“But Michael Larson had a secret in his back pocket that the producers didn’t know about.” As Adam Sandler once said: “The price is wrong, bitch!” Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’re counting down our picks for the “Top 10 Game Show Scandals”. (Reporter) “A crushed Okoye and Mayti went on to lose what was left, “but it wasn’t until they returned to their everyday life at home in Southern California, “that they learned the Money Drop was a mistake.” For this list, we’ll be looking at those shocking moments that may have tarnished our favorite wheel spinning, puzzle-solving, and trivia questioning programs. We’ll take “Game Show Scandals” for $200, Alex! (Reporter) “We asked the major and his wife to discuss the case on this show, but they declined. “Yet, days after the documentary, they went round the talk shows to declare their innocence.” – (Announcer) “17 foot, Drew.
– (Drew) “17 foot, she’s passing it on to Terry. Terry, what do you bid for all that?” Getting a perfect bid when trying to get on stage is hard enough, but getting a perfect bid during the Showcase? You’d have to be superhuman to do such a thing, or watch a lot of daytime television, which is exactly what Terry Kniess and his wife did. – “But it’s only a 17 foot…
– “$23,743. “$23,743? Wow. “That’s a very exact bid. Good luck. Sharon, here’s your showcase.” The couple studied “The Price is Right” for months, picking up on its patterns, commonly featured items, and usual pricing. Even so, when Kniess took the stage for the Final Showcase, he was absolutely shocked when his $23,743 bid was spot on, as was host Drew Carey, and we assume every producer in the control room. (Drew) “Actual retail price: $23,743. You got it right on the nose. [Bells blaring, audience cheering] “You win both showcases. “Hasn’t happened since ’72 or ’73. Right on the nose.” In fact, the perfect bid was such a source of suspicion for the show’s producers, that Kniess’s opponent being within $500 on her own bid hardly seemed remarkable at all. “Actual retail price: $31,019. – (Kneiss) “Whoa!
– (Drew) “Difference of: $494.” (Sharon) “Whoa!” “A lot of people are upset at the game show ‘Wheel of Fortune’ this morning. “It all has to do with this contestant right there – she guessed the right words, “but she was told she lost anyway.” Who knew that pronunciation mattered so much, especially on Wheel? This was a hard lesson contestant Renee Durette learned in 2012. Following her enthusiastic cry of, “Seven Swans A-Swimmin’,” Renee, the audience and the folks at home were surprised to hear Pat Sajak say that her answer was incorrect. (Sajak) “Yeah, that’s… – [buzzer]
– (Sajak) “Not… yeah… Why? Because it swimmING, not swimmin’. While it was obvious to anyone watching what Renee was saying, droppin’ that ‘G’ cost her the round. – “Yeah, do you know what happened there?
– “No, I thought that she said that. “Well, Renee s- Renee knew what happened as well, and it was easy to do, “’cause she kind of did it in the vernacular and left off the ‘G’ in ‘Seven Swans A-Swimmin”.” And, despite the uproar on social media, the show stood by its decision. We guess we’ll be careful about dropping letters when we speak from now on. “That’s kind of how, how I speak. You know, being from Florida. “And I had asked for the ‘G’, so I knew it was there.” (Reporter) “It’s being called the saddest moment in Jeopardy! history.” Wheel of Fortune might have been harsh on Renee, but you’d think a game show would go easy on a kid, right? Well, think again, Jeopardy! fans. In 2013, Thomas Hurley III appeared on Kid’s Jeopardy!, and in the final round, answered the question correctly. …except he spelled it wrong. (Trebek) “What is the Emancipation…? “Well, because he misspelt it badly, ‘Emancip… tation’. “You put a ‘P’ in there… Proclamation… “That’s unfortunate, the judges are ruling against you, so it’s costing you how much?” This was counted as an incorrect answer, and social media went nuts over the decision. Some viewers felt that Alex Trebek had embarrassed the poor 12 year old, while others applauded the show for not giving credit to a misspelled answer. At least Thomas was able to bring some money home for his second place win. “What a finish. We’ll say goodbye from us tomorrow. So long, everybody.” Word of advice: If you’re on the run from the law, keep a low profile. DO NOT go on a game show. – (Host) “Hi, Patrick!
