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the big board

    The big board was what made Press Your Luck so popular, however it went through so many changes over the years from the placement of cash or prize spaces to the replacement of the spaces themselves.  The big board consisted of 18 squares arranged in a square with the show's logo in the middle.  Behind the board were 18 slide projectors each facing a single square.  In these projectors, there were three slides.  Each slide was a different space on the board (cash, prizes, whammies, etc.).  The slides were projected onto a screen, which I believe measured 27" diagonally.  The projectors were set to change to a different slide all at the same time.  The slide changes were always random.  A neat thing about the board was that when the slides changed, it gave the board a morphing effect.  Each square was outlined with a set of lights.  When a player was pressing his/her luck, the lights bounced around to a different square and stopping when the contestant wanted.  It was supposed to seem as if the lights were bouncing around at random.  That was until Michael Larsen came on the show.

(The first board form the pilot episode.)

   The board used for the pilot episode was interesting because each projector contained 4 slides, instead of three.  This meant there could be two whammies to one space.  It also held the show's original stenciled logo.  Since the real logo wasn't finished yet, the producers quickly designed a temporary.  The board and the logo would be changed for the premiere.

(The board with the show's REAL logo.)


    At the beginning of the money round, Peter would usually say how much money was on the board.  Round 1:  $13,000 at the beginning of the run and $50,000 by late 1985.
        Round 2:  $50,000 in the beginning, $80,000 around March 1984, and $100,000 by early 1985.

    Also some specific spots only lasted for a short time.
        $100 in round 1:  Was taken off after only a few months.
           $150 in round 1 Was taken off after only as few months.
            $1000 in round 2:  Was taken off around the third month and was brought back in Summer 1986.
        $1200 in round 2:  Was taken off after at the same time as $1000, but never brought back.



    It made contestants a lot happier when they got to go on a fabulous trip along with their winnings.  But sometimes, I think that some players really didn't want some of those prizes.  One example would be the flokati rug.  It is by far the most unusual prize ever offered in PYL history.  Peter would always make jokes about it when it was hit.  It was even added to the special whammy cartoon that played at the end of some episodes.  Anyway, here are some of my favorite prizes that have been offered and won over the years.

(Everyone wants to win        (I wouldn't mind going there.)       (We're holding a special
               this.)                                                                                       on these today.)

(Here it is, the one and        (I'm still trying to figure this     (The infamous Lake Powell.)
              only.)                                     one out.)


Special Spaces

    The big board featured some very interesting spaces that were usually good.  Here are some examples.

Pick a Corner - Introduced in Feb. 1984 and always located in the upper right corner.  When hit, players had the option to choose between the remaining three corner spaces ($1400, $1500+ a spin, prize).  An interesting piece of info was that for the first year that Pick a Corner was in existence, some players had the option to choose a whammy.  Although no one ever did, I would like to know what Peter would say if someone did:-)

Double Your $$ (+ one spin) - Introduced in March 1984, it did what it says.  At first, it was offered without a spin, but about a month after it premiered it was offered with a spin.  The version without a spin still saw some appearances before leaving for good in late 1985.  The version with a spin would in fact last until the final show.

$2000 or Lose-1-Whammy - Introduced at the start of PYL's second year in Sept 1984, it proved to be a life-saver for many contestants.  This allowed contestants to choose $2000 or they could drop one of their earned whammies.  Most of the time, a whammy was lost if a player had three whammies.  It was located either in the bottom left corner or in the space above it.

Add-a-One - Introduced in Sept 1985 after the addition of the new board colors.  When hit, a 1 was added to the front of a players score ($750 would become $1750).  Players could add $10, $1000, or even $10,000 to their score when it was hit.  While it was exciting to see a player hit it for $10,000, it was funny to see someone hit Add-a-One for a measly $10.

Board Changes

    Around the Summer of 1985, the spaces on the board began to look very odd.  Some blank spaces would show up and the colors were really weird at times.  Finally, the producers decided to totally redo the board.  The new board was focused on having more neon colors.  In my own opinion, I think the new board looked really cool.

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