1 9 5 8 – 1 9 5 9 (USA)
Contestants chose whether to play for the offered prizes on view – such as dresses and oil paintings – or take a stab at “The Money Machine,” which could win them up to $10,000. One unfortunate woman on the debut episode won a measly two cents from the machine, for example, after being offered a prize worth $239.
On the same show, a competitor turned down a $65 prize and collected $650 instead.
Home viewers had the advantage of seeing the hidden amount on “The Money Machine” on screen, and the show had a gimmick of calling people at home to ask if they knew what that amount was, with a correct answer winning a prize.
The Money Machine could win a contestant anything up to $2,500, depending on where the decimal point landed.
Unfortunately, CBS believed the machine was rigged and removed the show from their lineup over producer Walt Framer’s protestations.
Despite running for only half a year, the game was revived in Britain where it ran under the same title until 1961.