What’s up with those claw machines?
Oct 17, 2023
Season 5 | Episode 6

What’s up with those claw machines?

You won't believe how many quarters went into making this episode!

It’s our last episode of the season, Million Bazillionaires! And we’re answering Maddox’s question about what happens to your quarter when you put it inside a claw machine. It just zips away! Ryan and Bridget talk to an expert who lets them peek inside a claw machine to find out where that quarter goes. After getting some tips on how to win at the claw, Bridget gets a little too hung up on trying to win a stuffie, leaving it up to Ryan to bring her back to reality (shocking, we know).

Tips for grownups listening to “Million Bazillion” with kids

Money Talks

Let’s keep the conversation going! Try some of these Money Talks prompts with your kid(s) at home:

  1. If you could design the inside of a superfun claw machine, what would happen to the quarters on the inside?
  2. Have you ever felt that you’re stuck in a compulsion loop like Bridget? What were you doing and how did you get out of it?
  3. Have you ever come up with a limit on how much money you would spend on something? What was it and how did you decide on the limit?
  4. Bonus Not So Random Question: Whose picture would YOU put on our money?

Tip Jar

  1. Learn more about the history of coin-operated “digger games” from a claw-machine historian!
  2. If you’re curious about how claw machines work to make a profit for their owners, check out this reporting and video about how some of them might actually be rigged.

Gimme 5

We hope you enjoyed this season of “Million Bazillion”! If your little one has a question about money or the economy they want answered, send it to us using this online form.

This episode is sponsored by Greenlight. (For a limited time, get $10 when you sign up for a Greenlight account at greenlight.com/MILLION).



Cold Open:


RYAN: Hey Bridget, whatcha doing on your ‘puter?


BRIDGET: (SERIOUS) I’m very busy right now, I’m doing this thing a bunch of our listeners like to do in the Podcast comments section for our show: It’s called Spot the Difference.


RYAN: Hm, how does it work?


BRIDGET: Well, there’s a bunch of the same emojis in a row except one is a little different. So you have to look at them and spot the difference.


RYAN: Sounds fun. Can I watch you play?


BRIDGET: Sssh. I’m trying to spot the difference: Rainbow… rainbow…rainbow… rainbow… smiley face… rainbow… rainbow… Wait a minute! The smiley face is different!


RYAN: You did it! You spotted the difference!


BRIDGET: I did! Wow, what a rush!


RYAN: Can I try one? Lemme see… ice cream, ice cream, ice cream, ice cream, ice cream, ice cream, ice cream, POOP, ice cream ice cre- Hey that poop isn’t ice cream!


BRIDGET: You spotted the difference!!!


RYAN: Ahahaha! Let’s keep playing!


BRIDGET: This is my favorite game ever!


RYAN: This is never gonna get old! Let’s do another:  Ice cream, ice cream, ice cream…


–Theme Music–


RYAN: (TIRED) … Ice cream, ice cream, POOP. Ice cream. Ice cream. (SIGHS) No difference yet. Oh, Welcome back to Million Bazillion. I’m Ryan.


BRIDGET: I’m Bridget. And We Help Dollars Make More Sense. This episode is our final episode of this season! It’s been a total blast, and I think we’re almost ready to take a little rest.


RYAN: Speaking of which, I need to rest my eyes from Spot the Difference. Can we hear today’s question?




MADDOX: Hi. My name is Maddox and I’m from Michigan. And my question is, when you put money into a claw machine, where does it go? What made me think of this is when I put money in a claw machine, it just zips away. What happens to it? Thank you!


BRIDGET: Wow, this is a fun question!  Listeners, you’ve probably seen a claw machine in an arcade or restaurant or a gas station. It’s a big box, with glass on all sides. Filled with toys. You pay a quarter-




BRIDGET: – or two– 




BRIDGET: – or five dollars worth…for a chance to use a joystick controller to grab at one of the prizes with the claw. As a kid, I always wanted to play the claw machine, but almost never got the quarters to play it. And I think I’ve developed a little obsession with the claw machine. I even dream about it sometimes.




