The three-man, one-woman Publishers Clearing House Prize Patrol moves with military precision. They deplane at the State College, Pennsylvania, airport in crisp blue Prize Patrol blazers, armed with the tools of their trade: Publishers Clearing House balloons, a giant Prize Patrol banner, the famous oversize check, and a dossier on today's winner--one Nellye J. Hall of Clearfield, Pennsylvania. Striding through the parking lot, the team barely acknowledges the gawks and shouts of civilians--"Hey, Prize Patrol, you got a check for me?"--as it boards a rented van and begins the one-hour drive into rural central Pennsylvania. The game is afoot.

Anticipation buoys...

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