– “Hi! – (Host) “Uh… what happened there, did you…?
– “Oh, I had a little bit of an accident a couple weeks ago, and uh… “But I’m feeling fine, it’s… you know… the least of my worries right now.” In the 80’s, Kerry Ketchum was wanted for insurance fraud, credit card fraud, and forgery. Surely, all he needed to do to elude the authorities was use a different name, right? “Alright, good luck to you Patrick, you picked a great time to arrive. “Here we go, $100 puzzle. Phillis and Marty, give him the clues and lets do it, shall we?” Taking on the alias ‘Patrick Quinn’, he went on the show in 1988 and proceeded to win big. …and was then promptly arrested when he went to pick up his money, because a viewer at home recognized him and called the police. “Okay, I’m calling the police. “That is the stupidest thing you could do right now! – “Yeah, he’s right. Cops can’t do anything until a crime has been reported.
– “Alright…” Oh well, maybe used his winnings to pay back his debts? No? He couldn’t keep his money because he won under false pretenses? Ouch. “Hysterical. – “Hilarious?
– “All we’re lookin’ for is ‘Fun’, gang. Just a little fun. “Put it on the board, nobody guesses.” [Host reads answers] – (Mayti) “I’m good at computers… I’m good at computers.
– (Okoye) “Okay. Macintosh. – (Mayti) “Okay, okay. I have one of those…
– (Okoye) “Okay. – (Mayti) “Alright, yeah! I do that every day!” When couples appear on game shows, networks are hoping for some relationship hijinks. And that’s exactly what this show got, in the worst way possible. Gabe Okoye and Brittany Mayti were well on their way to $1,000,000, until the ‘which came first’ question came up. [Host reads question] “Talk it over. – “Wow, this is hard.
– “This is really hard… “Because, Post-It notes is like, I’m thinking Post-It notes or Walkman, and I don’t think Computer.” After bickering, Okoye went with the Post-It, and the couple watched as $800,000 fell through a trapdoor, because they got the… right answer? Though the show’s research team had checked with 3M, Post-It’s original parent company, a slight technicality meant their information was just plain wrong. Cue the social media outrage, the show offering to bring the couple back, and then cancellation. “Ohhhhhh! [laughing] – “I won it!!
– [Laughing] “Hey ‘gratulations, my model will just give you a car!” Models in “The Price is Right” go hand in hand… sometimes. It’s true that the beautiful ladies, and men from time to time, have been a show staple for decades. But, not every model’s well-crafted smile has been genuine. There are several stories of models suing the series for various reasons. Sexual harassment, weight discrimination, being fired for getting pregnant, just to name a few. Most of these cases were settled, dropped, or appealed, but we can’t shake the feeling that there’s some tension behind the scenes, between that first “come on down” and the Final Showcase. “Why did you decide it was so important to do this? “Because if I hadn’t gotten pregnant, I wouldn’t have lost my job. “That’s what this boils down to, and that’s not right.” “Tonight here on ‘Twenty One’, Herbert Stempel, our 29-year-old GI College student, can win $111,500.” We live in a time where a show is accused of being fixed every other second. However, back in the 1950’s, the news was so shocking, that no one believed it when former contestant Herbert Stempel told all after his loss to Charles Van Doren. “I’ll stop. (Host) “Then you win $20,000! Congratulations, Mr. Van Doren!” The fallout revealed that everything about the show, even Stempel’s image and backstory, had been set up and tinkered with by the producers. “Dan Enright came to see me in my kitchen, and he said, uh, “‘How’d you like to make $25,000?’ and I said, ‘Who wouldn’t?'” Meanwhile, the show was feeding answers to the contestants, and pre-deciding the show’s outcome. When it was all said and done, Congress had to step in and amend the Communications Act to declare fixing quiz shows illegal. (Man 1) “Do you see, uh… a need for government regulation on this area? (Man 2) “Yeah, it’s not like the quiz shows are a public utility, sir. It’s entertainment. (Chris Tarrant) “15 questions, 3 lifelines. If he gives me all 15 correct answers, he wins £1,000,000. “Let’s play ‘Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?’