Monday, March 13, 2006

"Press Your Luck" Host Dead

Peter Tomarken -- host of the hit 1980s game show "Press Your Luck" -- and his wife have died in a plane crash. The Lookout News has details:

Game show host Peter Tomarken, 63, and his wife Kathleen Abigail Tomarken, 41, both of Los Angeles, were two of possibly three people killed when a single engine plane he owned plunged into Santa Monica Bay Monday morning, according to the Los Angeles County Coroner's Office.


Tomarken was best known for his work on the 1980's game show "Press Your Luck" -- in which contestant's take their chances in an electronic game board for cash and prizes, all the while avoiding "whammies," red cartoon figures which swipe would-be winners totals leaving them with zero.

The contestants would hover intently over a big red button, yelling "no whammies," and "Big Money" to ward off the game's infamous red cartoon characters and beckon a fortune of luxury items, trips and, of coarse, money.

Too many Whammies, and the contestant was booted.

The show is now regarded as a cult classic, and Tomarken, who also hosted other shows such as Hit Man and Wipeout, as a television cult figure.

"Press Your Luck" ran four years on CBS, back when the big three networks all ran game shows as part of their morning programming. We found the contestants kind of silly yelling "No Whammies" over and over. But everyone seemed to have fun.

The saddest part of this story is that Tomarken and his wife were on a volunteer mission to transport a patient for medical care. Sounds like a nice couple.