RYAN: What do you think the answer is? What happens to those quarters when they go in?


BRIDGET: I don’t know. I’m guessing a series of tiny quarter roller coasters that zip the quarters all around the bottom of the machine, until they land with their little quarter brothers and sisters in an enormous pile, fiercely protected by their Half Dollar Mama. What about you?


RYAN: I’m guessing lasers are somehow involved.


BRIDGET: Oh, good one, totally. So what do you think, should we go find a claw machine we can open up and get something good to share with Maddox?


RYAN: It’s tough work, but somebody’s gotta do it-  right after this!


–Asking Random Kids NOT SO Random Questions–



ANNOUNCER: And now it’s time for Asking Random Kids Not So Random Questions. Today’s question is: whose picture would you put on money.


RANDOM KIDS: “If I got to put any picture on a bill, I would probably put a picture of my dog on the $1 bill.” “I would put Albert Einstein on our money.” “Ruth Bader Ginsburg.” “Eliza Hamilton.” “All the reporters on Million Bazillion, which is Bridget, Ryan, and Jay who retired.” “My guinea pigs.” “I would put my parents on money.” “I would put my mom on the $100 bill, my dad on the $50 bill, and my two brothers on the $20 bill.”


ANNOUNCER: That was Arya in Virginia, Perry in Indiana, Mahnoor in Seattle, Ada in Georgia, Parker in Chicago, and Ada, Zara and Ajay in Kansas. This has been Asking Random Kids Not-So-Random Questions.

Part 1:




RYAN: And we’re back! Today on Million Bazillion, we’re answering Maddox’s question, when you put money in a claw machine, where does it go?


BRIDGET: That’s right, Ryan! So we’ve come to the source! Or, one of our sources.


RYAN: Yes, here in sun-drenched Glendale, California, there is a secret place, some say a magical place stacked brim with video games.


BRIDGET: Yeah, I’m really excited to see this place, let’s go inside…






BRIDGET: Wow, this place is filled with so many cool arcade game machines, some of them look really old–I mean, uh, vintage. .


RYAN: Pinball machines as far as the eye can see. I remember these from when I was a kid. we’re talking Jurassic Park, we’re talking Johnny Mnemonic. And yes, even claw machines.


BRIDGET: This is something most people never get to see in their lifetime. Who runs this place?


GENE: I’m Gene Lewin, I’m the owner of Vintage Arcade Superstore in Glendale, California.




BRIDGET: Oh, cool. Thanks for showing us around, Gene. So, what is this big yellow box-shaped machine that we’re standing in front of?


GENE: It’s a toy taxi claw machine. You put in the money, move the claw around, try to win a toy.


BRIDGET: (ASIDE TO RYAN) Wow, I think we may just be able to take a peek inside the machine if we ask nicely.


RYAN: You do it. I’m too nervous.


BRIDGET: Gene, could we maybe take a look inside this guy?


GENE: Okay.


(SFX: Unlocking)j


RYAN: Gene is using a key from his big key ring to unlock the panel with the coin slot and swinging it open so we can see what exactly IS on the other side of that coin slot.


BRIDGET: [WHISPERING] Ryan, what are you doing.


RYAN: I’m setting the scene! Public radio-style. For our listeners!


BRIDGET: Oh, cool, keep on then!


GENE: Inside here is a coin mechanism, so this particular style, we call this a rolldown coin-mech I can actually put a coin in there, So it’ll come out the bottom.


RYAN: The coin does appear to roll down a little slide of sorts…



GENE CONT. So as it goes through here, it trips a microswitch and that’s what tells the computer a coin went through..


BB: And that what happens to the coin?


GENE: It goes down here




RYAN (TRACK, ANTICIPATORY) Gene is unlocking a previously unnoticed panel near the bottom of the machine.


