‘Press Your Luck’
pressed forth several times before
Q: I like the new version of “Press Your Luck.” When was the original one on? – Pete McCoy, via e-mail
A: It actually had several earlier incarnations. The first was a daytime version that ran from 1983 to 1986 on CBS, with Peter Tomarken as host – and relatively low-tech set, compared to the hugely flashy one Elizabeth Banks presides over in the new ABC primetime edition. However, there still were “Whammies” that players had to avoid to keep their winnings ... which one contestant famously did by using his VCR to memorize the show’s board patterns and win big, though CBS ultimately determined that it wasn’t cheating. (The system the board used was then changed.)
The first revival came almost 20 years later with the syndicated “Whammy! The All-New Press Your Luck,” which had Todd Newton as host and “Saturday Night Live” alum Gary Kroeger as the announcer. Then in 2006, “Press Your Luck” had a brief comeback (with Ricki Lake hosting) as part of CBS’ “Gameshow Marathon,” which combined several classic television games. The current incarnation marks the first time the show has been back since then.
Q: Someone told me Kim Basinger once had a TV series. Is that true? – Don Mitchell, Grafton, Ohio
A: She actually had two, in the late 1970s. The first was a police-detective show called “Dog and Cat,” and the second was a version of the classic novel and movie “From Here to Eternity,” in which Basinger took the Lorene role that had earned Donna Reed an Oscar for the 1953 film. Basinger also stayed busy with other television work before her movie career took off. She was a guest star on such shows as “Charlie’s Angels,” “The Six Million Dollar Man” and “Vega$,” and she made TV-movies including “Katie: Portrait of a Centerfold” (she had the title role), “The Ghost of Flight 401” and “Killjoy.” Then, after a couple of relatively small films, she made her first big splash on the big screen as Sean Connery’s love interest in his final turn as James Bond, “Never Say Never Again.”