Amazing Game Show Cheaters

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– Could you spot a cheater on a game show? – Let’s talk about that. ♪ (theme music) ♪ – Good Mythical Morning. – As a kid, I was absolutely… – …obsessed with game shows. – Yes. The great thing about them is that you get to put yourself in the place of the contestant and say, “Ooh!

Would I get these right? Would I get these wrong? Would I win the big bucks? What would I be willing to do to go all the way… – …to the cash top?”

– “To the cash top” is what they call it. – “To the cash crop.” – That’s the official name. Well, lots of people have been willing to go to great lengths to get to the cash… – …top, and maybe even too far. – Mm! – That’s what we’re talking about today!

– Yes, I wanna take you to 2001. – Take me there. – The British version of “Who Wants to… …Be a Millionaire?” in particular Charles Ingram. He was a former major in the British Army, and then he was a contestant in the hot seat on Millionaire.

Now, he answered the first seven questions right… – Hm, good. – …amassing £4,000, but he already… …used two lifelines in the process to get to this point. – Ooh, yeah.

Not good. – So, you know, not quite halfway there. Not lookin’ good. But he was rescued by the end of that episode.

‘Cause they said, “Okay, come back tomorrow, audience, and see… – Right. Cliffhanger. – …how Charles the Major does.” – So he had some time to regroup.

– Yeah. And he did some strategizing, and he came back the next day with a new plan to go all the way to the top. Hopefully! So this is what I wanna do. I wanna play a montage of his final answers for you and you and see if… – …you can identify his strategy, okay? – Mmkay.

I would’ve thought that it would be Aristotle Onassis. – (someone coughs) – Yeah. I’m gonna go for… – …Aristotle Onassis. A1 or Craig David. – (coughs) – No, I’ll go Craig David.

– (Rhett) Okay. – (Link laughing) – If I had to guess… – Has something to do with that woman. – …take Cricket.

– (someone coughs) – I’m going to play Googol. – Yeah. Final answer.

– (announcer) Final answer? (Link) This is it, here. This is the last one. – (announcer) You just won 1,000,000!

– (crowd cheering) – (Link) Yes! What a surprise! – (announcer) 1,000,000! – (Link) Listen to what the host says.

– (announcer) You are the most… …amazing contestant we have ever, ever had! – Yeah, you sure are. – “You are the most amazing contestant… – …we have ever, ever had!” – You and that woman you brought… – …with you. (coughing) – (laughing) So, he was amazing… …because he was cheating.

Can you guess how, Rhett? – The coughing. That’s my guess. – This episode never aired. – Mm. – But this footage was used in… …a documentary, which I highly recommend, look it up.

It’s called “Major Fraud,” which documents this whole thing, and that’s why the mix was altered for the coughs to be so loud. But yes, he came back on day two and orchestrated a whole plan, where that woman who was coughing and covering her face was… – …his wife. And then he also got the… – Oh!. …help of a contestant who was waiting in the wings named Tecwen.

– (Rhett exhales) – And the two of them would cough… whenever he would say the answer they thought was correct. – That’s effective. And he would read all of the answers and… – …then wait for the cough.

– I heard the cough. Yeah. Everyone started to hear it over the course of the game, except for the host, who was so dialed in that he never noticed and kept things going. – People cough.

It happens. – (Link) Here’s a picture of Tecwen. (Link in a nasally voice) “Hello, I’m Tecwen.

I’m willing to cheat for… – …someone else.” – (Rhett laughing) I wonder what his… …agreement was: how much he was gonna get. I don’t know, but at one point, Charles forgot his system, and instead of reading every answer, so that he could cough at the correct one, he just said, “I think it’s so-and-so.”

And then Tecwen was like (through a cough) “No!” – (laughing) – He literally coughed, “No!” – You can hear it, audibly. – Sometimes you have to do that… – …kinda thing. – So the producers obviously caught on… …to this, and then they gave him a phone call a few days later, and they recorded… – …the phone call. Let’s listen to that.

– (producer) I have to tell you that we… – …have suspicions from viewing the… – Oh, really. …recording of last Monday’s, uh, program. I’ve subsequently studied the… …tapes carefully.

There were irregularities during the taping of the… – …show in which you participated. – Specifically coughing. – (Charles) Oh, good Lord, no.

– (producer) Because of that… …I have to tell you that these suspicions have been referred to the… – …police. And thus… – (Charles) Right.

