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When Mr. Ludden Came to Town

December 1, 2014

Sorry it’s been a while, crazy few weeks. Anyway, by now many of you know there’s a new multi-state lottery game called MONOPOLY MILLIONAIRE’S CLUB, in which players will get a chance to appear on the game show, premiering in February.

That news jogged my memory about local lottery game shows, and my mind drifted back to the first one I remembered from the mid 1970’s, which aired on WCVB:  THE BIG MONEY SHOW.  BIG MONEY, as it was commonly known around here featured several games of chance, with a top prize of one million dollars on the line. I wanted to see what there was online about this gem. As good as search engines are, my search was a bust.

Oh, there were things I remembered, like the first theme having lyrics, and one of the games had models decked out in gowns embroidered with one letter in the word MONEY, who were called at random to move a certain number of steps down a staircase, with the bottom step having an increasing jackpot that would be shared by onstage players seated in the corresponding letter section.  But, that was it. It’s tough to get old.

I needed to know I didn’t dream this, and luckily, someone on Facebook from my area also remembered BIG MONEY, and added a couple of items I didn’t know. The first was that when the show began, they taped at Boston’s Wilbur theater, then moved to the WCVB studios. What blew my mind was that the legendary Allen Ludden was the original host. That’s right, Mr. PASSWORD would regularly fly out here from Hollywood to do BIG MONEY. How cool was that? Unfortunately, Allen couldn’t stay with the show….the commute proved to be too much, and Allen would spend the rest of his career on the West Coast. A local personality from the TV station took over for the rest of the run.

The moral of the story is if there’s something you remember, and Bing and Google won’t help, don’t assume you’re dreaming, or you’ve lost it. Odds are someone on the social networks will remember, too, and what a great conversation you’ll have!

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