Lifestyle

Deb is game to have a go

The Game Show Queen claims $500 for guessing the amount in her case.
The Game Show Queen claims $500 for guessing the amount in her case.

SHE stands proudly, commanding complete focus of the spotlight, her clenched fists burn with anticipation like steaming irons that pump mist.

Excitement builds inside her, simmers away, volcano-like, before its final celebrated eruption.

Her heart pounds. Just moments ago a playful audience gave her a raucous, thundering reception as she bounced like a jack-in-the-box to the stage, its memory still echoes loudly in her ears.

It is this moment she has dreamed about, the moment fate has readied her for from the time she was born - for she is the one, the only, The Game Show Queen.

It's 1991, Deb Voigtlander, aka The Game Show Queen, stands behind a huge spinning wheel covered in pulsating lights, numbers are flashing and overly bright colours are splashed across its surface.

Wheel of Fortune Host John Burgess stands opposite the 20-year-old woman and asks from beneath his Burt Reynolds-styled moustache for her to announce the phrase.

She bites hard on her bottom lip and ponders a moment. She knows the phrase but there is still money available on the board. The popular host wins, his encouragement is persuasive enough for her to play on.

The Howard woman thinks for a moment - letter or vowel?

She's bundled from the game on her next spin, bankrupt, next time she will listen to her gut not some man with a big moustache. She always knew not to trust a man with a moustache.

"I'm just one of those people that's always got to enter everything," Ms Voigtlander says.

"You know, I see the little old lady up the street selling raffle tickets, I buy the ticket.

"I go to the pub, I get a keno - I'm one of those - I try to be a winner at everything, all the time."

Winner or not, the Game Show Queen's story about how she walked a red-carpeted path to the throne, which must surely be neatly positioned behind one of those big red competition buzzers, first surfaced in a script that could easily have come straight from the desk of a celebrated Hollywood director.

Picture a clairvoyant, fiery eyes like a jungle cat stalking its prey, and wild hair like a mad hatter.

Tarot cards purposefully placed on a table that has been dressed in black cloth, each card a symbol for the jigsaw that is the Game Show Queen's life.

The mysterious clairvoyant whispers knowingly and with intrigue as she relays information from the spirit world.

Words roll off her tongue, gathering momentum, they lift the Game Show Queen like a whirlwind before transporting her to another place.

The old psychic speaks of children, more than Ms Voigtlander believes she will one day have, four in total, two girls and two boys.

But there is something else showing in the cards too - luck - and plenty of it, luck that flows through her veins like a fast-flowing river, it pumps through her body like pistons that work to the beat of her heart.

"When she said about the kids I didn't believe her, I only had one at the time but now I have two boys and two girls," she remarks.

"And she said about the luck, 'you won't win lotto or anything but I can see you winning two holidays and a car'.

"Well, I've won two holidays but I'm still waiting on that car."

A spotlight moves about playfully before shifting attention to another show, but this one's far from a typical set or a typical show, there's something different.

Ms Voigtlander concentrates as she descends by rope through a small cavern, its girth closing in around her, a headlamp, snug to her helmet, guides her down the shaft.

The rope creaks and strains under her weight and against the harness equipment.

Who Dares Wins host Mike Whitney calls down to the trembling woman, his voice reverberating off rock walls until finally she hears only the panting of her hurried and laboured breaths. In out, in out, in out ...

"They sent me down with a professional caver, 40m below the ground, there were three cameras set up already," she recalls.

"It took us two-and-a-half hours and they forgot to take water, so we had no water and it was really oppressive, there was no air, nothing.

"And the caver, we had to go through a really tight section of the cave which I could only just fit inside, and I heard him saying 'I'm sorry Debbie, I'm sorry' and when I got down there he had farted, and it was rank."

Not surprisingly, she will be remembered for swearing on national television but she did meet Mike Whitney.

Fast forward to this year, and the game shows come calling again, they chant from a tip jar placed on the worn wooden bar at the Grand Hotel in Howard, a historic coal miners' pub, the place where Ms Voigtlander works.

Customers, visitors and regulars, drunk or sober, toss loose change into the jar, 10 and five cent pieces, dollar coins, the odd note, bits and pieces.

At the end of each night, after finishing work, the Game Show Queen wraps her hands around the jar, upturns it, and learns how close she is getting to the bright lights of television.

This is her dream, it belongs to her, Larry Emdur, The Price is Right, the showcase, it's what she's been promised - the clairvoyant knew it and now so too does Ms Voigtlander.

In May, she flew to Sydney on the back of bits and pieces from the jar, she stayed at some backpackers down the road from where Larry does his job setting hearts alight.

"Larry, is awesome, he is the nicest, he just makes everyone feel welcome - what he's like on screen is what he's like off it," she says.

"I went for the showcase playoff but the other girl guessed the right price.

"They actually think that episode will be repeated a lot because she actually kneed Larry right in the, you know where, when she ran down she jumped up in the air - it was funny."

For Deb Voigtlander, those colourful bright lights, the thunder of an audience's cheers, the magic of showbiz, that's what she lives for.

She understands when up on that stage, she's the real star, not some host with a moustache; yes, she's showbiz royalty - she is the one, the only, The Game Show Queen.

 

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Topics:  luck, tv



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