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Nick '666' Perry dies
postgazette.com

Posted on 04/23/2003 2:05:09 PM PDT by evets

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Nick Perry, a Pittsburgh broadcasting pioneer who was convicted of rigging the state lottery's Daily Number drawing of April 24, 1980, died yesterday.

Born Nicholas Perry Katsafanas in 1916, Perry was the well-known host of bowling broadcasts on WTAE-TV and the announcer for the state lottery number drawing, which was conducted at WTAE studios.

When the Daily Number came up 666 on that spring evening almost exactly 23 years ago, rumors about a fix began to surface, many of them from illegal bookmakers who took bets on the lottery and had to pay off.

In the 666 fix, every ball except those numbered four or six was injected with white latex paint so it would not rise high enough in an air tube machine to be drawn. The idea was to wager on every number combination containing fours and sixes. The drawing caused a record payout of $3.5 million -- $1.18 million of which was won by eight people involved in the fix.

A grand jury called Perry the mastermind behind the plan, and a jury in Harrisburg convicted him in 1981 of criminal conspiracy, criminal mischief, theft by deception, rigging a publicly exhibited contest and perjury.

He served two years at Camp Hill State Penitentiary and spent another year at a halfway house in East Liberty, not far from his home in Highland Park.

Also convicted in the case was lottery official Edward Plevel. Two WTAE stagehands, Fred Luman and Joseph Bock, pleaded guilty to participating in the fix. Two other men who cooperated with prosecutors received fines and probation.

A popular TV personality best known as host of WTAE's "Bowling for Dollars," Perry began his career as a broadcaster in 1949 on radio station WPIT. He joined WTAE-TV when the station went on the air in 1958.


TOPICS: News/Current Events; US: Pennsylvania
KEYWORDS: 666; nickperry; obituary
Coincidence: the lottery was rigged on 4/24.

Growing up in Pittsburgh, when playing poker, trip sixes was called a "nick perry".

It was a big organized crime scandal. word on the street that day was to play fours and sixes. It was the biggest lottery payout in history at the time.

1 posted on 04/23/2003 2:05:10 PM PDT by evets
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To: Willie Green; 3catsanadog; agrace; annyokie; Atlantin; Badray; Benrand; bloodmeridian; buzzyboop; ..
It's a 'Burgh


Thing.TM

Send FReepmail if you want on/off BPT list
Learn Pittsburghese!

2 posted on 04/23/2003 2:38:34 PM PDT by martin_fierro (Mr. Avuncular)
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To: evets; martin_fierro
Yep, Nick's escapade made Chilly Billy's wrestling at WIIC look legit.
3 posted on 04/23/2003 2:55:27 PM PDT by Willie Green (Go Pat Go!!!)
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To: Willie Green
cHiLlY bIlLy!! WIIC!! Now THOSE bring back some memories.

(sing along now:)
"Chilly Billy is my name,
"Chiller Theater is my game..."

<|:)~
4 posted on 04/23/2003 3:01:38 PM PDT by martin_fierro (Mr. Avuncular)
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To: martin_fierro
So what ever happened to "Terminal Stare"?
5 posted on 04/23/2003 3:11:19 PM PDT by Calvinist_Dark_Lord (bunch a jagoffs an'at)
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To: martin_fierro
cHiLlY bIlLy!! WIIC!! Now THOSE bring back some memories.

Good grief. I'm reminded of Chilly Billy anytime I spot somebody with a bad toupee.

6 posted on 04/23/2003 3:11:37 PM PDT by Willie Green (Go Pat Go!!!)
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To: evets
Remember staying up late every Saturday night as a kid to watch those old Vincent Price movies. There is something to be said for original (more or less) local programming. Want a flash back, watch the old Night of the Living Dead, has Chilly Billy as an on the scene reporter from WIIC (now WVIC).
7 posted on 04/23/2003 3:29:35 PM PDT by chief911
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To: chief911
Sorry, WPXI, and who could forget those old Godzilla movies. I forgot until I looked it up that Channel 11 didn't air SNL at 11:30 for a few years because Chiller Theater was so popular.
8 posted on 04/23/2003 3:38:06 PM PDT by chief911
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To: martin_fierro
I guess his number was up.
9 posted on 04/23/2003 3:45:49 PM PDT by PA Engineer
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To: evets
"best known as host of WTAE's "Bowling for Dollars,"

I remember the joke after the scandal was that he had a new show called "Bowling for Bail Bond"

10 posted on 04/23/2003 4:26:27 PM PDT by smokeyb
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To: PA Engineer
I guess his number was up.

