Posted by Catherine on May 09, 2001
In Reply to: $64,000 dollar question posted by Bob on May 02, 2001
: : can anyone tell me the origin of
: : the sixty-four-thousand dollar question?
: There was a radio quiz program in the 1940s that became quite popular. Questions got more difficult, and the value of a right answer kept doubling 1, 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, and (ooh!) the $64 question. The phrase $64 Question gained some currency. A television version in the 1950's upped the ante a thousand fold, which is why most people today remember the phrase as you do. The tv show was caught up in the Quiz Show Scandals of the time (see the movie "Quiz Show" for background) and the whole genre was out of fashion until recently revived by the current craze.
My father, who won 64 dollars on that show, informs me that it was 64 silver dollars - a sum equal to three months pay for a private in the Army, which he then was.