Press Your Luck

Press Your Luck is an American television game show created by Bill Carruthers and Jan McCormack. It premiered on CBS daytime on September 19, 1983, and ended on September 26, 1986. The format is a retooling of an earlier Carruthers production, Second Chance, hosted by Jim Peck and which aired on ABC in 1977.

The game featured contestants collecting spins by answering trivia questions, and then later using the spins on an 18-space gameboard to win cash and prizes. The contestant who amassed the highest total in cash and prizes kept their winnings for the day and became the returning champion. Peter Tomarken was the show’s original host, and Rod Roddy was the primary announcer. John Harlan and Charlie O’Donnell filled in as substitute announcers for Roddy on different occasions.

The show is known for the “Whammy”, a red cartoon creature with a high-pitched, raspy voice. Landing on any Whammy space caused the contestant to go bankrupt and start over from $0, accompanied by an animation that showed the Whammy taking the loot, but frequently being blown up or otherwise humiliated in the process. The Whammies were created and animated by Savage Steve Holland and Bill Kopp, and voiced by Bill Carruthers.

A new weekly prime time version hosted by Elizabeth Banks and announced by Neil Ross (who also voices the “Whammy”) began airing on ABC on June 12, 2019, and continued as a limited summer series. The series was renewed for a second season which premiered on May 31, 2020. The series was renewed for a third season, which premiered on May 26, 2021.

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