The Sixty-Four Thousand Dollar Question was the hottest show on television in 1955. The more Joyce watched the program, the more she thought, “I could do that.” At the time, Joyce had given up her job to raise her daughter and she and her husband were living on $50 a month. She didn’t dream of winning the top prize–any prize at that point would have helped greatly.
So, as a psychologist by training, Joyce analyzed the show. She saw that each contestant had a built-in incongruity: the Marine who was a gourmet cook, the shoemaker who knew about opera. She found herself a short, blond psychologist and mother with no incongruity. She decided, after some thought, to become an expert on boxing! She ate, drank, and slept boxing, studying its statistics, personalities, and history. When she felt she was ready, she applied for the show, was accepted and won…and won…until she won the $64,000 prize.
The experience led her to dream of a career as a television journalist who might translate the results of psychological research in terms that people could use in their everyday lives. And once she saw that possibility, there was no stopping Dr. Joyce Brothers.