– The po-po? – …we will not for the moment be… …airing the program or indeed authorizing payment of the check. (Charles) Right. Yeah, well, I mean, you know, I completely refute… – …that, obviously.

– (Rhett) Of course. (Charles) Good Lord, [inaudible]. All right, well, thanks for… – …letting me know.

Cheers. Bye. – (producer) Okay, thank you.

– “Cheers. Bye.” (laughing) – “Okay, thanks for letting me know.

– Uh, you caught me cheating. That’s fine.” – Sounds a little guilty to me. – (laughing) Yeah. – That’s now how I would have denied… – …if I wasn’t doing it.

– Ya think? Just get off the phone as… …quickly as you can. He was found guilty and fined £115,000. -Whoa. – And he is now known around town… – …as the “Coughing Major.”

– Oh. That name sticks with you. But Tecwen testified that his coughing was a combination of hay fever and… – …a dust allergy, And I believe it. – (through coughing) No, it wasn’t.

– (laughing) – (through coughing) No, it wasn’t! – So top that one. – Okay, you remember this show… – …Press Your Luck, from the ’80s. – I love this show. You would play a game where you answer questions, and you would win spins that you would get to take on the big board.

And when you got to the big board, you could win more spins and money, or if you hit a whammy, you would… – …lose everything. So here’s how the… – Yes. …game worked once you got to the big board, just so you understand. – Go for it! Go for it! – (male voice offscreen) Here he goes!

Come on, big [bucks]. I need a 5000 and a spin for [Toby]. – Come on. Stop! – (Link) He got it. – (crowd cheering) – (Rhett) Look at that.

– (Link) He got the 5000 and the spin. – Come on again for Tommy. Stop! – (Link) Ooh!

He got a whammy for Tommy. – (Rhett) Whoa. Look how… …unhappy he is. Oh, thumbs down. (descending tone) “I tried to do it for Tommy!”

Who’s Tommy? – Very, very dramatic. – Is that his name?

Probably not. That’s how the game is played. – Mhm. – But there’s a guy named Michael… …Larson who was an ice cream truck driver from Ohio. – Okay. – He played the game a little bit… …differently.

Let’s watch Michael play the big board. – (Link) He looks like an ice cream… – (Rhett) Okay. 4000 and a spin. (Rhett) Yep. 5000 and a spin. – (Rhett) 1000 and a spin.

– (Link) Yeah! (Link stammering) Yeah! – (Link) Whoa!

(clapping) – (Rhett laughing) He’s so happy! – (Rhett) Keep going! Do it!

Do it! – (Link) Yeah. (Link) Press your luck! (Link) Stop!

Stop! (Link) Go! go!

Go! (Link) Gah! (laughing) (Rhett) Can you believe it? – (Link) I can tell you right now… – (Rhett) $110,000!

(Link) I did not see this episode, because I would remember it. (Link) And I would act like that if I were him, too. – Look at that. – Celebration dance! – Okay. – No whammies, no whammies, STOP!

– Link, what did you think was going… – STOP! – …on there? – I think that his voice shook… …something loose and the whammies couldn’t come. – (laughing) Yeah.

– It’s like, “STOP! STOP!” – That is exactly what didn’t happen.

– (laughing) Here’s what happened. So this ice cream truck driver had been studying the big board for an extensive period of time. And he figured out there were two squares that a whammy never showed up on.

And he also figured out there were… …five different patterns that you could follow the highlighted box around. So he would sense which pattern it was and he knew when it was gonna go to one of those two spots and he would STOP! the board. And he did this… – …45 times in a row.

– 45 times in a row? Meanwhile, producers are backstage freaking out. They can’t bankroll this… ice cream truck driver like this. The only reason he ends up stopping… – We gotta STOP him! – …is because he hit one of them that… …wasn’t one of the ones that he was thinking about and he lost confidence.

And so he stopped. He had more spins. He stopped at 110,000. Okay. They figured out what he did. They analyzed the tape.

They realized… – …that he had figured out the pattern. – Well, first of all, that’s not cheating. And they determined that it was not cheating. – Yeah! – He got to keep all his winnings.

They went on to change the system so that it couldn’t be gamed as easily. But listen to what Michael Larson ended up doing. He ended up pressing his luck even further. This guy couldn’t get enough. He goes back home. There’s a radio contest where you can win $30,000 if you have a matching serial number on a one-dollar bill that the radio station is reading out.

