Man’s ‘Who Wants to Be a Millionaire’ lifeline call to dad is still thrilling 24 years later
On November 19, 1999, a man named John Carpenter made game show history and quite possibly gave us all the greatest game show moment of all time.
Carpenter was a contestant on the very first season of “Who Wants to be a Millionaire” shot in America. Hosted by the late Regis Philbin, the quiz show featured three “lifeline” options to help them with difficult questions, the most popular being able to “Phone-a-Friend.”
Carpenter had impressively not used a single lifeline for any of his questions. That is, until question 15. The million-dollar question, to be exact.
Philbin asked which U.S. President had appeared on the TV series “Laugh-In.” The four options were Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford.
That’s when Carpenter chose to call his father.
As soon as his dad answered the phone, Carpenter, all smiles, said:
“I don’t really need your help. I just wanted to let you know that I’m gonna win the million dollars.”
Cue uproarious audience applause and laughter.
RIP to Regis Philbin. One of the best TV hosts ever. This is my favorite moment in game show history pic.twitter.com/9WA1OyejVh
— Steve Perrault (@Steve_Perrault) July 25, 2020
Looking back, you can see the exact moment Carpenter realizes he’s won the whole damn thing—and it’s before the answers were even shown. He would go on to (correctly) choose Nixon, becoming the first ever top-prize winner in the entire “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” franchise worldwide.
And even now, a little over two decades later, it’s still such a boss move. Game shows might not have the same widespread appeal that they once did, but it’s iconic moments like Carpenter’s phone call that still make them so fun to watch today.
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