Sixty-four-dollar question

charlie2

Senior Member
Hello, everyone,
I have heard the above expression but with different amounts of money, e.g. one million, six million, etc.
Only recently have I read that 64 dollars is the origin version.
Did I hear it wrong then, or has the expression "evolved", so to speak?
Thank you.
 
  • Artrella

    Banned
    BA
    Spanish-Argentina
    charlie2 said:
    Hello, everyone,
    I have heard the above expression but with different amounts of money, e.g. one million, six million, etc.
    Only recently have I read that 64 dollars is the origin version.
    Did I hear it wrong then, or has the expression "evolved", so to speak?
    Thank you.

    Hello Charlie2

    Definition
    the sixty-four-thousand-dollar question informal, informal the million-dollar question

    an important or difficult question which people do not know the answer to
    So will she marry him or not? - that's the sixty-four-thousand-dollar question.
    (from Cambridge International Dictionary of Idioms)


    That's the sixty-four thousand dollar question!: I find the question very difficult to answer: US, since the early 1950s and, by adoption, Brit. since the 1960s. From the US "quiz game" -with a very much smaller top prize in UK and the Commonwealth (Shaw, 1968)
    But this is itself a development from and elaboration of the purely US "that's the sixty-four dollar question", which, as a catch phrase dates from circa 1942. Webster's International Dictionary, 1961, tells me that "the sixty-four dollas question" was 'so called from the fact that $64 was the highest award in the CBS radio quiz show'. "Take it or Leave it" (1941-8) The meaning of both of these catch phrases is "That is the crucial question -the most
    difficult one- a real puzzler". It is still heard, 1975, in UK, whereas it was already, in US, 1969, passing into history, as Prof. Emeritus S.H.Monk told me in that year.

    Extracted from "A Dictionary of Catch Phrases- from the Sixteenth Century to the Present Day" by Eric Partridge.


    Hope this helps :p
     

    charlie2

    Senior Member
    It has more than helped me. I feel good whenever I learn something. And I am feeling really good now. So inflation has only brought us to one million for the moment !? ;)
    Thank you, Artrella. How could you be so "(re)sourceful"!
     

    Artrella

    Banned
    BA
    Spanish-Argentina
    charlie2 said:
    It has more than helped me. I feel good whenever I learn something. And I am feeling really good now. So inflation has only brought us to one million for the moment !? ;)
    Thank you, Artrella. How could you be so "(re)sourceful"!



    You're welcome Charlie2!! I also feel good whenever I learn something...maybe that's why I am so "(re) sourceful"...ha ha ha ;)
     

    gaer

    Senior Member
    US-English
    charlie2 said:
    It has more than helped me. I feel good whenever I learn something. And I am feeling really good now. So inflation has only brought us to one million for the moment !? ;)
    Thank you, Artrella. How could you be so "(re)sourceful"!
    Charlie, you are exactly correct. :) At the time the original quiz show was on with the "$64,000" question, you could probably buy as much as you can today with a millions dollars.

    About your signature: Le laid peut être beau, le joli jamais.

    What exactly does that mean? I think I know, but I wanted to check.

    Gaer
     

    charlie2

    Senior Member
    gaer said:
    About your signature: Le laid peut être beau, le joli jamais.

    What exactly does that mean? I think I know, but I wanted to check.

    Gaer
    Pour te donner une piste, on m'a dit que c'etait une citation de Gauguin. :)
    To give you a clue, someone told me that it was a quote from Gauguin.
     

    rpleimann

    Senior Member
    USA English
    charlie2 said:
    It has more than helped me. I feel good whenever I learn something. And I am feeling really good now. So inflation has only brought us to one million for the moment !? ;)
    Thank you, Artrella. How could you be so "(re)sourceful"!


    Well, since the phrase originally started with a game show, then we could reason that the price of the question has been raised with the arrival of the show "Who Wants to be a Millionaire?" :p
     

    David

    Banned
    You guys make me feel old. In the 1940s, it was a radio quiz called the "Sixty-four-dollar question," and $64 was half a month's pay for most people.

    In the 1950's, it was a TV show called the $64,000 Question, and it seemed like awfully big money, but the show was shut down after a scandal in which it was revealed that a Prof from Colombia named Van Doren had received answers in advance just to add to the excitement.

    So the original expression really is the $64 question but it escalated with inflation and TV. Why $64? First you won $2, then doubled to $4 on the second question...etc.
     

    gaer

    Senior Member
    US-English
    Wordsmyth said:
    "Ugly can be beautiful, pretty never (can be)"

    So where does that leave "pretty ugly"?? :p :D

    W :):)
    First, that's the meaning I got. Getting the source helped.

    But I think "pretty ugly" belongs as a part of "not bad", in another thread, just to mix up the whole problem more.
    icon10.gif


    Gaer
     
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