YUNZ GET A SMACK ON THE DUPA AS YER PUNISHMENT!

11 posted on 04/23/2003 5:11:38 PM PDT by martin_fierro (Mr. Avuncular)
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To: Willie Green
Awesome Chiller Theater page
12 posted on 04/23/2003 5:16:36 PM PDT by martin_fierro (Mr. Avuncular)
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To: Calvinist_Dark_Lord
Here she is! (scroll down page)
13 posted on 04/23/2003 5:39:13 PM PDT by martin_fierro (Mr. Avuncular)
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To: martin_fierro
Cool! I didn't know that Al Caiola did the Chilly Billy theme!
He isn't as good as Joe Negri, of course,
but he's still a pretty well respected guitarist!
14 posted on 04/23/2003 6:27:33 PM PDT by Willie Green (Go Pat Go!!!)
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To: Willie Green
Studio Wrestling was the best! Bruno Sammartino, Dr. Bill Miller, and the great Pie Traynor doing American Heating ads.
15 posted on 04/23/2003 7:08:03 PM PDT by mountaineer
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To: Willie Green
Since we are talking old 'Burgh shows, if Saturday night was Chiller Theater, Sunday morning was Paul Shannon. Great cartoon (Kimba, etc)
16 posted on 04/23/2003 7:22:38 PM PDT by chief911
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To: chief911
I don't remember Shannon doing Sunday cartoons, but he might have.
But he did do "Adventure Time" with the 3 Stooges on weekday afternoons (ch.4).
Captain Jim's Popeye Club was on ch. 11 at about the same time.
"Bwana Don" Riggs did "Safari" with Tarzan movies on Saturday mornings (kdka-2).
17 posted on 04/23/2003 7:30:58 PM PDT by Willie Green (Go Pat Go!!!)
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To: mountaineer
Studio Wrestling, yes! It was a far superior show compared to today's WWF (or whatever it's calling itself nowadays).
18 posted on 04/23/2003 7:37:39 PM PDT by Ciexyz
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To: Willie Green
Been so long you are probably right, but what I remenber most is the rocket full of letters to Santa every Christmas! Stinks that my kids can't find or watch anything even close to something like this today.
19 posted on 04/23/2003 7:43:25 PM PDT by chief911
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To: chief911
Been so long you are probably right,

My guess is that we're probably both right.
The stations operated on shoestring budgets back then,
and most of the local personalities wore a number of different hats to add up to a full time job.

I'd like to see more locally produced shows like that return.
But the economics are such that the only way I can see it happening is if the FCC (ugh!) mandated it.
Until then, we're likely to continue being cursed with nationally syndicated reruns. Local broadcasters are merely re-transmitters who occasionally show local news and weather.

20 posted on 04/23/2003 7:54:34 PM PDT by Willie Green (Go Pat Go!!!)
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To: evets
I won't be more specific...but...at the time of the 'fix' Mr. Perry's (may he rest in peace) home phone number (Perry was a 'stagename') appeared on page 666 of the Pittsburgh White Pages. Spooky, huh, n'at.

Now yenz all talk nice, or PaMom gonna hafta smack yenz upside the head, n'at.

21 posted on 04/23/2003 10:07:28 PM PDT by PennsylvaniaMom (Proud that Rick Santorum is my Senator!)
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To: Calvinist_Dark_Lord
Terminal Stare still lives around the Pittsburgh area. I
see her every once in a while at a local flea market.
She is a very nice person.
22 posted on 04/24/2003 4:15:13 AM PDT by Wake Up America
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To: chief911
Bill is on the radio now.
He has a music show.
I think he's on 1320 on the AM dial.
23 posted on 04/24/2003 4:20:52 AM PDT by Wake Up America
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To: Willie Green
Our Girl Scout 'Brownie Troop' appeared on the Paul Shannon show. It ran around dinner time. We chanted........"Down goes the _______(something) and up goes the curtain on adventure time!"

