"And the actual retail price is..."

The Cheese Fry remembers well as a boy watching one contestant rake in hundreds of thousands of dollars from CBS' weekday game show "Press Your Luck." (We miss you, Peter Tomarken.) The guy's incredible, unending, no-Whammy spins chewed up so much time that CBS had to stop the show and pick it up again the next day. Our elementary-school mind was effectively blown. Only later, thanks to the hard-hitting journalism of 1980s TV Guide, did we learn that the contestant had found a mechanical glitch in the "Press Your Luck" big board that allowed him to avoid the Whammy.

Esquire last month exceeded TV Guide by exploring in detail how one contestant gamed the mother lode of game shows - "The Price is Right" - and became that very rare species: the Double-Showcase Winner. We'd heard something about this when it happened, but we didn't understand the drama involved behind the scenes. The producers were sure the contestant had somehow cheated when in fact he'd done something perhaps far more pathetic: he'd learned the prices of every prize put up for bid.

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