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Host
Mark Goodman
Co-Host
Linda Kollmeyer
Announcers
Bill Barber
Tony Russell
Broadcast
Il
Illinois Syndication/WGN Superstation: 8/22/1998 – 10/21/2000
Packager
Jonathan Goodson Productions

Illinois' Luckiest was a revamp of Illinois Instant Riches with bigger payoffs and different formats. Most of the minigames from its predecessor were used on the show, with a few other games added.

FormatEdit

Contestant Selections=Edit

Contestant selection was different too. It was in two formats during the show's run, the revamp occurring on 1/29/00.

SurveyEdit

Six people (out of 18 in total) are chosen and a basket with six envelopes containing a survey answer were presented. Each player would take one envelope. A survey would be read and each player would then open their envelope revealing an answer. The players holding the top three survey answers would then be chosen.

PinballEdit

The Pinball game from the first season's bonus round would be used to select contestants later in the run. For a brief time 18 contestants were still used. Later shows had 25 contestants; they were placed so that five are in each of the five slots and a ball is released. The players chosen would be in the slot the ball lands in. Players cannot pick the same step more than once.


The winners of the selections rounds would then proceed to the minigames.

Mini-gamesEdit

KnockoutEdit

This was played in the first format. The game underwent a rule change to accommodate the new format. Contestants bid on how long the bouncing cube cold bounce around a circular table without knocking down one of two cylinders on the table. If the cube didn't knock a cylinder down, the high bidder(s) won money: $2,000 in Round 1, $3,000 in Round 2, and $5,000 in Round 3.

If a cylinder was knocked down, everyone but the bidder won the money. A $10,000 bonus was awarded to the player with the most money after Round 3, and was split if a tie occurred. The maximum payment was $20,000.

FreefallEdit

This was played in the first format. A revamped version of "Double Dollars". To start, Goodman would launch a ball up a machine similar to the Double Dollars game board from IIR and each of the names of the three contestants was in a bag (or the numbers 1, 2, and 3 were printed on balls and placed into a fish tank with water). One player was chosen by hostess Linda Kollmeyer at random. That person would launch a ball up the contraption. If the ball landed in one of the seven unoccupied slots, that player won $2,000.

Kollmeyer would then go back in the bag and pulled out one of the three names. This time, if the ball landed in one of the six unoccupied slots, the player won $4,000. Every ball that landed in an open slot was worth $2,000 more than the previous. If a ball landed in an occupied slot, that person's turn was over and all money accumulated was cut in half (or if the player earned nothing, they won $500). Also, one could freeze at any time before they chose to launch the ping pong ball. The player with the most money after everyone was knocked out or had frozen won a $10,000 bonus. This bonus was split if a tie occurred. The maximum payment was $66,000.

The strike sound effect and graphic from "Double Dollars" carried over to "Freefall."

Force FieldEdit

This was played in the first format. Everyone started with $3,000 and wagered their money hoping a pendulum would land on a WIN space. The game was played on a round board with a pendulum in the middle and 10 magnets arranged in a circle on the table. There were two rounds.

For Round 1, six areas were marked with WIN and four were marked LOSE and contestants could wager up to half their money. If a WIN space was hit, the contestants won the amount of money wagered (and lost the amount if the LOSE space was hit).

For Round 2, four areas were marked WIN (one was regular, one was WIN x 2 (double the wager), one WIN x 3, one WIN x 4) and there were six LOSE spaces. The contestants could wager as much as they wanted. Again, $10,000 was awarded to the player with the most money, and was split in case of a tie. The maximum payment was $32,500.

Kollmeyer took charge of this game entirely by herself, similar to what Goodman would ultimately do with the return of "Double Dollars."

SplashdownEdit

Introduced on the 25th Anniversary Special, and officially added on 1/29/2000. The players faced a board of 18 numbered rods, split into three rows (1-4 on top, 5-10 in the middle, and 11-18 on the bottom), each holding up a colored ball. Rods 1-4 held up two reds and a green, and the rest held seven yellow balls. The captain of the team would draw a number, and that number's rod was removed from the playfield.

If a yellow ball splashed down into the water, the team won $5,000. If no balls splashed down, the team won $500.