BRIDGET (TRACK): Okay Ryan, this is it!




GENE:  Down here’s the coin box.


BRIDGEt: It’s just a little box, it’s not that fancy.


GENE: It’s not, and it just drops into there.


RYAN: Huh.You know, these machines are so fun and colorful on the outside. And you’re telling me the coins just drop into a little plastic container, smaller than a shoebox? What else is inside this thing?


GENE: The rest of the machine is a computer circuit board. And that’s what makes the display light up. And then there’s motors that make the claw move, both directions. And there’s a third motor that drops the claw.


RYAN: Well. Alright. Maddox, we’ve answered your question! You put the coin through the slot, it takes a short slide down in a bucket waiting just below. And that’s all –




RYAN: for this episode of Million Bazillion. Brought to you by Marketplace-


BRIDGET: No, come on. I’ve been curious about these machines my whole life and here we are, in a place we may never be again, surrounded by arcade games!There’s so much more to ask! Like, how does the machine keep people from being able to put in fake money?


RYAN: Oh right right. Gene, what else should we ask you about these machines and how they work? How do they know if you try to use a fake coin?


GENE: Some of these coin mechanisms are electronic and they have a coin stuck in there. And they compare yours to the one in the holder.


BRIDGET: Oh, tell me more about that. The coin slot is comparing the coin I put in with a real genuine coin, to make sure they match?


GENE: That’s right. This one only goes by size and weight. But the electronic ones will actually compare the coin. So a lot of claw machines have a coin comparator. This one has a cradle that measures the weight of it.


BRIDGET: Oh, so the coin has to be the exact weight the machine is expecting and if it’s off by any amount, the machine will flag it as fake.


GENE CONT: And it has a magnet so if it’s a slug or a Canadian coin, it sticks to the magnet.


BRIDGET: Because the coins are magnetic? I guess I don’t get how that quite helps?


GENE: Canadian quarters are magnetic. American ones are not. They have a slight amount of magnetic content. So you can adjust the distance of the magnet and it’ll affect how the coin works.


BB: I did not know that, alright, that’s super cool.


RYAN: But it makes sense. At an arcade, there’s no person checking your money before you put it in the machine, so they gotta check for counterfeits somehow. Ooh look, an Elton John Pinball!


RYAN: (SINGS TO TUNE OF “PHILADELPHIA FREEDOM”) And I love to play me round or two of pinball… From the day-


BRIDGET: Which kind of game is your favorite, Gene?


GENE: Bow and Arrow’s my favorite electro-mechanical pinball.  But they made like 15 engineering prototypes of a digital version just to see what they could do.



BB: What is it about pinball machines and arcade games in general that you think is so fun? You go and you spend an afternoon, you don’t just play one time.

GENE: Right, you kind of just zone out and just focus on that. And you like forget about all your worries.


BRIDGET: Okay so Ryan…I know the inside of the claw machine was a bit simpler than we imagined.–


RYAN: I’d certainly say so, the claw machine just lets the coin fall down. Into a box.


BRIDGET: Right right. It’s not as exciting as I thought it would be. But the whole fun part of a claw machine, like Gene said, is PLAYING it, right? And I think to truly answer Maddox’s question, I think we actually need to play one of these claw machines. Seems weird not to, right?


RYAN: Yeah, that’s fair.


BRIDGET: Ryan, do you have a quarter I can borrow in your fanny pack?




RYAN: Give me a second, yep, here ya go.





BRIDGET: Alright, I’m aiming right at that plushie, time to go in for the grab… I got it!… Now, all I gotta do is bring it over to the prize chute… and- AHH! I lost it!


RYAN: No worries. We have another quarter, you can try again.


BRIDGET: Hey, uh, Gene, what am I doing wrong here? What do the best claw machine players do to win at this game?


GENE: They look for a toy that’s not buried beneath the other toys. Then maybe they figure out a position, a little bit off to the side. A lot of it’s practice, you learn a technique after you play it a lot.


