Tuesday, September 19, 2023



We are devoted to a minor bit of television history today.  This is the 40th anniversary of the debut of "Press Your Luck" on CBS.

I was working nights on the radio at the time.  My days were free and I remember watching that first week.  My thoughts then are the same as they are now-- mildly amusing.  The questions weren't very challenging, and the "spin" rounds lasted far too long.  Peter Tomarken was a solid host, coming off a stint on the underrated NBC game show "Hit Man."  I really loved that one.

"Press Your Luck" lasted three years on CBS daytime, and a prime time version still pops up on ABC once in a while.  The new version features a computerized and utterly randomly changing game board.  The CBS version had a pattern that could be recognized, and a contestant did that to his advantage, racking up an unbelievable amount of cash and prizes.

In a bit of useless trivia, "Press Your Luck" actually is a retooled version of a short lived ABC daytime show called "Second Chance."  It was prematurely cancelled because ABC had already committed to another show and had given it a firm start date.

Even though PYL was never a major hit, there are still a lot of people who know what you are talking about when you say "big bucks, no Whammys."

And, while we are discussing anniversaries, yesterday was the 45th anniversary of the debut of "WKRP in Cincinnati."  I always thought the show was wildly uneven.  Some episodes were hilarious.  Others were yawns.   The show did introduce us to some unforgettable characters.  I spent more than ten years in radio, a valuable experience.  I worked with Johnny Fever types, and the producers really nailed the salesman Herb Tarlek character.