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Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014
30 Years Ago Today

Here's a segment of Channel 5 News on WMAQ Channel 5, anchored by Ron Magers. Featuring Al Lerner reporting, with a brief appearance at the end by Deborah Norville.

Ron Magers reports that only one person won the $40 million Illinois State Lottery "Lotto" jackpot, and throws it to Al Lerner at 111 East Wacker where he interviews the winner, 28-year-old Michael Wittkowski of the North West side, who's with his then-fiancee (or as "Big Al" calls her, his "future fiancee") Fran Pappas (whom Mike subsequently married).

At the time he won, Mike worked as a printer for DeLuxe check printers, and tells Al that he intends to keep working, and to stay in his bowling league. Al then interviews Illinois Governor Jim Thompson (whom Al says Mike has "adopted" as "Jim Thompson Wittkowski").

Hey Mike - if you're out there and still have some dough to throw around, we could use a nice donation! ;-)

This aired on September 3, 1984.

WMAQ Channel 5 - 4:30 Channel 5 News - "Mystery Lottery Winner Revealed" (1984)

Here's a segment of Channel 5 News on WMAQ Channel 5, anchored by Ron Magers. Featuring Al Lerner reporting, with a brief appearance at the end by Deborah Norville.

Includes:

(mostly complete) Opening animated of the 4:30 Channel 5 News title sequence

Ron Magers reports that only one person won the $40 million Illinois State Lottery "Lotto" jackpot, and throws it to Al Lerner at 111 East Wacker where he interviews the winner, 28-year-old Michael Wittkowski of the North West side, who's with his then-fiancee (or as "Big Al" calls her, his "future fiancee") Fran Pappas (whom Mike subsequently married).

At the time he won, Mike worked as a printer for DeLuxe check printers, and tells Al that he intends to keep working, and to stay in his bowling league (the epilogue to the story, fast-forwarded 20 years on from his big win, can be seen in this article). A clip of the press conference where the heretofore unknown winner was revealed to the world is shown, and Mike explained how he found out he was the lucky person. Al then interviews Illinois Governor Jim Thompson (whom Al says Mike has "adopted" as "Jim Thompson Wittkowski").

Hey Mike - if you're out there and still have some dough to throw around, we could use a nice donation! ;-)

This aired on local Chicago TV on Monday, September 3rd 1984 at 4:30pm.

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This clip aired on Monday, September 3rd 1984, and is included in the following categories:

Viewer Comments

No pressure, Mike. ;) Sounds like he changed his mind on keeping that job with the printing company pretty quick. Story says he retired at age 28.
Comment posted by APM on Thursday, February 23rd 2012 at 8:24pm.

I remember what a big deal that lottery drawing was. I think the drawing was on a Saturday night I remember my Dad showing us the front page of the Tribune the next day and the lottery numbers were the headline! Is there a way to find that day's front page online?
Comment posted by Smctopia on Thursday, February 23rd 2012 at 11:13pm.

My mom's cousin was ONE NUMBER off this lottery, can you believe that? The one number had to do with her wedding and ironically she was originally going to marry on the date that did win. Had that happened she would have been sharing in this but still got a few thousand from it. She was a big wig at the Illinois State Bar Association and knew Jim Thompson personally (told us a lot of stories about him).
Comment posted by LaPrincess on Friday, February 24th 2012 at 5:36pm.

Speaking of lottery, has anyone located that lotto commercial where the guy wants to be cowboy and eat "beeeeeeeeeeeeeans"?
Too funny!

Comment posted by ArmitageNLowell on Sunday, February 26th 2012 at 12:55pm.

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This clip has been viewed 1132 times.
This clip debuted on FuzzyMemories.TV on Thursday, February 23rd 2012.
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