BRIDGET: Sure, okay, I can do that.




BRIDGET: Ok, slow but steady, grabbing the plushie… And, I’m so close!… And– awww! Lost it at the last second! AGAIN! Can I borrow another quarter?


RYAN: Uhh… sure. (SIGHS) Hmm, I gotta feeling we might be here for a long time. How ‘bout we take a little break and learn more about claw machines, how they work…


BRIDGET: Awwww! Lost again! I need one more quarter! Please!


RYAN: … Hmm, Bridget, you seem… very interested in this.


BRIDGET: Just a few more minutes!


RYAN: Anyway, okay, we’ll be back, with more answers, right after this little break!




RYAN: Welcome back everyone! Bridget and I are answering Maddox’s question about claw machines and how they work. We’ve figured out that the money just sorta falls into a little box right beneath the little coin slot. And now Bridget’s trying to win big at the claw machine after she got some tips on how to get good at it.




BRIDGET: And… Aarrggh! The claw dropped my stuffie again! It’s the one of Jay Powell riding a unicorn!   Got another quarter?


RYAN: I’m out, luckily at this point, we’ve moved on to an arcade where we can get some change, and some food- everyone’s favorite, Bobo’s Pizza. It’s a pizza parlour AND an arcade game paradise AND there’s an animatronic band made of human sized rodents that perform every 35 minutes. It’s great.


TEEN WAITRESS: Welcome to Bobo’s Pizza. Skee-ball’s free on Wednesdays. What can I get you?


RYAN: Nothing for now, thanks. My friend here is just trying to win the claw machine.


TEEN WAITRESS: Uhh yeah, if that’s the case, you better order some food, you’re gonna be here a long time.


RYAN: Really, we’re fine.


TEEN WAITRESS: (SIGHS) Don’t say I didn’t warn you.




BRIDGET: Ahhh, lost again!


RYAN:That time, it was like the claw just gave up and let go at the very end.


BRIDGET: No, no, no. It’s my fault. It was probably my lack of skill. This is so frustrating. I guess I have no choice but to train as hard as possible to get better and increase my chances of winning the claw machine.


RYAN: Wow, sounds like you’re going into the kind of training montage that could use… a song.


RYAN: Wow, sounds like a good opportunity for a time-spanning… training montage.





And weeks goes by on the claw machine

Bridget’s training harder than you’ve ever seen

Bridget’s gonna claw that stuffie

Bridget’s gonna win that stuffie now! 




BRIDGET: OK, after weeks of training, I must’ve gotten better at this claw machine, time to try again. Let’s do this!




RYAN: Alright, take it slow, take it slow…




BRIDGET: OK, so far so good, I got the Jay Powell riding a unicorn stuffie in the jaws of the claw, I just need to… AHHHH! The claw dropped it again! WHYYYYYY? It seems like no matter how hard I train to win the claw machine, my chances of winning are exactly the same?


RYAN: Well, Bridget, while you were training at getting better at the claw machine, for these last few weeks, I was doing my own research into how claw machine’s work. It turns out there’s a very good reason why you’re not winning, even after a lot of training.


BRIDGET: I need a squarer stance when I’m at the machine? More wrist strength? Maybe I need another 3 inches of height, but they took my apple box!


RYAN: No, no. Turns out there are all sorts of ways to adjust claw machines to make them easier or harder to play.


BRIDGET: Well, I figured that. But that’s where all my training comes in. I should be so good by now, I can beat the machine!


RYAN: But it’s way more involved than you’d guess. Before I explain, let’s order some food. We haven’t eaten in 4 weeks. Excuse me, ma’am, can we order a small cheese pizza?


TEEN WAITRESS: Ugh, don’t call me, ma’am. I’m 17. (SFX: TEARS ORDER SLIP) Food’s gonna take an hour.


RYAN: But we’re starving. Why so long?


TEEN WAITRESS: There’s a rush now. There wasn’t a rush before your little training montage. Should’ve listened to me.


