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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 »


J.V. Martin


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

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Plot Keywords:

scandal | See All (1) »





Official Sites:

Game Show Network





Release Date:

16 March 2003 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs





Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


The last time that Bill Carruthers was interviewed before his death. 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 »


Features Press Your Luck: Episode dated 11 June 1984 (1984) See more »

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User Reviews

Highly Interesting
17 March 2003 | by MichaelMovieLoftSee all my reviews

Michael Larsen is the stuff game show legends are made of. He cracked the code of Press Your Luck and smoked CBS out of over $110,000. The key was he memorized the board and knew where to land. All he had to know was two spots to land on. Of course, he had a lot of time to memorize it since he was unemployed.

The bonus of this documentary was they showed both episodes documenting Michael's run at big bucks and no Whammies. These episodes had not been seen since the original broadcast in 1984. The incident obviously gave CBS a black eye. In between episodes, they analyze the episodes. You could see Michael was in his zone while he spun the big board.

The documentary also reunited Michael's opponents and got their point of view. Peter Tomarken is also on hand to provide narration. But it also showed the dark side of a game show contestant. Michael Larsen was a gambler from day one. He wanted that quick buck, and when Press Your Luck came by, he seized the opportunity. For years, we all thought he sunk all of his money into a housing deal gone bad, and lost everything. But as the documentary reveals, much of the money was stolen. He kept much of his money in his house, which made it easy for someone to take it. Larsen continued trying to make the quick buck by getting involved in 'get rich quick' schemes (which of course, never work). He died under a huge cloud of mystery while being investigated by the IRS and SEC.

Kudos to the Game Show Network for giving this moment in game show history the attention it deserves.

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