Trivia / Press Your Luck

General trivia:

  • Press taped anywhere from 10 to 12 episodes (normally 11) every other weekend, save for vacation time (5 for Saturday and 5 for Sunday, 5 for Saturday and 6 for Sunday, or 6 for Saturday and 6 for Sunday). This would often result in cosmetic changes being made during certain weeks of shows (I.E. Pick-A-Corner debuted on a Tuesday, board sounds #2 and #3 each debuted on a Wednesday, Add-A-One debuted on a Thursday, and the 10 position in both board rounds was updated on a Friday). The reason for this otherwise odd production schedule was because The Carruthers Company was very efficient when it came to taping shows, and taping 6 episodes on Sunday helped save a lot of money. Initially, 10 was the norm, but it became 11 by Fall 1984.
  • The montage of Karen Martin was taken down in September 1984, because viewers complained to the show and CBS that starting that show with that woman yelling so loudly was annoying, though it did turn up a few more times.
  • Occasionally, the light bulb on Peter Tomarken's podium would blink during a Q&A round. This was Peter's cue to go to the easier questions; the bulb would blink if the three contestants got a total of less than 10 spins by the 2nd or 3rd question.
  • The Whammy animation library was updated on a seasonal basis (I.E. Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer).

Specific trivia:

  • Blooper: The board was extremely prone to malfunctions, including the buttons not registering a hit, slides freezing, and even slides blowing up. Multiple contestants were brought back over the years due to board errors.
  • He Also Did: Eek! The Cat co-creators Bill Kopp and Savage Steve Holland animated the Whammies.
  • Hey, It's That Sound!: The time's up buzzer during the question rounds was recycled from Child's Play.
  • Irony as She Is Cast: Despite prominently taking part in all three Christmas editions of the show (1983, 1984, and 1985), host Peter Tomarken was actually Jewish of Russian descent.
  • Keep Circulating the Tapes:
    • The Michael Larson episodes were heavily traded around for years until GSN aired them in 2003. Further, the network's first run of the series only consisted of a stretch from February 21, 1984, to November 15, 1985 (Day 20 of the third and final Home Player Sweepstakes, which ran for 25 episodes)...although some 1983 clips got in due to the opening montage.
    • The original Home Player game series was also barred from airing for a long time because its final taped game was Larson's game.
    • These 450 episodes first aired on GSN from September 1, 2001 to April 10, 2005. #539 (October 17, 1985) aired on December 26, 2006, having previously been skipped over early in 2005 due to a Johnny Carson tribute.
    • Only two episodes in this rerun package were skipped over due to tape glitches: May 31, 1984 (Day 14 of the first Home Player Sweepstakes) and October 4, 1985 (a clip, namely a contestant named Mike after presumably hitting $5000 + One Spin twice in a row, made it to flashback intros much later in the run).
    • The series as a whole became this when GSN stopped airing it in 2009. On October 15, 2012, the network picked up the series for repeats once again, now beginning at the premiere (September 19, 1983). To say the fandom rejoiced would be an understatement, especially since the second and third shows weren't among collectors, #6 had been pre-empted on the East Coast, the first two weeks hadn't been seen since their initial broadcast, and some episodes taped from USA weren't in the best quality. Inexplicably, the lease only covered the first ten weeks, but that expanded (and the fandom rejoiced again) on April 1, 2013 with another 57 new-to-GSN episodes from 1983-84, skipping only #051 and #066, although the latter isn't their doing - the episode (slated to air December 21, 1983) seems to have been thrown out due to unknown technical problems that were not the fault of the players and replaced (using the same players) with #067.
    • On September 29, 2014, GSN started showing the remaining 1985-early 1986 episodes, starting with #561 (November 18, 1985; Day 21 of 25 of the third and final Home Player Sweepstakes). While they skipped a grand total of six episodes (all 1986), they continued through #696 (May 28, 1986) on April 8, 2015 before wrapping back around to #561 the next day.
    • In 2005, VH-1 showed master-quality clips of the June 16, 1986 episode in a segment on I Love the 80's 3D for 1983.
    • Luckily, this is averted now, as Buzzr, an over-the-air network dedicated to classic game shows, currently has reruns of this show on their lineup. Since it's OTA, however, whether you get the channel or not depends on your TV market. Still, what makes it particularly good is that since it's not a cable network, it's not particularly difficult to save episodes into your own collection if you have this channel.
    • On August 24, 2015, Buzzr showed episode #051 (November 30, 1983), which GSN skipped.
    • On November 30, 2017, Buzzr showed #182 from May 31, 1984, which was never rerun before.
    • Episodes #147-#148 (April 12-13, 1984) and #185 (June 5, 1984) were strangely skipped by Buzzr, but luckily, they've aired on GSN before.
  • Missing Episode:
    • The Larson episodes were kept out of syndication for many years as an Old Shame, and it took the first Home Player Sweepstakes episodes with it because his mammoth run was the last day of the contest.
    • Among the episodes GSN aired was the actual first taping from Back-to-School Week (#500; August 1985) that wasn't seen during the show's original run nor the repeats on USA. The episode itself is notable for being one of the few times a contestant played against the house. The Back-To-School episodes were taped in between the tapings of the 8/21 and 8/22 episodes, and the unaired one made its GSN debut on September 4, 2004.
    • #066 counts yet doesn't (see above for reason), hence GSN skipping it and #051.
