1. Before you made your appearance on Press Your Luck, what were you doing to keep yourself organized (like, a job and what-not)?
As of my taping, I was a 19 year old college student, working part time at private pre-school, with acting aspirations, but no clear direction in my life at all.
2. What was the tryout process like in your view? What all did you have to do?
The tryout consisted of a written exam to weed out about 3/4 of the prospects, a mock up of the game played for the general contestant coordinators to weed out the rest and then a more elaborate mock up of the game for the final say coordinators/producers. I actually still remember the last question, which allowed me to win my round in the audition.
3. When you got notified that you'd be on the show, what was your reaction?
I was walking to work (I had no car at the time) and my mother drove up in our yellow Pinto station wagon and told me they had called. I was ecstatic and jumped in the car so she could take me home so I could call them back.
4. We all know that Peter Tomarken was an awesome host for the show, and that Rod Roddy was a great announcer. Did you get to speak to any of them at anytime off-camera? If so, what was it like meeting them?
I did not really see or speak to Rod at all. Those of us who had the good fortune to play had limited access to Mr. Tomarken during and just after taping. He was friendly, genuine, energetic, charismatic and seemed like someone I would love to just hang with.Even though I was just a kid, he shook my hand, complimented me and seemed like he was actually paying attention.....if that makes sense.
5.Tell us about the crew of Press Your Luck. What were they like?
The crew that we worked with were all women and were amazing. They were like kindergarten teachers for adults. They were patient and encouraging and caring and...everything. The woman I worked with directly reminded me of Penny Marshall and she was so cool. She called me and offered me a job as a game show pilot contestant after PYL, but I opted not to do it.
6. We all know that everyone wanted to win on Press Your Luck, much like every game show contestant destined on any show wants to win. But as for your opponents that you faced, did you get to speak to any of them off-camera? If so, what were they like?
This is where my age at the time will show and is something I regret. I remember almost NOTHING about my opponents except who they were and that I wanted to beat them. I do remember not minding losing to Vern because he was cool and thinking that if I lost to the tennis instructor, who disturbingly looked like Peter North beat me I would kill myself.
7. As I had read the letter you had sent to the Shrine moderator (Pamela Parrish), you had gone three entire games. What all did you win?
I won around $21,000.00 prizes and $15,000.00 cash. I won a Mediterranean cruise, a motorcycle, a blackjack table, a VCR, a trip to London and other prizes. I bought an '85 Mustang with part of the cash.
8. How did it feel to be a winner after your first and second games?
Surreal. It was like being in a dream. I was so thankful that I didn't even mind losing the last game. I tend to be VERY competitive, but can't stomach being greedy.
9. What kind of strategies did you have in mind as you were playing the game?
Answer as many questions right as I could and go into the board with as many spins as possible. Spins=Power...period. From there take and pass spins strategically.
10. I know there was a "Mark" in 1984 who appeared after Michael Larson, getting the big bucks spot on a pattern as they were changing the pattern. Was that you?
No, my show aired in April of 1985, although we did get a severe Larson "indoctrination" before we were allowed to play.
11. When you had gotten home knowing you were a winner anyways, what were your friends and family saying?
Family were very excited and proud. My French instructor thought it was the coolest thing every. Most of my friends were jealous. A girl that I had dated a few times and had blown me off actually called me and asked me out (I couldn't make that up). I went home and watched a movie with my folks and was so mentally exhausted that I fell asleep pretty quickly and my father told me that while I was sleeping on the floor I shouted "Fifty Thousand Dollars!!" I guess dreams are always a little better than reality.
12. I know you probably did hear about the death of Peter and Rod, of course a 3-year deficit in-between the time of their deaths. When you heard of the news, how did it make you feel?
A little weird. A little old.
13. Knowing there are other fun shows out there, did you try out for anything else?
I was a winning contestant on Weakest Link in 2001. I was also a contestant on a short lived show called Now You See It with Chuck Henry in 1989. My brother and I were in the final 100 to be on the first Amazing Race but were not selected. My mother and I tried out for Parent-Child Wheel of Fortune. They didn't like me but took her to play solo (she didn't win, hah!).
14. In your words, what would you suggest to people who wish to try out for those shows that air today?
If you really WANT to....DO IT!!! Many hobbies cost money, applying to and being selected for game shows MAKES money. Don't be ashamed either....It's fun, It's competitive, It's positive. And you get to be on T.V. !
I am also under the superstition that Mark may have been on the 5th season of ABC's The Mole. I may later confirm this, so stay updated on the situation.
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