Wow, had to be 40some years ago!

24 posted on 04/24/2003 4:57:02 AM PDT by MadelineZapeezda
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To: smokeyb
I remember the joke after the scandal was that he had a new show called "Bowling for Bail Bond"

i don't know if Nick put the fix in on 666 or not (bet he knew who did if he didn't though). But, he should have been put away for bad taste because of those damned plaid polyester sports jackets (BARF!)

25 posted on 04/24/2003 10:47:38 AM PDT by Calvinist_Dark_Lord (yunz'r a bunch a jagoffs an'at)
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To: mountaineer
Hey, Don't forget our favorite corrupt referee, Izzy Moydell, along with Batman, Mr. Clean, Geeto Mongol, Dom DiNucci, "Ringside Rosie", and the County Board President, John "Jumping Johnny" DiFazio.
26 posted on 04/24/2003 10:53:43 AM PDT by Calvinist_Dark_Lord (yunz'r a bunch a jagoffs an'at)
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To: Wake Up America
Bill is on the radio now.
He has a music show.
I think he's on 1320 on the AM dial.

1320AM was once WKTQ, the infamous 13Q, with Jim Quinn. They had this gimmick where they'd spin their 45's at 50 rpm. It worked, the other station's music didn't "sound right" to us, because it was slower. The station could play more music, and get just as many commercials in.

27 posted on 04/24/2003 11:00:00 AM PDT by Calvinist_Dark_Lord (yunz'r a bunch a jagoffs an'at)
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To: MadelineZapeezda
Paul Shannon might have been local talent, but the man single handedly saved the careers of the Three Stooges by simply playing their flicks on his program. They became lifelong friends with Shannon...all gone now, Shannon too.

Irony is that he was hired as a news guy.
28 posted on 04/24/2003 11:06:07 AM PDT by Calvinist_Dark_Lord (yunz'r a bunch a jagoffs an'at)
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To: martin_fierro
No! Oh man, my Grandma will be bummed. She was on bowling for Dollars with a bunch of relatives. Uncle Amadeo, Uncle Nick...

That brings back some memories...

29 posted on 04/24/2003 11:23:37 AM PDT by Benrand
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To: martin_fierro
Any of you southerners remember these guys?
30 posted on 04/24/2003 11:34:16 AM PDT by flying Elvis
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To: mountaineer
GORDON SOLIE!


31 posted on 04/24/2003 11:45:07 AM PDT by flying Elvis
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To: Calvinist_Dark_Lord
Gee I never knew about that.
I wonder whos brain child that was.

Hey! [If you remember Terminal Stare from Chiller Theatre]

If you met her in person [out of makeup]you would never believe she was terminal stare.

She is a very very nice person.

My Husband and I were just talking about this this evening.

Her name is Donna Rae.

She went to High School with one of my Husbands brothers.

32 posted on 04/24/2003 4:11:29 PM PDT by Wake Up America
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To: Calvinist_Dark_Lord; MadelineZapeezda
Help ! I see my life passing before my eyes ! I was on Paul Shannon as a Brownie and we had a MD carnival ! I lived 3 blocks from channel 4 TV. He did save the 3 stooges careers ! nyuk,nyuk,nyuk ! And does anyone remember him doing the character Nosmo King !?! So many people never figured out where he got the name !
33 posted on 04/24/2003 5:46:56 PM PDT by smokeyb
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To: flying Elvis
Any of you southerners remember these guys?

Kukla, Fran & Baldy?

34 posted on 04/24/2003 5:54:42 PM PDT by Libloather (And it STILL isn’t safe enough to vote DemocRAT…)
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To: MadelineZapeezda
We chanted........"Down goes the _______(something) and up goes the curtain on adventure time!"