The only way the game ended (besides the captain saying "I'll stop") was if a red ball or a green ball splashed down. If the red ball splashed down, either by itself or with other colored balls (even the green one), the team lost half their winnings. If the green ball splashed down with no red balls, the team's total was bumped to $75,000 ($50,000 on the Special).

VortexEdit

Introduced on 1/29/2000. This game had the same rules as IIR, except the money was split by the team. The team captain was assigned to pull the lever that released the balls.

The Money MachineEdit

Introduced on the 25th Anniversary Special. The team captain, placed in a money machine with money blown all over the place by jets (similar to the bonus games on the 2002 version of Beat the Clock & The Diamond Head Game) had 45 seconds to grab as much lottery money as possible. The lottery money had one $1,000 bill within a ton of $50 and $100 bills. The captain could grab money flying through the air and stuff it into his/her apron, but could not pick up money off the floor. After 45 seconds, the jets were turned off, and the auditors separated the money grabbed from the money left on the floor into two boxes appropriately labeled "Money Grabbed" and "Money Left on the Floor." The team then had to guess where the $1,000 bill was. If correct, their winnings were bumped up to $50,000. If not, they only won the money grabbed. The money was split by the team members.

When the game debuted on Illinois' Luckiest the rules were different. After the captain was done in the machine, the team had to make a decision. They could keep the money grabbed or gamble it for $75,000 if they believed the captain grabbed the $1,000 bill. If they gambled and the bill was grabbed, they won the top prize. However, if they gambled and the bill wasn't grabbed, the winnings were reduced to $10,000.

Double DollarsEdit

Introduced on 1/29/2000. This game had the same rules as IIR, except the money was split by the team. The team captain, instead of pulling a lever, pressed a button on a buzzer that looked like the hand-held buzzers on Jeopardy!.

The button carried over to the "Double Dollars" spin-off game, "Freefall," described above.

Bonus GamesEdit

This bonus round had two formats.

$100,000 PinballEdit

All 18 players competed in this game. Each contestant would step behind a slot that corresponded with a hole that a computerized pinball would land in. In Round 1, there are three slots. The contestants who chose the correct slot won $1,000 each and advanced to next round. The rest were out of the game. Round 2 had four slots; surviving this round won another $1,000 and a chance at the $100,000 in Round 3. Round 3 has five slots. Everyone who survived all 3 rounds split $100,000. The pinball machine moved to the start of the game midway through the run.

The table was a computer graphic superimposed over a blue field, a common special effect for those times.

Pot of Gold (Format #2)Edit

Played similarly to the "Pot of Gold" from Illinois Instant Riches except that its setting was a train motif, the number of spaces was reduced to seven, and all the contestants of the evening played. The top winner of the show was the defender, and the other players all moved up the road as a team sharing the cash prizes ($10K, $25K, or "Big Money"), depending on how money people avoided the booby-traps. The defender would trap two spaces before the other players moved a maximum of three spaces. Each space had a "railroad gate." If the gate went down, players who took the space were eliminated immediately. If anybody made it to "Big Money" without getting trapped, he/she/they would then pick one of ten oversized coins, each one of which hid an amount between $30,000-$200,000.

If the defender won, he/she picked from envelopes labeled A, B, or C, winning one of the cash prizes. If the envelope read "BIG MONEY" he/she got to pick from the gold coins.

MusicEdit

Main - Edd Kalehoff for Score Productions
Others - Killer Tracks

Freefall/Double Dollars Gameplay - "Full Speed Ahead" by John Hobbs
Knockout Gameplay - "Unleashed" by Brad Smith
Win Fanfare - "Street Knowledge" by Larry Wolff

TriviaEdit

Like Illinois Instant Riches, this show was also was available nationally as well as in Illinois. The show was viewable over the air in portions of Indiana and Wisconsin, but only residents of Illinois were eligible to participate.

Spin-OffsEdit

Illinois Instant Riches - Predecessor to this show from 1994 to 1998
The Illinois Lottery 25th Anniversary Special - One Time Special Spinoff from 1999

YouTube VideosEdit

A full episode of the show:

Same episode but in one part