John Carpenter

John is from the IRS. ("Boooo....") He works in collections, too. ("BOOOOOOOO.....") He made it into the hot seat with this question:

QQ26. Put the following races in order according to their length, from the shortest to the longest.
A. Iditarod Dog Sled Race B. Tour de France
C. London MarathonD. Indianapolis 500
Correct Order (drag the mouse over the letters): C-A-D-B
John's winning time: 5.42
Competitors: 3/8

Let's see if this tax man can take the million!

For $100:
1. In the 'Road Runner and Coyote' cartoons, what famous sound does the Road Runner make?

A. Ping! Ping!B. Beep! Beep!
C. Aooga! Aooga!D. Vroom! Vroom!

One of the more ridiculous questions we've heard, I know.

John picks B...

And that's his final answer.

And he's right! $100.

For $200:
2. Where should choking victims place their hands to indicate to others that they need help?

A. Over the eyesB. On the knees
C. Around the throatD. On their hips

John: "I don't like seeing the word 'choking' about right now..."

John goes with C...

For his final answer.

Correct! $200.


For $300:
3. Which of these dance names is used to describe a fashionable dot?

A. HoraB. Swing
C. LambadaD. Polka

John chooses D...

And he's right for $300!

For $500:
4. In what 'language' would say 'ello-hay' to greet your friends?

A. Bull LatinB. Duck Latin
C. Dog LatinD. Pig Latin

John: "That would be Ig-pay Atin-lay."

D is his final answer.

He's ight-ray! $500.

For a guaranteed $1000:
5. What part of a chicken is commonly called the 'drumstick'?

A. BreastB. Wing
C. LegD. Gizzard

John picks C...

And he's just drummed up a thousand dollars!

For $2000:
6. What is the only position on a football team that can be 'sacked'?

A. CenterB. Tight end
C. Wide receiverD. Quarterback

John watches a lot or sports on TV - more than he thinks he should. Hence, he knows it's D...

Which is his final answer.

He's right again! $2000!

For $4000:
7. What god of love is often depicted as a chubby winged infant with a bow and arrow?

A. Zeus B. Mercury
C. Cupid D. Poseidon

John selects C...

Yes, that's his final answer.

And he's got it! $4000!

For $8000:
8. What Steven Spielberg film climaxes at a place called Devil's Tower?

A. E.T. The Extra-TerrestrialB. Jurassic Park
C. Raiders of the Lost ArkD. Close Encounters of the Third Kind

Recalling the scene where Richard Dreyfus makes a model of Devil's Tower out of mashed potatoes, John settles on D...

As his final answer.

He's nailed another one! $8000!

For $16,000:
9. In what U.S. Town did the famous 1881 shoot-out at the O.K. Corral take place?

A. LaramieB. Tombstone
C. El PasoD. Dodge City

John remembers that the movie "Tombstone" was all about the shoot-out. On that logic, he picks B...

And that's his final answer.

He's on fire, folks! $16,000!

For a guaranteed $32,000:
10. Which of the following months has no U.S. federal holiday?

A. AugustB. February
C. SeptemberD. November

Reege: "Of all the guys to get this question!"
John: "This must be my night. You want me to read off the... when the federal holidays are in each month?"
Reege: "Just give us the month! Hold the mashed potatoes!"

John says it's A...

That'll be his final answer.

A federal worker oughta know...

It's August!
John wins $32,000!!

For $64,000:
11. What mythological beast is reborn from its own ashes?

A. PhoenixB. Dragon
C. MinotaurD. Golem

John now goes into spout-off mode.
"Phoenix. A."

A is his final answer.

I'm a bit of a mythology buff...

And I can tell you...

That John has just won

For $125,000, or ONE EIGHTH of a MILLION DOLLARS:
12. Who developed the first effective vaccine against Polio?

A. Albert SabinB. Neils Bohr
C. Louis PasteurD. Jonas Salk

John mentions that he's debating between A and D. At this point, the 50:50 is useless, so he decides to talk it out.

"I went to Rutgers University, the Salk Institute is there, I'm almost positive it is D, Jonas Salk."

John will make D his final answer.

He had it down to Sabin and Salk.

He went with his gut and said Salk.

His gut was right!!

