Why do we say "That's the $64,000 question"?

Well-Known Expressions

That's the $64,000 question

Meaning:

That's the most difficult question.

Background:

This expression originated in the USA in 1941 on the CBS quiz show Take It or Leave It where contestants could choose to take a small prize or bet everything on a bigger prize, the highest level being $64,000. According to an online inflation calculator, inflation between 1941 and 2011 has been 1462%, so $64,000 would be about $936,000 today!

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