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No. 704: $255 in 1978 vs. $255 in 2023

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$255 in 1978 vs. $255 in 2023

First | Previous | 2023-06-20 | Next | Latest

Permanent URL: https://mezzacotta.net/itoons/?comic=704

Strip by: shiningpikablu252

Wizard: {standing in front of the original Family Feud logo} "Kids these days...They have no grasp on the value of money."
Wizard: {now standing in front of the 1994 Wheel of Fortune logo} "Why, back in my day..."
Wizard: {now standing in front of a white background} "You could take 51 points from Fast Money, turn around and buy a vowel, and still have enough left over for a minimum wager on a Daily Double!"
Phoebe: {standing in front of the 2020 Jeopardy! logo} But...isn't that how it works nowadays?

The author writes:

I'm sure you're familiar with how the old tales of ancestors being able to stretch the value of one unit of currency far more than the modern generation can. This lame idea hit me while watching a number of game shows consecutively, and somehow I came up with the idea to spin a narrative of just how far taking $255 from Family Feud's Fast Money round, buying a vowel on Wheel of Fortune, for $250, and still have enough to make a $5 minimum wager on a Daily Double from Jeopardy!. That was definitely true back in 1978, the first year that all three shows were on the air all at the same time...

...Hold on a minute, that's STILL how it works? Yep, that tale the Wizard spun, it's basically the three biggest game show constants on American television! Phoebe is indeed correct with her assumption! As of submission, the minimum wager on Jeopardy! is still the same $5 it was way back in 1964, no matter how large the value of the clues on the board have grown over the years. The price of a vowel on Wheel of Fortune is still the same $250 it was back when it first debuted as a daytime show back in 1975 no matter how much the values on the wheel have grown (even though the show nowadays rarely acknowledges its roots pre-1983, the year its syndicated version debuted). And Fast Money on Family Feud still pays out the same $5 a point when failing to hit the 200-point target as it did back in 1976, no matter the size of the grand prize for hitting the target.

(Apologies to anyone from outside the United States who may have gotten confused by not only these notes, but the entire premise of the strip, due to the differing game show cultures in other parts of the world...)

[Interesting tidbit: Pat Sajak announced his retirement from Wheel of Fortune the day before this strip was submitted.]

Original strips: Wizard of Id, 2023-04-29; Phoebe and Her Unicorn, 2023-05-04.