take it or leave it

Take It or Leave It debuted on April 21, 1940 and quickly became one of America’s most popular quiz programs.

The format of Take It or Leave It was fairly straightforward: participants would be asked a series of questions, arranged by difficulty. The first question was worth one dollar; the total doubled with each successive question. The seventh and final question was worth $64. After each correct answer, contestants could “take” their winnings and walk away or “leave it” in the hopes of answering another question and doubling their money. Questions often came from the fields of music, sports, history or science.

Audience participation was an integral part of Take It or Leave It’s success; it wasn’t uncommon for the crowd to coach a contestant or call out “You’ll be sorrrreeeee” when a player chose to risk their winnings by moving on to the next question.

Five men hosted Take It or Leave It between 1940 and 1950: Bob Hawk, Phil Baker, Garry Moore, Eddie Cantor and Jack Paar. In 1950, the show became The $64 Question, a precursor to the popular television game show The $64,000 Question.

Take It or Leave It was inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame in 1990.