We’re chronicling 100 days of Indy 500 history on #SpeedRead leading up to the historic 100th Running. With 31 days to go, Jeff Vrabel continues exploring the many tie-ins between the Indy 500 and pop culture.
More Vrabel: Sullivan on “Miami Vice” | SNL’s “Superfans” | Harroun and the rearview mirror | “500” in Hollywood’s glory days | A.J. Foyt has a secret | Late-night TV hosts at Indy | The “500” in reality TV shows | In old TV | In silent movie | In “Cars” | In “Turbo” | The Beatles at IMS | Pace Car drivers | Snake Pit rebirth | The ultimate “500” playlist | David Letterman, pit reporter | Indy 500 on Atari 2600 | On “Jeopardy!” | More 100 days blogs
Not a lot of people remember “Million Dollar Money Drop,” one of the 75 million game shows that emerged in the 2000s when TV producers realized it was cheaper to let actual people embarrass themselves on TV than pay actors to do it. Happily, that’s exactly what happened on a slightly memorable episode on Jan. 20, 2011.
To recap, in case you were busy that night: In “Million Dollar Money Drop,” a team of two contestants is given $1 million in cash at the beginning of each show. They must answer seven multiple-choice questions and wager their money on each. So they can spread their bets over multiple questions, or wager it all on one — which is what a couple did on the question, “Traditionally, winners of the Indianapolis 500 drink what kind of beverage in victory lane?”
Their choices were:
A) “One made by Anheuser-Busch”
B) “One made by Dom Pérignon”
C) “One made by an Atlanta soft drink company”
D) “One made by cows”
The couple, clearly drunk on their own sense of inflated beverage-based wisdom, bet the full $1 million and then picked B, causing anyone watching in Indiana to release a collective groan that could be heard from space. (Show of hands, who here can see A.J. Foyt drinking Dom Perignon? Right.)
“Million Dollar Money Drop” lasted for about two months, and was actually the subject of a minor controversy when a couple lost $800,000 on a question they — funny story — turned out to have answered correctly. That didn’t happen to the milk couple though. They went home to drink, well, probably not as much Dom Perignon as something made by an Atlanta soft drink company.