YMMV / Press Your Luck

  • Adaptation Displacement: Press Your Luck was a revival of the 1977 ABC game Second Chance, also by Bill Carruthers. It doesn't help that only three episodes of Second Chance still exist on video, and a fourth on audiotape.
  • Critical Research Failure: The June 14, 1985, episode had a question regarding Looney Tunes and who said "Sufferin' Succotash!" Although all three contestants answered with Sylvester (who is commonly associated with it), Peter Tomarken revealed that the answer was in fact Daffy Duck (who also uses the phrase, but very infrequently). This mistake prompted Mel Blanc (who voiced both) to call the show and explain the mistake. In his Sylvester voice. Here's the episode. After the call, Peter stated that the three contestants would be invited back.
  • Crowning Music of Awesome:
  • Ear Worm: The Whammies based on popular music acts of the era tended to feature these.
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment: One of the Whammy animations had the Whammy dive-bombing into the player's money with a biplane. Funny at the time; decidedly less so after Peter Tomarken, who was also a pilot, was killed along with his wife in a private plane crash in 2006.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: Everything that happened to Michael Larson after his shows aired. Part of his winnings after taxes were lost in a Ponzi scheme and the rest were stolen in a home invasion. At the time of his death from throat cancer in 1999, he had become involved with a foreign lottery scam and was on the run from the IRS, the SEC and the FBI.
  • Iconic Character, Forgotten Title: People tended to remember it as "the show with the Whammy" rather than by its proper title, so much so that the GSN revival was called Whammy! The All-New Press Your Luck.
  • Just Here for Godzilla: The Whammy animations had their own charm. You just never know which one would come up when one was hit.
  • Life Imitates Art: One Whammy animation introduced in March 1984 had a politician Whammy barking "If elected, I will raise your taxes!" before getting a pie to the face. A few months later at the Democratic Convention, Reagan's opponent Walter Mondale admitted he will raise taxes if elected as president, citing that Reagan would do so as well and not be honest about it. Mondale was beaten soundly on Election Day.
  • Magnificent Bastard: Michael Larson, full stop. He figured out that the Big Board had light patterns, memorized them, took the show to the cleaners for over $100,000 in cash and prizes, and left nearly everyone else wondering how he'd done it.
  • Narm Charm: The Whammies.
  • Negated Moment of Awesome: The April 3, 1984 episode saw Karen Martin, one of the more memorable contestants on the show, call for a "pool table for Dan" and actually hit it, which Peter noted was a first. Sadly, she hit a Whammy later in the round, losing the table.
  • Never Live It Down: Michael Larson is best remembered for "cheating" during his miracle run, and many media sites and YouTube videos place him on "Top Game Show Cheaters" lists. In actuality, he was playing by the rules; he just paid very close attention to the light patterns the show used and took advantage of them not being as random as the show claimed.
  • Overshadowed by Controversy: If there's one main thing anyone will know about the show besides the Whammies, it's Michael Larson's infamous Curb Stomping of the show's setup and the resulting legal battle that ensued.
  • Padding: In one episode, the contestants acquired only five spins overall: three from the questions and two from landing on "+ One Spin" squares. As a result, Peter spent the rest of the round explaining the special squares on the board. To prevent this from happening again, the rules were changed so that if contestants were struggling in a Question Round, A) Peter would be directed to use an easier stack of questions or B) the segment would simply be reshot with said easier stack.
  • The Problem with Licensed Games: Oy.
    • The Wii version drew massive input from the fans (as requested by a Ludia representative) and could easily draw reference from a fan website dedicated to the show's myriad board layouts...and Ludia still managed to screw the game up. Here's a fan review.
      1. Having the Big Board cycle between three static layouts one with two Whammies, one with seven Whammies, and one with no Whammies (these are 4-5-0 in Round 2)...but as this trailer shows, it could've been a lot worse.
      2. Ending the game immediately if you Whammy-Out while playing against the computer.
      3. Having AI opponents that lacked the "I", rarely getting more than two spins per round and posing very little challenge. Upon their turn, they usually pass their spins immediately. (The PC version subverts this; as you progress the contestants get smarter, with one in particular that appears every few games who gets the right answer every time they buzz in.)