.” So, fixing shows is illegal, but no one said anything about coughing, right? In 2001, Charles Ingram implemented a brilliant idea: What if he read the answers out loud and had his wife and friend cough when he said the right one? “Megatron, mega mega mega. Mega… Yeah… I don’t think it’s megatron. (Ingram) “I’m sure it’s Googol. [man coughing] (Documentary narrator) “And again, Whittock delivers. “Chris, I’m gonna play.” Unlike shows like “The Price is Right”, audience participation, unless you use that lifeline, isn’t a part of this game. (Tarrant) “You just won £1,000,000!!” Ingram had to give back the million he won, pay a fine of £15,000, and consider giving his loved ones cough drops if he ever appeared on a game show again. (Man) “I have to tell you that these suspicions have been referred to the police. (Ingram) “Right. (Man) “And thus, we for – not for the moment will be airing the program or indeed, authorizing payment of the cheque.” Worse still, as a result of the scam, Ingram was dismissed from his job as a major in the British Army. “Did you notice somebody coughing? “No, I didn’t- I didn’t notice any coughing at all. “I did NOT hear any coughing. I was totally unaware of any coughing on the night.” (Ron Schwab) “Kind of like a giant ship, almost like the Titanic. And in its day, it was the technical marvel of its time. “Unfortunately, ‘Press Your Luck’ as the Titanic met Michael Larson, the iceberg.” After recording episodes and studying the pattern of the board, Mike Larson appeared on “Press Your Luck” in 1984, and completely annihilated the competition by taking home over $100,000. [ecstatic cheering] (Host) “We’ll be back! We’ll be back sometime.” Since it technically wasn’t cheating, Larson was free to keep his winnings. Unfortunately, not everyone knows what to do with that much money. His missteps included making a sizable withdrawal to take part in a radio game show, having $50,000 stolen from his home, and later taking part in a scheme involving a foreign lottery. “Michael got himself into a lot of different problems with the law, “in respect of like, uh… getting involved with a telephone sort of scam where they were selling uh… part of a nationwide lottery.” His participation in that scheme put him on the run from authorities, until his untimely death in 1999. The whammies of life hit Larson hard. (Narrator) “It was throat cancer. “The ultimate whammy came for Michael Larson on February 16th, 1999.” Before we go into the final round, let’s take a break for these Honorable Mentions. “And before I ask you to make a wager, we have to take some money away from you, Reid. “I’m informed that you very clearly said ‘WimbleTON’, not ‘WimbleDON’ a few moments ago, “so you’re losing 800 bucks, which means you now have $200,” but you can still risk up to $1,000. “Between takes, you might find him skydiving or motorcycling, please welcome Rodney Alcala. Rod, welcome.” Rodney Alcala appeared as bachelor No. 1 on ‘The Dating Game’ in 1978, and managed to charm his way through the show to win the date. “Bachelor number 1… ‘You’re a dirty, old man!’ Take it! “Ooh, come on, over here… [seductive growling]” Cheryl Bradshaw didn’t end up going through with it, and she probably thanks all the higher powers she can for her decision. Turns out Alcala had a terrifying criminal history, involving multiple murders, kidnapping, and rape, with his victims ranging from adult women to young girls. (Reporter) “Rodney Alcala was arrested on July 24th for the kidnap and murder of Robin Samsoe, “but the struggle to prove it had only just begun.” If we learn nothing else from this list, it’s the importance of doing extensive background checks on your contestants. They could be cheaters. They could be frauds. They could be Rodney Alcala. (Interviewer) “The name ‘Rodney Alcala’. What does that name mean to you today? “It means, um… evil. “It means horror. “Means pain. “And a lot of anger.” Do you agree with our list? “I… I think I needed to clear my throat.” Which game show moment do you think is the most scandalous? For more Top 10’s published every day, be sure to come on down and subscribe to WatchMojo.com. “Let’s play Gold Case! “That one. [clunk] “Congratulations! You struck gold on Gold Case!”