The Big Payoff

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The Big Payoff
Robert Paige 1957.JPG
Robert Paige as the show host, 1957.
Presented by Randy Merriman (1951-1957)
Bob Paige (1957-1959, 1962)
Bert Parks (1959)
Bess Myerson
Narrated by Ralph Paul
Mort Laurence
Country of origin  United States
No. of seasons 9
Running time 30 minutes
Original channel NBC (Dec. 31, 1951 - Mar. 27, 1953)
CBS (Mar. 30, 1953 - Oct. 23, 1959)
Syndicated (daily, 1962)
Original run December 31, 1951 – 1962

The Big Payoff was a daytime and primetime game show that premiered on NBC in 1951, and ended its network run on CBS in 1959. It had a brief syndication revival in 1962.[1] NBC used The Big Payoff to replace the 15-minute show Miss Susan starring Susan Peters, which had gone off the air in December 1951.

Over its eight-year run plus syndication, the show had three hosts. The first was Randy Merriman (from 1951-1957), who left after claiming that CBS was in breach of his contract. Bob Paige took his place from 1957-1959. He was followed by a short stint by Bert Parks (1959).

Contestants were selected from men who mailed in letters explaining why the women in their lives deserved prizes. The men were asked four questions (delivered on a silver tray by "Question Girl" Susan Sayers) in order to win prizes like a mink coat or a vacation. Late in the network run, the format changed to three competing couples. For the 1962 revival, there were only two couples.

On Tuesdays, the format changed to the "Little Big Payoff" in which children sent in a letter in which they voiced the reason that they should appear. Four questions were asked, and prizes awarded for each correct answer.

Winning contestants (other than the children) had the opportunity to answer one final question. Getting this question correct, the individual was awarded the "big payoff" of a mink coat or a trip to Europe, or both. Bess Myerson modeled the mink coat and escorted the contestants on stage.

The theme song was "A Pretty Girl Is Like a Melody" by Irving Berlin, and the sponsor was Revlon.

Other Cast[edit]

  • Models - Susan Sayers, Pat Conlon, Phyllis Hunt, Nancy Walters, Marion James, Pat Conway, Fran Miller, Bess Myerson[2]
  • Singers - Betty Ann Grove, Denise Lor, Judy Lynn ("The Burt Buhram Trio")


  1. ^ "Big Payoff To Return", Oakland Tribune, Sept. 9, 1962, p. 5-TV
  2. ^ Nemy, Enid et al. "Bess Myerson, Miss America and New York Official Tainted by Scandal, Dies at 90". New York Times. Retrieved 5 January 2015. 

External links[edit]