathy.

Using Tim's spins Kathy took the lead with thirty-eight thousand dollars. She also accumulated a few spins that she passed back to Meadows. On his first spin he hit the ten thousand dollar square and gained another spin. After one more turn he accumulated over forty-two thousand dollars. He passed his spins back to Kathy.

Now, mind you, neither contestant had hit a Whammy this entire round, and Kathy was down to just two spins. This was normally the time during the original run of Press Your Luck where the contestant would just freak out and hit the Whammy. But not 'Stone-Cold' Najimy. Using her last two spins she jumped over Tim's total and won by only a few thousand dollars.

Whew! It was really enjoyable and it made me wish that someone would revive Press Your Luck again with the original set and graphics; forget all of the computer animation and sensory crap. I want cheap animated Whammys!

Next week the show settles into a Thursday night slot for the next three weeks. Tune in as Paige Davis and Brande Roderick face off in the 1980's, Bob Eubanks version of Card Sharks.


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Michael Lucas

"1. If only they knew the Michael Larson pattern, which by the way I noticed was STILL in tact, lol."


Michael Larsen is the biggest genius to appear on any game show, except for Ken Jennings. I missed the PYL show, but hearing that the Larsen pattern was kept intact in this episode makes me actually want to go and find it now, just to make sure.

I was actually considering writing to CBS when I heard about this, asking that they keep the Larsen pattern in. Apparently I didn't have to.

June 16 2006 at 11:44 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Michael Kaply

Did anyone else notice that the clueless CBS folks revealed who the two winners were by not properly blurring the last names in the preview of Family Feud at the beginning of this episode?

June 10 2006 at 12:17 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Rich, the version of Card Sharks they're going to play had the '70s-era logo, but it looks like they're going to have the Eubanks-era questions where the ten cheerleaders or whatever were surveyed actually show up live and are interviewed.

I really liked this episode. I just wish they wouldn't try to expand a half-hour show to an hour slot. It gives the celebrities too much time to ham it up and tell each other how much they love each other. Yikes. I'd rather see normal contestants that are so nervous that it takes all their energy to keep from throwing up.

June 09 2006 at 10:19 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Brent McKee

The thing you have to remember about Leslie Nielsen is that the man is 80 years old and "competing" against people who are literally half his age. As much as I love the guy he shouldn't have been competing, he should have been part of next week's Match Game panel.

June 09 2006 at 7:13 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

This was actually a lot of fun! I qas quite literally on the edge of my seat when Tim Meadows passed those final spins to Kathy Najimy. Poor Leslie Nielsen, he just did so bad on every game he played.

June 09 2006 at 1:09 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The show was excellent! Best one out of the four! Both Kathy Najimy and Tim Meadows captured the essence of that game show's competitive edge in the '80s. They brought a "Bring it on!" approach to it. It was back and forth, each one passing their remaining spins! And neither one hit the Whammy once in the second round! It was CLOSE--$33,000-30,000 at one point and $46,000-42,000 at the end of the game! Each one won some beautiful prizes as well as money for the home viewer! Kathy's had a lot of trips, and she was the winner. As for Leslie Nielsen, he doesn't really fit well in a game show format--his head was just somewhere else on that show. Ricki Lake did a fine job hosting this Press Your Luck. And I especially liked the memory/tribute to the late Peter Tomarken at the end of the show. But Kathy and Tim were just remarkable at playing this game--I'm still blown away after watching this show!!!!

June 09 2006 at 3:15 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

"It was really enjoyable and it made me wish that someone would revive Press Your Luck again with the original set and graphics; forget all of the computer animation and sensory crap. I want cheap animated Whammys!"


I am glad that they did not do Whammy. Whammy was an OK show, but in my opinion, I think that Whammy TA-NPYL destroyed the 'classicness' in Press Your Luck.

I would also want the same rules too. None of that freeze or go crap. And if they did remake it, I hope they would use the PYL spin theme.

It would be common sense if they did remake one. I mean people agree everywhere that it was one of the most classic gameshows around. And according to some website, it was the 3rd most memorable gameshow ever.

They did a great remake on Gameshow Marathon. What an episode to air, too!

June 09 2006 at 2:41 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

If only they knew the Michael Larson pattern, which by the way I noticed was STILL in tact, lol.


June 08 2006 at 11:48 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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