Common sense prevails for 'Millionaire' contest
Published 8:00 pm, Wednesday, February 23, 2011
Michael Sziklai is $58,000 richer thanks to his intellectual prowess and his Yankee sensibility.
The 28-year-old Bridgewater resident made it all the way up to the $100,000 question on the ABC television game show "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire" that aired locally Feb. 7.
Unsure of the answer to the $100,000 question, rather than guess, he decided not to answer -- and walked away with a cool $58,100.
"I'd been watching the show and seen people get to where I did and then start guessing -- and lose everything," Mr. Sziklai said that afternoon. "I stopped and remembered that, if I got the answer wrong, I'd be losing $33,000."
The question was "Inventor Leo Hirshfield named what candy after his nickname for his daughter Clara?"
Mr. Sziklai had four choices. A wrong answer would have dropped his winnings to $25,000, show literature explains.
The correct answer? Tootsie Roll.
His parents, Nick and Patricia Sziklai, are still Roxbury residents.
"We've known about this for some time. It's been difficult to keep it secret," said Patricia Sziklai. "We'd gone to the taping with Michael and I was sitting there saying in my mind, `Take the money. Take the money.' I think the message got through."
An artist and craftsman, Michael Sziklai found out about an upcoming audition for "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire" last summer while taking a lunch break from his glass work.
He had just happened to turn on the TV, he said.
Mr. Sziklai contacted the show, went to New York City to the ABC studios and took a multiple-choice test with 200 other would-be contestants.
He was soon called back for a taped interview.
In its ninth season, "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire" is now divided into two rounds. Contestants accumulate money into their Millionaire Bank with every correct answer.
"It was a fun experience," Mr. Sziklai said, "and it was a tough decision stopping at $58,100."