  • No Budget: A likely reason for the many slide changes during the show's final year, particularly those of mid-June 1986, which proceeded to break Pick-A-Corner to the point of being ousted entirely on July 25, 1986.
    • $2000 and $2500 spaces gave way to more $1000 and $500 spaces. With an excess of $500 and $750 spaces with and without extra spins, the Round 2 board bore a strong resemblance to Round 1.
    • Pick-A-Corner didn't suffer so much from the budget, but rather the ill-considered rearrangement of dollar values in the other three corners. It's amazing how many times PAC got hit and players witnessed the head-slappingly no-brainer choices between three cash values. Move One Space also suffered, at one point giving a choice of $1500 or $500. Perhaps the producers were just experimenting with the template since the R2 board of 1985 went a long life without any radical changes, and was actually showing its age as many slides started fading from the hours under the heat of being projected by lamps (compare the Across the Board slide to the other directional spaces). If anything, the R1 template could've used an overhaul. PAC worked best when the choices were basically some combination of moderate cash, lesser cash + One Spin, and a moderate prize. PAC was supposed to allow you to choose from the best of the board, not boring things like $1400-$500-$1400.
      • PAC also suffered from limited randomization. When $2000 or Lose-A-Whammy was in [16], a Whammy was in [1], and [10] consisted of three was perfect. By July 1986, it almost always seemed to result in a bunch of anticlimactic choices.
  • Old Shame: Michael Larson's run was considered this for many years as the show refused to let his episodes air. Bill Carruthers overruled the contestant coordinator's decision not to let him on and later said he would regret it for the rest of his life.
  • Out of Order: The 1985 Collegenote  and Back-To-Schoolnote  Weeks were respectively taped in between the tapings of the April 26 & 29 and August 21 & 22 episodes, despite carrying the respective sequential episode code numbers of #395-#399 and #500-#505.
  • Screwed by the Lawyers: American Express filed a lawsuit against the show for using their likeness in one of the Whammy animations. Said animation was retired and edited out of future broadcasts. note 
  • Screwed by the Network: CBS moved it from 10:30 AM to 4:00 PM on January 6, 1986 so they could debut a revival of Card Sharks, and take the place of Body Language. Tomarken stated that by the Fall of 1985, the contract for The Price is Right, which aired immediately after Press, was up for renewal, but the network was unable to pay Mark Goodson Productions the kind of money they wanted to continue Price on CBS. Goodson came up with the solution of taking over the 10:30 AM timeslot of Press. Although the change was promoted in-show during the week of December 30, 1985, certain comments from here onward appear to indicate the show's staff knew their days were numbered - on more than a few episodes following the timeslot change, Peter urges viewers that if they like Press, tell a friend. In another episode, coincidentally the day the Round 2 values plummeted...
    (June 17, 1986: the N of a "SPINS" placard falls off after that player buzzes in; after Peter picks up the fallen N and returns to his spot...)
    Peter: Have we been renewed? [beat] This would never happen to Bob Barker.
  • Short-Lived Big Impact: The show only lasted for three years, not a particularly impressive run for a Game Show. But it's long been a cultural icon of The '80s, and a near-constant fixture on the rerun circuit (first on USA Network, then on GSN), so even people who weren't around to see it in first-run are still familiar with the show in general.
  • Vindicated by Reruns: The aforementioned reruns on USA and GSN are probably what helped the show stay in the limelight a lot longer than other shows of its ilk.
  • What Could Have Been:
    • CBS had a choice between Press and a Nipsey Russell-hosted pilot for Mark Goodson Productions called Star Words, when the network reviewed the pilots for both shows in mid-1983, as a replacement for Child's Play. What if the network had picked up Star Words instead of Press...
    • As early as January 1985, series creator Bill Carruthers planned a nighttime version of the show for syndication to be distributed by Golden West Television. As a result, Tomarken who was supposed to become Entertainment This Week cohost with Leeza Gibbons (replacing Robb Weller) had to put those plans on hold. The syndie Press didn't fly, so Weller kept his job (and would later attempt to enter the game show world- hosting the 1986 pilot of Blackout {being replaced by Bob Goen when the series landed two years later}, the 1989-90 season of Win, Lose or Draw, and unsold revival attempts of Split Second and All-Star Blitz).
    • In early 1986, as the show's network fate was becoming clear, Carruthers tried the route again albeit this time, the show would be moving directly from CBS into daily syndication with 130 new episodes for the 1986-87 season, now distributed by Republic Pictures. Still didn't work. In early 1987, Republic Pictures syndicated a 130-episode rerun package (February 25-August 23, 1985) to a handful of stations. These became the first episodes to air on USA Network from September 14, 1987 to March 11, 1988.
    • Before Press was even cancelled, Michael Larson wound up losing his entire winnings due to a Ponzi scheme and a robbery. He called the producers to see if they would be interested in inviting him back for a tournament of champions but the show declined.
    • Peter Tomarken hosted the pilot for the GSN revival. Despite being 16 years removed from the show, it looked as though he never left. What if he was chosen over Todd Newton...
  • You Look Familiar: On occasion, they would invite back contestants, because of problems with a question and/or some other kind of technicality (usually with the Big Board).