Reege: "We're into the serious money now..."
John: "This isn't serious??"

John now ties John Lamantia for holding on to his Lifelines the longest. 12 questions down, and still all three intact. Only three contestants ago, we had a quarter million dollar winner. Will John repeat that performance?

For $250,000, or ONE QUARTER of a MILLION DOLLARS:
13. Which of the following is not a monotheistic religion?

A. IslamB. Judaism
C. HinduismD. Christianity

In one of his classes at Rutgers, John had to read the Bagavad Gita, which is the doctrine of the Hindu religion. Hence, he's sure it's C...

Which is his final answer.

Reege: "I think he's getting bored!"

John steamrolled through the last 12 questions.

And on unlucky number 13...

He does it again!!!

Reege: "You know, I always heard that you guys in the IRS had ice water in their veins, but this is ridiculous!"

The Quarter-Millionaire club is getting crowded now; 5 people have made it this far. But only John has managed to do it without using any Lifelines. He's one answer away from half a million, and two answers away from the million. Will he hold on to his Lifelines?

For $500,000, or HALF A MILLION DOLLARS:
14. What architect designed the glass pyramid in the courtyard of the Louvre?

A. Philip JohnsonB. Le Corbusier
C. Frank GehryD. I. M. Pei

John gives Reege the biggest smirk I've ever seen.

John: "I.M. Pei."
Reege: "You know, you look at me like... I feel like I'm under investigation."

John: "All right, I'll put a plug for my wife, too. She went to Choate in High School, and I.M. Pei also did the Paul Mellon center for fine arts. So, I.M. Pei, D, Final answer."
Reege: "Thank God, I don't even have to say it."

John Carpenter is now the second player...

To answer the 14th question.

Obviously, this is hallowed ground we tread, walked upon only by Michael Shutterly.

All I can say is, Michael...


This is it, folks. John Carpenter has done what only one person before has done: reached the final question. Plus, he still has all three Lifelines waiting patiently for him.

Reege: "You didn't need those stinkin' Lifelines, did you?"

A wrong answer will cost him $468,000, a right answer will make television history. Buckle up, everyone. The ride's about to start.

15. Which of these U.S. Presidents appeared on the television series 'Laugh-In'?

A. Lyndon JohnsonB. Richard Nixon
C. Jimmy CarterD. Gerald Ford

John looks at the question and chuckles. Then, he says something he hadn't said throughout the entire game: He's going to use a Lifeline. He decides to call his father, Tom. After the formalities, here's what is said:

    John: "Uh, hi Dad."
    Tom: "Hi."
    John: "Um, I don't really need your help, I just wanted to let you know that I'm going to win the million dollars." (The crowd laughs, then goes into uproarious cheers. Reege sits there, dumbfounded. They hang up with 5 seconds left)

"Because the president that appeared on Laugh-In is Richard Nixon, that's my final answer."

Well, no sense in beating around the bush-

John knows it,

Regis knows it,

The audience knows it,

All of America's going to know it now--


LOOGAROO LAMENTS: This, folks, was the perfect example of someone being lauded one day and lambasted the next. After a few days of celebrating the first million-dollar win by one person in prime time history, people began to deride both him and the questions he was asked. Being one who's lamented about just about everyone's game, I should probably talk about these things.

First, the questions. Yes, they were probably easier than the average stack, but as Regis has reminded us a number of times, it's only easy if you know the right answer. The polio question and the one regarding the Louvre could've been hang-ups. However, this set of 15 lacked one of those "experience" questions, ones that can't be memorized from an almanac or studied in a college class. Also, keep in mind that Executive Producer personally approves the million dollar questions, so obviously he must've thought it was hard enough to stump someone.

Second, the issue of Carpenter himself. True, he was smug from the $64K question on, but he did show some personality before then. Also, his call at the end wasn't a gloat - he was just trying to get his parents in on the festivities, calling them while he was winning rather than after he won. Also, since the episode was only half an hour, any upper-tier joshing could've been edited to squeeze a player in, or he might have even known the clock was ticking, hence he didn't want to waste any time.

In short, John might have been a little brash. The questions might have been a little easy. But he's still a millionaire. And for that, he deserves some kudos.

WINNINGS TO DATE: $2,644,000

Let's see who has to follow that act...

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