The Elevator’s Role in the Game Show Exodus

If you grew up in the 1960s or later, it’s a safe bet you grew up watching game shows on television. The excitement, the prizes and the feeling of being able to compete from the comfort of your easy chair were all compelling reasons to tune in. And, as these programs gained popularity, their producers wanted bigger, flashier sets to ramp up the excitement even more. There was a small problem, though. These shows were being produced in relatively cramped, former radio studios in New York City, and, as the New York Times notes, bringing the grand prize — such as a brand-new, shiny Mercury or Chevrolet — up to an eighth-floor studio was difficult. In most cases the towers housing the studios weren’t equipped with freight lifts designed to carry cargo of that size. The producers turned their attention west, to the wide-open spaces of Southern California, where it was easy to find warehouse-sized studios with room for all the glamour, glitz and frenzied audience members they could ever need. The Big Apple lost out, it would seem, all for the want of a bigger elevator.

A “Price Is Right” contestant checks out his prize in 1962, when the show was filmed in New York. New York Times, NBCU Photo Bank, via Getty Images

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