In the history of American game shows, there have been millions of dollars won. Audiences love nothing more than watching peoples’ American Dream realized right in front of their eyes – and who doesn’t like playing along as well?
Below are five of the most monumental and historical game show moments in history.
Teddy Nadler set the bar for fortunes won on game shows with his $252,000 won on The $64,000 Challenge during the 1956 – 57 season. This sum of money was a record for shows for over 20 years, until it fell in 1980 to a contestant on the show Tic-Tac-Dough.
John Carpenter made TV history when he was the first million-dollar winner on ABC’s Who Wants to be A Millionaire. He did this on November 19, 1999, only 3 months after the show debuted.
Ken Jennings won 74 consecutive games on TV’s Jeopardy! from June 2nd 2004 to November 30th 2004. During his streak, Jennings won $2,520,700. Any Jeopardy! viewer can remember seeing Ken Jennings basically on repeat for nearly an entire season of the show.
The only person to trump Ken Jennings career total in money from Jeopardy! was Brad Rutter, who topped Jennings all-time total and defeated him in the Ultimate Tournament of Champions, where Rutter won over $2,000,000. Though Jennings would regain his title as most money from game shows won, Rutter is the all-time single game record holder for his $2,115,000.
Michael Larson showed the world that even game shows can be beaten and even luck can be on your side in a game of Press Your Luck. On May 19, 1984, Larson showed his attention to detail by winning $110,237 on the game show thanks to his memorization of the patterns on the show. He watched taped episodes over and over again until the six different patterns the show used were memorized. After Larson, CBS added 16 more random patterns and Larson was banned from the show. Hows that for a Whammy!
*thanks to gscentral.net, jeopardy.com, and dadt.com/millionaire/