If I remember he had a magic wand and he said Down goes the "wand"

35 posted on 04/24/2003 6:32:40 PM PDT by smokeyb
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To: smokeyb
And does anyone remember him doing the character Nosmo King !?! So many people never figured out where he got the name !

There was another character he did that wasn't as popluar as Nosmo King, the name was Randy Rocket.

i don't quite remember the magic wand, but i remember the Magic Sword. Saw a picture of it in a Post Gazette article on Shannon (he went to Florida after he retired n'at) 10 years after he retired. Shannon died in 1995 i believe, he was 85 years old...He is and will continue to be missed.

36 posted on 04/24/2003 8:01:09 PM PDT by Calvinist_Dark_Lord (yunz'r a bunch a jagoffs an'at)
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To: smokeyb
". . . Nosmo King !?! So many people never figured out where he got the name !"

Can you believe that? Nosmo was the older brother of Nopar King. I thought everyone knew that.

37 posted on 04/24/2003 8:12:30 PM PDT by Badray (I won't be treated like a criminal until after they catch me and convict me.)
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To: Calvinist_Dark_Lord; martin_fierro; Badray; PennsylvaniaMom; MadelineZapeezda; mountaineer; ...
i don't know if Nick put the fix in on 666 or not (bet he knew who did if he didn't though).

I don't know for sure, but I suppose it is possible that Nick was set-up as a fall guy to cover up for state involvement in the scandal.
Here's some excerpts from his obit in today's Post-Gazette:

Mr. Perry, who didn't testify during the trial, later complained about his legal representation and that he never got to tell his side of the story in court.

Days after he was convicted, he told KDKA's Burns, "It's a nightmare. I can't believe it. I wake up at night shaking my head. Why would I get involved in something like this? I was making good money. They were the best years of my life, actually. I had too many things going for me. I didn't need this."

He continued the theme in a 1988 Post-Gazette interview, the first time he spoke in depth about the case after his release from prison.

"No one in my family and none of my close friends ever hit the three sixes," he said. "Why wouldn't I give it to them -- my family, who could have used the money?"

In the 1988 interview, Mr. Perry said the bitterness he once felt was gone and he tried not to fret about the past.

"My philosophy is just work in the present and look forward to the future. When you try to live in the past, you grow old too fast and there's no gain. I can honestly say I have no vindictiveness in me. I don't hate the people involved, and I feel God willed it that way."

His bitterness began to abate as he sat in prison and read what a minister passed along to him -- the Bible and a book by Charles Colson, the former aide to President Richard Nixon who found religion while in prison for Watergate. "I put myself in mind that I was back in the service and that this was another stint in my military life," he said.

Still, he endured taunts from inmates who saddled him with the nickname Triple Sixes. Describing the process of stripping down and being doused with bug repellent and handed a foul-smelling soap to wash his hair when he entered prison, he said, "It's like taking the spine out of a person."

In 1980, Mr. Perry's son Chris wrote a letter to the editor of The Pittsburgh Press proclaiming his father's innocence.

"He couldn't. He wouldn't. Not Nick Perry," the letter said. It went on to mention two honorable medical discharges from the Air Force and Navy in Mr. Perry's scrapbook. He had blacked out during a training flight, and the problem was diagnosed as a heart murmur. He re-enlisted in the Navy, only to have the murmur found again.

He said his dad worked on Christmas morning even though he didn't have to, because it wouldn't be fair to ask someone else to take his place.

In a 1982 letter to the editor published in the Post-Gazette, Chris Perry said his father was made into a scapegoat and offered his theory as to why.

"I am one of many who watched helplessly as the state manufactured a case to shift the publicity away from one of their own and on to another. Not just any scapegoat would suffice. This person would have to have a high profile. Someone who could corner the entire attention of the media. Someone who could transfer the public focus from political corruption and coverup to a soap opera drama of a man's life falling into ruin before the camera."


38 posted on 04/24/2003 8:28:06 PM PDT by Willie Green (Go Pat Go!!!)
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To: Badray
Just ask a few people that remember the character - lots of them never caught on !
39 posted on 04/25/2003 2:41:12 PM PDT by smokeyb
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