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The Big Payoff


Producer: Walt Framer Productions
Host: Bob Paige
Assistant: Denise Lor
Announcer: Mort Lawrence
Taping Info: Most likely 1962, Tavern on the Green, New York, NY
Made it to Air: It ran in 5-a-day syndication for a few months in 1962. Previously, The Big Payoff was on both daytime and prime-time for NBC and CBS from December 31, 1951 to October 16, 1959.
Availability: Shokus Video #845, "Lost Game Show Pilots"

I have an idea, let's have a game show outside. It's going to have pretty models showing off fabulous merchandise. I'm sure we can find many exciting locales to shoot the show in Southern California. Excuse me? We're in New York? Well, there's Central Park? We might be able to find a day or two in the early summer to try this.

And The Big Payoff finds that summer day in either in 1958 or 1962 (I'm guessing the latter), brings back the second host of the show (Bob Paige, a character actor of the 30s and 40s), hires some models to wear fur coats, and we're underway. There are two contestants, one a married couple and the other engaged. Since it's the 50s/60s, the woman pretty much serves as ornamentation, as the men do all of the question answering, but the prizes are all geared for the woman.

The first "fashionette" is shown, which is pretty much a showcase showdown description done really slowly and featuring only clothes. Once this is over, the men are told they will be asked questions of which the object is to be the closer to the answer (you can go over). These are ridiculous questions like what is the length of the largest mustache in the world. Despite the fact that these are numerical questions, one man answers a name for the first question. You know, this is a pilot, you can edit and re-shoot the question. Winning the first fashionette earns one point plus the prizes, which were yours to keep. A home viewer also won an identical set of the prizes.

A second fashionette is shown with a sundial as a centerpiece. The sundial is symbolic of how slow this game moves. Also, for some unknown reason, one of the models breaks out into song accompanied by the cheesiest Wurlitzer organ they could find. This fashionette is worth two points and is won by the couple that didn't win the first one.

A final question is asked, and this one is worth three points. The winner will receive the fur coat offered during the opening of the show and a chance for "The Big Payoff." At first announcing the wrong couple had won, the error is corrected and they will be asked one more question for the chance to win a Wurlitzer organ (I don't know if it's the same as the one heard before) and a Magic Chef oven. Since the man did not have encyclopedic knowledge of the Kentucky Derby or the U.S. Census Bureau, they lost, making one of the few pilots to have the big game be lost.

I cannot believe this show was on the air for eight years. After that, I can't believe anyone would want to revive it. And finally, enough stations bought it. Since this was a daily strip, getting 195+ shows in outdoor New York proved tricky, so the show frequently went on the road.


This is not a picture meant to cause Bob Barker to explode, instead, it's the opening of the revival attempt of The Big Payoff.

Here's couple #1, they've been married for nine... Oops, wrong show.

And here's couple #2.

And here's your host, Bob Paige. He did not have sunglasses on during the first fashionette.

Speaking of the first fashionette, here's a sweater.

Here's another sweater.

In the second one, there was one non-clothing item, a bicycle.

The third fashionette included a "portable" hair-dryer.

If you want to be on The Big Payoff, please send a note from your therapist to The Big Payoff, Box 14, Radio City Station, New York 19.


This pilot has been viewed 9516 times since October 6, 2008 and was last modified on Dec 12, 2009 14:46 ET
Feedback? Contact me at usgs-pilot at the usgameshows dot net domain