The “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?” Man March Draws Millions to DC, Ends In Disaster

Saturday, November 18th, 2000

Published 17 years ago -

WASHINGTON, DC—In an effort to rekindle interest in the “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?” television show, the ABC television network sponsored the “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?” Man March last week in Washington, DC.

ABC aired advertisements for several weeks before the event, encouraging “all people who want to be millionaires to join us in Washington for this historic event.” The march, held last Sunday, drew an estimated two million people to Washington’s National Mall, according to the Nielsen company. Some marchers carried signs reading: “We Want To Be Millionaires Too” and “Equal Millions for All.”

After circling the Capitol and the White House, the procession gathered around the Washington Monument, where ABC constructed a temporary “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?” set. Although “Millionaire” host Regis Philbin was unable to attend, former television star and puppet Howdy Doody proved an able stand-in.

As the hours wore on, the audience grew restless that no player had won $1 million. The very last contestant, however, Hans Van Richter of Westchester County, New York, answered a series of unusually easy questions, including “What is the main alcohol mixed into a gin martini?” As the balloons showered him from the Washington Monument, Howdy Doody asked: “How does it feel to be a Millionaire?” Mr. Van Richter confessed he was “already a millionaire.” An angry mob charged the Monument, and Mr. Van Richter and Mr. Doody were forced to seek shelter in the world’s largest freestanding stone obelisk. The National Park Service finally dispersed the mob by dropping a shower of Monopoly™ money on Pennsylvania Avenue.

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