Medical Tuesday Blog

The $64,000,000 Question?

May 22

Written by: Del Meyer
05/22/2017 3:47 AM 

With the President’s Confidence Ratings Sinking to one-third and Congressional ratings slipping to one-tenth, “Why is America putting any confidence in these Medical Illiterates to devise a healthcare program which involves our most personal and confidential lives?”

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The $64 Question

Maybe some of you will remember the CBS radio quiz show of the 1940s “Take it or leave it” sometimes called the “Sixty-four-dollar question?” It was very popular in the era of 1941-48. It was so named because $64 was the highest award.

The $64,000 Question 

The big-money quiz show that spawned a rash of copycats in the mid-1950s was none other than “The $64,000 Question.” The idea for the show came from the 45-year old Louis G. Cowan, who created long-time radio quiz show hits such as “Quiz Kids” and “Stop the Music.” Years earlier, Cowan had bought the rights to a popular radio show called “Take It or Leave It,” which he hadn’t yet figured out how to repackage. Then he remembered the $64 question—the top prize offered on the show—and had the inspiration to expand that figure to $64,000 for the television version of the program. . .

“The $64,000 Question” was a smash hit from the day of its premiere. One evening during the peak of its popularity, 55 million Americans watched the show, an astronomical viewership. In the first six months of the show, sales for Revlon, the show’s sponsors, increased 54 percent. The following year, Revlon’s sales tripled. Cowan, one of the stars at CBS, was rewarded with a vice presidency of the company.

“The $64,000 Challenge.”

A little less than a year later, the station capitalized on the fortunes of the show by launching a spin-off called “The $64,000 Challenge.” The show invited winners from “$64,000 Question” to come back and test their knowledge against challengers. Many of the new show’s contestants were celebrities, such as Vincent Price, who tested his knowledge about art against Edward G. Robinson. In July 1956, a little over a year after the first quiz show aired, “$64,000 Question” and “$64,000 Challenge” were rated number one and two on television. These CBS shows were so successful that they drove one of the most respected shows of all time, the “See It Now” with Edward R. Murrow, from the airwaves.


A flurry of imitators followed, including “High Finance,” “Giant Step,” “Can Do” and “Brains and Brawn.” One of the games that jumped on the bandwagon was “Twenty-One,” which featured Columbia professor Charles Van Doren in the spring of 1957. Through 1957, interest in “$64,000 Question” and “The $64,000 Challenge” dwindled.

Not long afterwards, “Twenty-One” had a huge winner of its own, as Elfrida Von Nardroff, a 32-year old personnel consultant from Brooklyn Heights won $220,500 during a 16-week run in the field of history.

The quadruple response: $256,000

The producers of “The $64,000 Question” responded by announcing that their show would quadruple its stakes. The first contestant to win big was 10 year old Robert Strom of the Bronx who answered questions in the field of mathematics and went home with $224,000 . . .

The CBS game show: “Dotto”

When the rigging of the CBS game “Dotto” show was revealed in May 1958, ratings for all the quiz shows tumbled. More and more former quiz show contestants came forward to reveal how they had been coached. A contestant from “The $64,000 Challenge,” the Reverend Charles E. “Stony” Jackson, gave details to a grand jury, saying that he was given answers during his “screening” that enabled him to win. The same week that Jackson testified, P. Lorillard Tobacco dropped “The $64,000 Challenge.” By October, 1958, both “Twenty-One” and “The $64,000 Question” were off the air.

Louis Cowan, then president of CBS, defended his innocence. He never appeared before the Congressional committee investigating the shows due an illness many suspected was contrived. Cowan, however, was forced to resign from CBS. Many others connected with the quiz show phenomenon were temporarily blacklisted. The quiz shows disappear temporarily from prime-time television, giving way to the next television phenomenon: westerns.

Read the entire article online . . .

The healthcare conundrum cannot be measure as a $64 million question or challenge. It is also greater than a $64 billion dollar issue. It may become a $64 trillion dollar fiasco if America does not arise to the socialistic takeover of our healthcare system before it is totally destroyed and lost forever. Returning civilization to the dark ages, feudal system, kings, monarchies, dictatorships, requiring the enlightenment and the reformation to reoccur before we re-advance to the civilization we had in the 17th and  18th century that we lost in the 20th and 21st century.

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