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  • 1980: Thom McKee's 46-day run, where he won $312,700. For more than 20 years this was the longest time that a contestant had been on a game show, until some guy named Ken Jennings blew it out of the water.
  • Fall 1980: Erik Kraepelien, who unseated Thom, went on a reign of his own. He won just over $66,000, including a $24,300 pot on one of his games (which took four episodes to complete!).
  • 1980-1981: Tom O'Connor and his challenger Pete picked the Secret Category four times in a row, with the pot being doubled three times from $4,100 to $8,200 to $16,400 to $32,800. Tom ultimately won the match and $38,100, the second highest pot in TTD history; highest was $46,900. Here's the clip.
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  • November 1983: Mark Leinwand, who previously won $127,600, winning the Tournament of Champions and an additional $50,000.
  • June 1984: Last game of the 1983-84 season - champ Kit Salisbury picks the "Auction" category, and Wink tells the players to bid on how many of the 14 United States bordering the Atlantic Ocean they think they can name. Kit, going first since he picked the category, immediately bids 14, then runs the table to tie the game, earning a standing ovation from the audience! Kit would go on to win $199,750, becoming the second-biggest winner of the Martindale version.
  • Other contestants with six-figure totals in the Martindale era: Pieter DeVries ($121,400), Brian Donovan ($148,850), Gary Meyers ($143,700), Doc Fass ($115,750), John Welsh ($116,200; incidentally, he beat Mark Leinwand to start his own reign as champion), Allan Lichtman ($104,000) and Wilbur Hicks ($159,600).
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  • The biggest winner on the Patrick Wayne version was Joel Lewin, who amassed close to $70,000 in winnings over 12 games (and came closest to retiring undefeated, under that version's 15-game limit for champions).


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