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Big Bucks: The Press Your Luck Scandal (2003)

On May 19, 1984, an out of work ice cream truck driver from Southwestern Ohio broke the bank on CBS' hit game show of the mid-1980's "Press Your Luck" and made TV history by setting a ... See full summary »



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Credited cast:
Peter Tomarken ...
Himself - Host
John Mueller ...
Michael Larson
Bill Carruthers ...
Teresa Larson (as Ryan Sands)
Janie Litras Dakan ...
James Larson ...
Himself - Interviewee
Michael Larson ...
Himself (archive footage)
Karen Martin ...
Herself - Contestant (archive footage)
Ed Long ...
Rod Roddy ...
Himself - Announcer (archive sound)
Teresa McGlynn ...
Bill Mitchell ...
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Himself - U.S. Vice-President (archive footage)
Himself (archive footage)


On May 19, 1984, an out of work ice cream truck driver from Southwestern Ohio broke the bank on CBS' hit game show of the mid-1980's "Press Your Luck" and made TV history by setting a record for the most money won by a contestant in one appearance on a daytime game show; A record which may have been long been surpassed with the Big-Jackpot game shows of today, but still stands strong as the biggest win in "Press Your Luck's" history. Was it brilliance? Was it cheating? And how did he do it? "Press Your Luck's" host and crew, the family of Michael Larson - the man who walked away with $110,237 in cash and prizes - and Michael's opponents from that fateful day gathered in Hollywood 19 years later to relive the events of that remarkable event in TV history. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

scandal | See All (1) »



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Release Date:

16 March 2003 (USA)  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


The $110,237 won by Michael Larson in 1984 had the same purchasing power as $251,000 in 2015. See more »


Peter Tomarken: On May 19, 1984, a dubious kind of history was made. An unemployed ice cream truck driver took a major television network on a ride no one watching would EVER forget.
See more »


References The Facts of Life (1979) See more »

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User Reviews

Genius or Cheat?
22 February 2014 | by (Louisville, KY) – See all my reviews

Big Bucks: The Press Your Luck Scandal (2003)

*** 1/2 (out of 4)

Highly entertaining documentary taking a look at Michael Larson, an out of work ice cream truck driver who made his way from Ohio to Los Angeles where he got on the Press Your Luck game show and ended up walking away with over $110,000. How did Larson do it? For months he studied the game at home and caught a pattern that would allow him to rack up the big bucks without hitting a whammy. To say this is the biggest scandal in game show history might be an understatement. There's certainly something interesting about what Larson did as some are going to call him a genius while others are going to call him a cheat. Personally speaking I can't help but call him a genius and I would never use the word cheat since there was a way to break the board and he found out how to do it. I think most of the blame has to go to the network for not having a plan in case something like this ever happened. The documentary does a very good job at telling the story of how a man from Ohio won a ton of cash from CBS who were pretty much dumbfounded by what was going on. The documentary features host Peter Tomarken talking about what was going on during the taping of the show but we also get interviews with the director, creator and others involved in the show including the two other contestants that Larson was going up against. The film also features the entire episode that was originally aired over two days but was never seen again until this documentary. Fans of the show or just scandals in general will certainly want to check this out as the entire thing is just bizarre to say the least.

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