$64 question

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$64 question

The essential or ultimate question. One of the most popular radio quiz shows during the 1940s was Take It or Leave It in which contestants strived to answer question after question until they reached the top prize of sixty-four silver dollars. The questions increased in difficulty, and at any point contestants could choose to stop and keep the amount of money they had won to that point. The phrase “$64 dollar question” became a catchword to the point that it became the program's name, and people applied the phrase to any very important question or matter. Even more popular was the 1950s television spinoff, The $64,000 Question, with the phrase, now adjusted to inflation, catching on in popular speech, but not to the extent that its antecedent did.
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