|The board from the pilot, with the original stenciled logo.||The board we know (knew) and loved...|
The magnificent Press Your Luck board consisted of eighteen squares, each filled with cash, prizes, directional move squares...and of course, the Whammy. Each square contained three slide projectors that flashed intermittently, so the board was always changing. Meanwhile, the square light around the squares would flash randomly (well, not really randomly, as Michael Larsen figured out), and when the contestant yelled STOP!, the squares stopped moving and the light would flash around only one square, indicating what the contestant had won.
It would be safe to say that the board needed time to be "broken in". In early episodes, it was quite common to see the squares flash horribly out of sync, creating an unpleasant jumbled effect for the viewer. More disrupting was the tendency for some slides (or an entire square of slides) go completely dark, and should the contestant stop the light around that square...it was time to edit.
Besides the Whammy, which gets its own page of coverage here, three types of squares could be hit on the Press Your Luck board: Cash, Prizes, and Directional Squares.
|$750 and a Spin was the highest amount of money ever offered with a spin in round one.||$2000 or Lose-1-Whammy was a godsend for contestants in danger of getting knocked out of the game.|
One of the main reasons to be a contestant on Press Your Luck? Easy money. After all, it's not too difficult to yell STOP! That's basically all you had to do to rack up cash in this game.
In round one, the dollar amounts on the board originally ranged from $100-$1250. The "Big Bucks" square, which contained the three highest values on the board in one square, had values of $750, $1000, and $1250. About a month after the show premiered, the range of values on the board increased to $200-$1500, with the $750 in the Big Bucks square replaced by $1500. Few spaces on the board offered money and an additional spin; this was to keep the round moving quickly so to save time for the more exciting (and more expensive!) round two.
In round two, the stakes were certainly higher. For the entire run, the Big Bucks square offered a choice of $3000+Spin, $4000+Spin, or $5000+Spin. The lowest value ever seen in round two was a stand alone $500 prize. When the show premiered, very few spaces in round two (hardly any more than round one in fact) offered in additional spin. This meant games ended too quickly in some circumstances, leaving extra time to be filled at the end. The producers quickly corrected this problem, realizing that earning an additional spin was the only way to allow contestants who were thousands of dollars behind to catch up. Unfortunately, the producers wound up overcorrecting this problem. By 1986, there were so many extra spins on the board that games wound up running long, which meant spins had to be choppily edited down.
While the cash values in round one remained relatively static, round two was a different story. Throughout the run, different values and placements of cash were featured on the board. In addition to the addition of extra spins later in the run, round two saw a dramatic slahing in the value of its cash when the show began to falter in 1986, with the most notable example being the slashing of $2000 values to $1000.
One interesting addition to round two in 1984 was $2000 or Lose One Whammy, the only space that offered a contestant a chance to remove a Whammy.
Most cash amounts were "logical" amounts, like $500, $1250, or $2000. One notable exception was the $470 value in round one that remained on the show from pilot to last episode.
All the cash values on the board, in both round one and two, got a colorful touch up at the start of the third season in late 1985. Neon greens and dark blues were the main features of this new motif.
For more prize screen grabs, click HERE!
For a list of ALL the prizes ever offered, click HERE!
|Don't get too excited. It's worth $4,949.||Just hope you have more than $0 to start with.|
There were prizes galore to be won on Press Your Luck, both in round one and two. The value of the prizes ranged up to $2000 in round one and up to $6000 in round two. Furniture, trips, even a car could be won on the show.
When a contestant landed on a prize, the value of that prize was put in the contestant's bank and that prize was replaced by another one on the board. Prizes were normally red slides, but were occasionally blue (mostly for trips or a sailboat), black (Tahiti and Portable TV are two examples), or green (National Parks, Daytime Emmys).
The most valuable prize ever offered was a $6704 Mediterranean Cruise (the most expensive car ever offered was only $6273). The cheapest prize ever offered was the $189 Jog 'n Tramp. Jog 'n Tramp was basically two mini trampolines on which someone would exercise.
Besides Jog 'n Tramp, some prizes got notorious for the fact that no contestant would EVER want them. The perfect example of one such prize would be the Flokati Rug. The first few times someone hit this prize, Peter openly admitted he had no idea what it was. As time went by, the prize got to be somewhat of an inside joke on the show. It was even prominently mentioned in a Whammy skit!
In addition to merchandise, two other "prizes" were actually cash amounts, but were treated as prizes on the board in the sense that, once they were hit, they were replaced by another prize. Double Your $$ (later replaced by Double Your $$ and a Spin) did just that--doubled a contestant's money. This space was only featured in round two. In late 1985, a space called Add-A-One appeared in round one. When a contestant landed on this, a "1" was added in front of their score. For example, if the contestant had $1000 at the time, he would then have $11,000. Of course, if he had $0 at the time, he would be increased to $10. Unfortunately for show excitement purposes, the latter case happened far more often than the former.
One unique prize of note was Daytime Emmys. This prize appeared in early 1985 and offered the winning contestant the opportunity to fly to New York and attend the 1985 Daytime Emmy awards. It even included lunch with Peter. This prize was so special, that instead of being completely replaced once it was hit, it actually reappeared for other contestants to win. Of note is the fact that Press Your Luck was never nominated for a Daytime Emmy, in 1985 or in any other year.
|Better go with the $200 and a Spin here. That way you don't have to worry about not drinking the water.||Go Back two Spaces provided one of three ways to hit the Big Bucks square.|
Directional squares were pretty self explanatory. They either moved you to a certain location on the board, or offered you a choice of two squares. In 1984, Pick a Corner was introduced in the upper-right hand corner of the board, which allowed the contestant a choice of one of three corners of the board. For the first year of its inception, the upper-left corner could offer a contestant the choice of a Whammy, which was later moved out of the corner altogether.
Move One Space, which offered a contestant a choice of two items, usually presented an interesting dilemma for the contestant. Sometimes it offered one box with a high amount of cash and one with a lower amount of cash and a spin. Other times it offered a choice between a prize (whose value was always unknown until after it was selected) and cash. But by the end of the run, it often offered an obvious choice, such as $1500 or $500. Pick a Corner fell victim to this in 1986, when the upper left corner and bottom left corner both featured almost the same exact values.
The square contestants most often called out for was "Big Bucks," which was located directly under the square with the highest dollar amounts. Landing on this square automatically advanced the contestant to the top of the board to the square with the highest amount. That meant there were three ways to hit this highest dollar amount: Big Bucks, Go Back Two Spaces (in the upper right), and by hitting the box directly.
In 1986, the producers got "creative" and added a bizarre space called Across the Board. Its location directed the contestant to the box featuring $500+One Spin, $750+One Spin, and $1000+One Spin.
Where would you like to STOP! today?
|Classic Press Your Luck||Whammy! The All-New PYL||Game Show Central|