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party poker

Everybody ready? Let’s go!

[“Sandy Becker Calls Bingo” record (1959)]

The “Secret Spiral” Bingo record from DeSylco, Inc., features Sandy Becker1 announcing bingo numbers. This record (DeSylco also released a Secret Spiral Baseball record) has four grooves on each side of the record, so every time you put down the needle, you’ve got no idea which groove is going to play. Based on this randomizer, the record purports to offer “over 4,000 combinations” of numbers.2 Sandy begins each Secret Spiral track with a little key phrase to get everyone listening in the Bingoey mood:

“Everybody ready? Let’s go! O-52 ... G-48 ...”
“Ready for the numbers? O-K! B-5 ... ”
“Listen closely ... here we go! N-26 ... ”

But why does this record exist? Isn’t (cringe factor of next three words: 5x) bingo more fun with more people? The tragic answer is printed on the back cover:

Record Bingo is played in the same manner as regular Bingo except that the numbers are called on the specifically recorded 331/3 rpm Long Play record. Therefore, it is not necessary to have a “caller.” Consequently, one or more people may play the game.

DeSylco was apparently trying to cash in on the overlooked misanthropic Bingo fan demographic (“fuckin’ people ... oh, BINGO!” [glances around empty room]). Just another case of technological overkill, like using a cellphone to buy brown sugar water.

Jeff Stendec (August 1, 1993)

1 Sandy Becker was a CBS broadcast announcer (“Young Doctor Marlow,” “Take It Or Leave It,” “The Shadow”), did advertising work, and was the host of several TV shows, including the first season of the six-hour “Wonderama” children’s program.

2 Secret Spiral Bingo is sort of a “subset” of regular Bingo. There’s only 60 numbers, whereas with Bingo you get 72 (the album cover design features a totally-spurious bingo game with numbers running up to 72; also, it should read “permutations” not “combinations”). In addition, regular Bingo has many more permutations of numbers – you start with 72, then on the next turn it’s 72 * 71, etc ... so for each turn, the number of permutations is

72! / (72 - n)!

However, the Secret Spiral Bingo record calls the numbers in pre-arranged bands of ten. Secret Spiral Bingo has three bands per side multiplied by one side (according the rules, you’re not supposed to flip the record until you’ve played all the bands on one side) multiplied by four grooves which equals 12 permutations per needle drop. But for each needle drop, you’re eliminating the other three grooves in the band, so the number of permutations is

4 ^ (3! / (3 - n)!)

until you flip the record over, and n “resets” to 1 again (is anyone still reading this?):

Turns – # permutations, Secret Spiral Bingo
1-10 – 12
11-20 – 96
21-30 – 384
(flip record over, get popcorn, shoot yourself)
31-40 – 4608
41-50 – 36864
51-60 – 147456

I don’t understand where this “over 4000” crap comes from. Sure, 147456 permutations is over 4000 permutations, but it’s also OVER ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND PERMUTATIONS!!!!111!!!1. By turn 60 in regular Bingo, however, there are 1.2783e+95 permutations (72! / (72 - 60)!). Which is a lot more. Tons. Almost a googol. The mathematician(s) behind Secret Spiral Bingo probably rigged the numbers so someone would always, mercifully, get a bingo by the fourth track.

Tags: audio | exclamation | question | record