The first million-dollar win!
The first person to win the big million dollar prize was an IRS agent named John Carpenter, on November 19, 1999. He went into the million dollar question with all three of his lifelines intact. Regis commented that he "didn't need those stinking lifelines".
The big million-dollar question was as follows:
The answer, known as "the final answer heard all around the world", was B, Richard Nixon. Getting there, John did something interesting. He used his phone-a-friend lifeline to call his father. No problem here. However, you know what he said? He didn't need his father's help... he just wanted to tell him that he was going to win the million dollars! I have a feeling that many people (including myself) would have done the same thing!
When the million dollars was won, the whole show went into celebration mode, with confetti falling from the ceiling. We first saw this happen for an episode of Spin City, where Paul Lassiter (played by Richard Kind) won the big million. But this was for real! John's wife came on stage and they shared a celebratory embrace, and then Regis wished them both good luck, and they both, for lack of a better phrase, rode off into the sunset. We saw them again at the end of the show with the next contestant and Regis telling all the folks at home goodbye and see you tomorrow.
All of us in Internet-land are very proud of John Carpenter for making television history, and we hope that there will be many more contestants to win such an amount of money in the future.
According to the ABC Web site, after John won the million, he gave some of it back to our good friends at AT&T by making long-distance phone calls to family and friends, he went out to dinner, and TRIED to sleep. As for what to do with the money, he plans to take his wife to Paris, buy a nice gift for his brother's wedding, and make a donation to the Boston Red Sox.
A Salute to Game Shows © 1999-2001 Ben F. Schumin, Chris-Place.com. All rights reserved.