      4. Failing to support the Mii avatars. The in-game "Ludians" not only look dumb but have apparently never seen the show before (much like this game's developers), mashing the buzzer several times to ring in on a question or stop the board.
      5. Using no prizes except generic trips worth $3,000 in Round 1 and $4,000 in Round 2, which considerably breaks Move One Space and Pick-A-Corner by removing half their purpose. For example, the classic Round 1 choice of "$100/$200/$300 + One Spin vs. [nice prize of unknown value]" is now "$100/$200/$300 + One Spin vs. Generic Trip Arbitrarily Worth $3,000".
      6. Having Big Bucks always redirect to said generic trip in Round 1 instead of the big-money square ($1,000/$1,250/$1,500). This playthrough shows the absurdity of this at 4:21 and 4:49, as the player hits Advance Two Spaces in Square 10 (which wasn't there in the actual show) which leads to Big Bucks...
      Host: Big Bucks! You win—You won a trip! A value of...$3,000!
    • Adding insult to injury was the Updated Re-release for the PlayStation 3 containing the actual theme, a looping board sound, and actual prizes, not to mention a more faithful board layout.
    • The DS version, though it also contained the looping board sound, managed to be even worse than the Wii game. There are only a few Whammy animations (none of which you can skip), the Big Board doesn't even have its usual space structure, and your reward for clearing all the "episodes" is a credit roll you can already access from the Options menu!
  • Special Effects Failure:
    • Slides occasionally went dark, dim, got stuck, or otherwise glitched out, especially during the early episodes. On August 23, 1985, a slide actually blew up, meaning that they had to stop taping and finish up that episode the next day.
    • Originally, the contestant buzzers were supported by spring coils that would break if slammed too hard...which happened on occasion, resulting in some editing. On December 21, 1983, they changed the sticks that supported the buzzers. That didn't work, either, so the buzzers were completely redesigned on the February 14, 1984 episode to their more recognizable appearance.
      Peter (to Troy Garrison in the January 4, 1984 episode during Round 2, after Troy broke his buzzer, and putting it back together): DON'T BREAK ANYTHING!
  • Suspiciously Similar Song:
    • The main theme was similar to Keith Mansfield's Flash, which was used on the 1983 pilot.
    • The 2009 game used the pilot theme as, according to Ludia, Fremantle didn't have the master copy of the series' theme and forbade them from using the various full-length clean copies circulating on the Internet. To add further insult, the board sound used is the original one and plays for one second. The later PS3 version uses the series theme and a looping board sound.
    • The 2007 DVD game uses a rather bizarre rendition of the actual theme music.
    • And in the other direction, the music for Mole Patrol in Super Scope 6 resembles the board sound of PYL.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks: By early August 1985, the Big Board had settled into a respectable configuration for both rounds. During the final season, however, the Round 2 layout had various slides needlessly moved around while nearly the entire board was in flux, with values going up and down so often that the ultimate victim ended up being Pick-A-Corner the day the slides went neon was when the once-"fixed" directional square began breaking, as the values in the three other corners never remained static for very long and consistently conflicted with each other (including three layouts where players chose between identical values). Instead of correcting the problem, Pick-A-Corner was simply replaced on July 25, 1986 with a $1,000 + One Spin slide. note 
  • Ugly Cute: The Whammy.
  • Vindicated by Reruns: Many game show fans later caught wind of the series when it aired on USA and later GSN.
  • What an Idiot!:
    • May 16, 1985: Linda, behind by over $7,000, thought a trip to Tokyo would give her the win rather than an additional spin. Her opponent Patrick, who won because the trip was just $2,900, looked and acted a whole lot like he was being played by Dan Aykroyd in a Status Quo Game Show.
    • June 2, 1986: One guy took $500 + One Spin in hope of winning the game himself, rather than take $2,500 and end the game in a non-zero tie. Didn't work.
    • 2009: The Ludia game's AI opponents who don't know what 6×4 equals, or how many months are in a year.