RYAN: Well, anyway, a bunch of these claw machines let the owner set stuff like how strong the claw grips, and how often it grips at full strength.  Well anyway…The owners of claw machines sometimes have more control over whether you win or not than you might think.


BRIDGET: So you’re saying…it doesn’t matter where I drop the claw, it’s just not going to grab this Jay Powell riding a unicorn stuffie hard enough to pick him up?


RYAN: Yep. And some of them even have a setting that figures out how many tries a player has before it lets you win. So that the owner of the machine is never losing money on the prizes. 


BRIDGET: But, Ryan, I’ve seen people win at the claw machine before. I know it can be done! (SORT OF HYPNOTIZED) And I’m going to do it too.


RYAN: Well, people have to win sometimes. Otherwise, word will get around that it just eats peoples money.. But the  prizes in a claw machine are usually only worth a couple of bucks. How many quarters have you spent playing today alone?


BRIDGET: (DEFENSIVE) Pfff, a mere $45 in coins but hey, I thought if I just practiced enough I could get good at the claw machine. Like you can with anything…chess or tennis..or Spot the Difference!  But you’re saying it’s all about…luck? Or I don’t know, a computer algorithm?


RYAN:  Well, now that you mention it, fun fact I got from your friend Gil,  for many years, both claw machines and pinball machines were outlawed throughout the U.S. because they were considered gambling devices – you win by luck, not because you’re particularly good at it. That’s changed now, of course.They’re perfectly legal. I think.


BRIDGET:  (SEMI-MANIC) Are you thinking what I’m thinking?


RYAN: I think so!


BRIDGET: That I can still master the claw machine!


RYAN: No, I don’t think anyone can master it. Didn’t you hear me explain it all? That machine can be adjusted and it doesn’t work the way you think it does!


BRIDGET: (DEFENSIVE) What makes you think you’re such an expert on claw machines? Cause you read a few articles or something? And since when do you do any research for this show?


RYAN: You were in claw machine trance! At least one of us has to be responsible per episode!




BOBO ANAMATRONIC: Hey everybody! We’re Bobo’s Banjo Band. Is anyone here celebrating a birthday today?

RYAN: No one! It’s no one’s birthday today! It’s just me and Bridget here! We don’t need a song right now!


BOBO ANAMATRONIC: Ok, we’ll be back in 35 minutes. (POWERS DOWN)





RYAN: Did you just put another coin in?


BRIDGET: No! This is still my turn from earlier.


RYAN: Oh my gosh, I think you’re actually stuck in a compulsion loop.


BRIDGET: (DISTRACTED) A compulsion claw?


RYAN: What? No. A compulsion loop.


BRIDGET: A claw-pulsion loop.


RYAN: No! A compulsion loop! It’s something that happens inside your brain when you do the same thing over and over but SOMETIMES you get a little reward. Like you keep playing the claw machine and SOMETIMES you get a prize. Here, to illustrate, we need to  take a trip inside the mind…






BRIDGET Wow, what is this place?


RYAN: It’s the inside of your own brain right now while you’re playing the claw machine. As you can see, we’re strapped into a rollercoaster


TEEN WAITRESS: Thank you for riding the Compulsion Loop. Do you want to go around again?


RYAN: Wait, you’re from the pizza place. You work here too?


TEEN WAITRESS: Ugh, yeah. I need to pay off my Elantra, okay? Do you want to go around again?


BRIDGET: Yes! I want to go around again! Please.


TEEN WAITRESS: Keep your arms inside the car at all times.




RYAN: Ahhh, here we go again! (LOUDER) Psychologists call this a “compulsion loop” . Here’s how it works. You get excited to do a certain activity, because you’re thinking about the potential for winning some reward at the end.Your brain is so excited about the CHANCE to win, it keeps doing the same thing over and over again, even when you’re not winning… over and over again. .


