Back in the 1940s, the radio show "Take It or Leave It" awarded cash prizes to contestants who could answer various trivia questions, working their way from the initial $1 question to the $64 jackpot.
In 1950, the show changed its name to "The $64 Question," and the title soon became a popular catch phrase. You could update it for today to "the $570 dollar question," but that just doesn't have the same ring.
When the radio show moved to television in 1955, the producers boosted the jackpot by a few zeroes and re-named it "The $64,000 Question." Contestants still started with a $1 question, and they worked their way incrementally to the 17th question, worth $64,000.
In today's money, that's $513,000. But why settle for half a million? Nowadays the $64 question is, "Who wants to be a millionaire?"
NEXT: Brewster's Millions - 1902 through 1985