He gets all $110,000, after taxes, printed into one-dollar bills. So he has bags of – one-dollar bills around his house. – (Link) You’re kidding me. He’s checking the serial numbers to win 30,000 more. Well, his last whammy was when he went to a Christmas party and someone stole all of his money.

Oh, no! That is horrible! Sorry, Michael. Now he’s also dead, which is kind of a big whammy, but… I wonder what he would’ve said if he came home while they were stealing the money. – STOP!

– Yeah, that’s probably it. All right, I got one for ya. (announcer voice) “Terry Kniess!

Come on down! You’re the next contestant on The Price Is Right!” In 2008, he makes it to contestants’ row. And this is no normal contestant.

This guy is a veteran blackjack card-counter. – Yes. – He is a casino surveiller. And he is a former TV weatherman. And you know what that means.

He can forecast how cold it’s going to be in the studio. – Patterns. Patterns. – Oh. Yes.

That too. First of all, when he gets down there, everyone’s gotta bid on one item. It’s a grill. He guesses that it costs $1175.

Pretty exact bid. – And exactly right. Hm! – Oh! – Raises a little suspicion.

– Lucky. Lucky. He then earns the right to go on stage. he makes his way through The Price… – …Is Right to get to the very end… – Showcase Showdown! …the grand finale where he’s pitted against someone else.

They present a whole bunch of prizes you can win, but you’ve got to give the total price – of the total showcase. – Without going over. Without going over. And if you’re within $250, you win both showcases. – I love it. – Now, this is the longest-running… …show in television history.

But what he did was amazing and outta nowhere. – Let’s watch the finale. – (host) You’ve got the tailer, jukebox.

You bid $23743. Actual retail price $23743. You got it right on the nose. – What?!

(bells ringing) – Double showcase. – (Link) Right on the nose! – That hasn’t happened since ’72… …or ’73. Right on the nose. He won $56,437… – (Rhett) Drew Carey is very subdued.

– …in prizes today. – (Rhett) He was new at his job, I guess. – Don’t forget to get your pets spayed… – …or neutered.

– (Rhett) What is that smile about? We’ll see you next time on The Price Is Right. Bye bye. Listen, whenever I have a big milestone, in my life where I do something amazing… – …I know who I’m not inviting. – (laughing) – Drew Carey!

– “Ah, could’ve been anybody.” Listen, here’s the story. The reason why… – “I hate my job.” – It wasn’t that. He’s great at his job… – …and he loves his job. – Mhm.

But he was convinced that the guy was cheating because it had never… – …happened, basically. – (Rhett) Right. It’s impossible. And the producers were kind of having a conversation backstage. But here’s the facts.

He wasn’t cheating. It was a combination of studying patterns and luck. He and his wife had taped and reviewed every single night all the products and prices on Price Is Right, and it turns out that they repeat them. And he remembered what they were.

And then when he got to the end, his wife’s in the audience saying “23,000,” and then he just adds 743 because it’s their PIN. That’s what he said. That’s quite a system. So there was some luck involved. Some luck in it.

But Drew Carey was convinced that he was cheating and that he was cheating and that it would never air. That’s why he was so subdued. But they did air it.

They just buried it in December when nobody watches Price Is Right as much. And then Price Is Right had to change their whole system in the wake of Terry Kniess taking home all that stuff, including a karaoke machine. Well, there you go. If you wanna win a gameshow, study the patterns, drive an ice cream truck, and put your PIN number in wherever possible. Peter Tomarken, give me a call.

Big fan. Have your pet spayed or neutered. Help control the pet population.

Thanks for liking, commenting, and subscribing. – You know what time it is. – Hi, I’m Natalie.

– And I’m Bobby. – We’re from St. Olaf College. – In Northfield, Minnesota.

– (both) And it’s time to spin… – …The Wheel of Mythicality! – You know, Peter Tomarken is dead. He’s not gonna be giving you any shoutouts. – Yeah, okay.

Then don’t call me. – He’s also not on Twitter, but we are! @rhettandlink.

That’s what we are on Twitter. If you really like tweets… – …you should really follow us over there. – And click through to Good Mythical… …More.

Click the “i,”, because we’re gonna find out the story behind Rhett’s vision quest in solitary confinement on the desert. – But not before we have a prize winner! – ♪ (celebratory fanfare) ♪ In the desert. Not on the desert. Well, he was on the desert. – (Link) Congratulations to — – (Rhett) Ashanen.

You win… – …merch of the month: a GMM t-shirt! – (both) Wooo! Congratulations! [Captioned by Kevin: GMM Captioning Team]