BRIDGET: Wow! When I look at this all through the prism of my psyche, I don’t even know why I like playing the claw machine. Most of the time, I’m actually losing. It’s kinda hard and boring-




BRIDGET: GASP – I DID IT! I got it!!! Ryan, did you see that?? I just grabbed the Jay Powell riding a unicorn stuffie in the claw machine.




RYAN: Oh boy, here we goooooooo!




TEEN WAITRESS: Thank you for riding the Compulsion Loop. Do you want to go around again?


BRIDGET: Yes, I gotta keep playing! Maybe I’ll win again! Maybe not this loop, but the loop after that, or the loop after that!


TEEN WAITRESS: Keep your arms inside the car at all time-


RYAN: Wait, hold it a second. Bridget, you see what’s happening here? You were about to stop playing, but then you got a little reward and now you’re back at it! Your brain is feeling excited about the win, and the chance to win again! But you’re probably not going to win the next time, or the time after that!


BRIDGET: But if I keep losing, won’t I just break out of the loop?


TEEN WAITRESS: Not necessarily. This type of mental loop works best when it gives you a reward only some of the time. Never losing can get just as boring as never winning. It’s the possibility of winning sometimes that keeps you interested. Anyway, keep your arms inside the car at all times.




BRIDGET: This feeling is sorta familiar. Where else have I felt it?


RYAN: Compulsion loops are all over the place. You can get into a loop like this playing a video game, especially playing any game where a loot box is given out.


BRIDGET: A lute box? Who would want a box of ancient stringed instruments?


RYAN: No, L-O-O-T. Like treasure. It’s a type of virtual prize in video games! You open them and sometimes there’s really cool stuff and sometimes it’s junk and you never know which kind of box you’re gonna get, so that makes you want to keep opening more and more of them.


BRIDGET: Interesting. I might have to check out some loot boxes after we break free of this brain loop.


RYAN: Please don’t People also get into this kinda cycle scrolling through social media, hoping to see cool posts or hoping for likes on their own posts. Each time we get a like, it triggers a happy feeling in our brains so we can get stuck going back to it again and again. It’s one of the reasons some people have a hard time ever looking away from their phones.


BRIDGET: No! No big drop this time. Let’ sgo again!




TEEN WAITRESS: Thanks for riding the Compulsion Loop. You lost that time, but do you want to go again?


BRIDGET: Yes, and are there any loot boxes on this loop?


TEEN WAITRESS: Not on this ride. Keep your arms inside the car at all times.




RYAN: When people play a pinball or a claw machine, spending a quarter a time,  they usually stop when they run out of quarters. But if you’re compulsively playing a machine with higher dollar stakes, like a slot machine, you can lose a lot of money. In fact those machines are especially designed to keep you spending  money without you realizing it. And when it gets real bad, the only thing that can break you out of your loop is going broke. This is one of the reasons slot machines are illegal in a lot of places.


TEEN WAITRESS: Thank you for riding the Compulsion Loop. Do you want to go around again?


BRIDGET: Yes, please.


RYAN: Bridget!


BRIDGET: Just one more loop! I got a good feeling this grab.




RYAN: Bridget, you just have to stop!


BRIDGET:  But I’d hate to quit right before I win big.


RYAN: You’re not going to win big next time!


BRIDGET: Let’s see about that. Just one or two or ten more loops!


TEEN WAITRESS: Ugh, what-ever. Can you two just make up your minds?




RYAN: Bridget. That’s it! I am taking the quarters okay! Snap out of it! We’ve got a podcast to finish! And also, we need to check on our  pizza! We haven’t eaten in four weeks!


BRIDGET: Oh, yeah. Didn’t notice. Sorry about that.




BRIDGET: And now it’s time for asking random kids not so random questions. Sometimes you have an amazing idea for a random question. Let’s hear one.


ASHER: My name is Asher and I was wondering, if money is just a piece of paper why is it so exciting to get?


