Friday, March 30, 2007

Nick Perry's Ghost

Only in passing did the news mention that the Pennsylvania lottery came up 444 yesterday, but nary a mention of the number's (almost) history. Yes, when Nick Perry rigged the lottery in April 1980 the number 666 came up, not 444. but Nick and his accomplices didn't know that 666 was the number going to come up that day. All the balls were weighted down except for 6's AND 4's. So there were 8 possible rigged combinations for the straight 3 digit daily number. I assume the point was to even out the abnormal betting that would happen as they tried to cash in. That or they needed to make sure the mixing of the balls did not appear odd with only one number rising above he rest. I wonder. but the history of the biggest fix in lottery history could have just as easily have been 444, not 666.

Back then, the machines that picked the lottery number each day were on an unguarded studio set at the WTAE studios in Wilkinsburg. What was in the same studio: Bowling for Dollars, a live daily show that ran in the evenings hosted by Perry. True story: My very first contact with the media came when my mother was picked to bowl on the show. Guests on the show get to introduce the family and friends they bring with them. So somewhere buried in the Channel 4 archives is some image of me waving at the camera. Seemed a big deal at that time. I wonder if that footage exists.

Anyway... Nick went to jail and would be released. You would often see him having breakfast at Ritters.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

A couple years ago I made some calls to Channel 4 in search of a tape of a Cathy Milton daytime talk show from 1971 or 72. They said they didn't have anything going that far back, or from that show, or both, I forget exactly now. Let us know if you track down your Bowling for Dollars.

Sunday, April 01, 2007 5:55:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So weird... Lucky Numbers was just on tonight. I have always wanted to see the movie since I am from the Harrisburg area.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007 4:12:00 AM  
Blogger C. Briem said...

Cathy Milton? wow. Where is Rege Cordic when you need him?

Tuesday, April 03, 2007 7:20:00 AM  
Blogger Amos_thePokerCat said...

Of course, there is the lamentable (IMDB rating 4.9, even Ebert could only give it two stars) movie with Travolta, Lucky Numbers (2000), which was loosely, very loosely, based on the Nick Perry incident. None of it was filmed in PIT.

Not being much of a Ritter's late night Rat Pack ("Back in the day", I was always an "O" late night denizen, making sure I would get there before last call so I could purchase a pitcher to go with my fries, and chili dog.) was there an omelet named after Nick Perry? Did Ritter's rename it?

Ha! You must of had serious deja vu in 2005 when it came up '666' on April Fool's Day.

Saturday, April 07, 2007 1:37:00 PM  
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