RANDOM KIDS: “Money is so exciting to get because you can buy stuff with it.” “Because we know that we can spend it on fun things like toys and food.” “It’s worth something and it is very hard to make.” “It’s not just any old piece of paper, it’s a special piece of paper that is made out of cotton and linen and it’s green and it has really cool pictures on it.” “I would say because you can buy stuff with it. Every time you buy something, cash or card, money get you that thing. That’s why it’s so exciting to get it.”


BRIDGET: That was Ada in Kansas, Arya in Virginia, Perry in Indiana, and Coralie and James in California. This has been Asking Random Kids Not So Random Questions.


Part 3:


RYAN: Welcome back to Million Bazillion. We’re back, finishing up this answer to Maddox’s question about what happens to your quarter when you put it inside of a Claw Machine.


BRIDGET: And we’re sitting as far away as you can get from the claw machine at Bobo’s Pizza. Because uh, yeah, I needed a little break. But I do like this stuffie of Jay Powell riding a unicorn I won! In the end, I think it was worth the $86 it took me to win it.


RYAN: Was it though?


BRIDGET: Uhm. I mean, it’s a little disappointing that now that I see it up close, it definitely looks more like Albert Einstein riding a burrow. Nothing against Einstein, just not our show, you know? But at the very least, we answered Maddox’s question. Turns out, when you put a quarter inside a claw machine, it kinda just drops into a little box inside the machine. There’s a lot of other cool technology inside of the claw machine, to be fair. But some of that technology   can be used to make it harder than you’d think to win, no matter how good, or in my case, great you are. But arcade games, from ping pong to claw machines, can be a whole lot of fun. Just with all things…too much of a good thing is sometimes not a good thing anymore. Don’t play any game expecting to win back money or a prize worth more than what you put in. As far as financial decisions go, that one almost never makes… cents.


RYAN: (TIRED) That’s good. I see what you did there. You brought back the “cents” thing. Good. (SIGHS) To be honest, I’m not a big pun guy, but I like the “cents”/”sense” one we do. It’s not bad.








BRIDGET: Wow, it’s a surprise gathering of everyone who helped us make the show this season! Is this an intervention? I don’t need an intervention, Ryan, I broke the compulsion loop!


COURTNEY: No, we just heard you two were here at Bobo’s pizza- and thought why not throw a big season finale party!


BRIDGET: Wow, that’s so nice, Courtney. And look it’s Marissa! And Nilou!


MARISSA: Hey, we were kinda worried about you.


NILOU: You’ve been gone a really long time.


RYAN: And Jasmine and Francesca!


JASMINE: Have you been inside this arcade for four whole weeks?




FRANCESCA: Yeah, about that- we might have to start putting a time limit on how long you can research these episodes.


BRIDGET: And Chris and Bekah, who help us record and edit and mix the show.


BEKAH: How’d you like how it sounded inside your own mind? Got any notes?


CHRIS: I don’t really know what a “brain loop” should sound like, I was just sorta guessing.


BRIDGET: You all did a great job. A lot of people contribute to the making of a show like this. And we’re so happy you came out here to help us send off the season finale.




TEEN WAITRESS: (INTO PA) Pizza’s ready for Bryan. Ugh, pizza for Bryan.


RYAN:  Oh pizza’s ready! That’s me, she just got my name wrong. Sorry, I ordered a small, I didn’t expect a big group. But- let’s see (COUNTING FAST) one, two, three, four, five… aw, whatever! I think we can all have one slice. Who wants pizza?


EVERYONE: We do!/Yeah!/Yay!


BOBO ANAMATRONIC: Hey everybody! We’re Bobo’s Banjo Band. Is anyone out there celebrating a season finale today?


EVERYONE: Yeah, we are! / That’s us! / Yeah, us, Million Bazillion!


BRIDGET: How did Bobo know?


BOBO ANAMATRONIC: Well here’s a song just for you.





Happy Season Finale!

To the Million Bazillion crew!

Bobo’s robot band

Has a song just for you!




–Theme Music-



Fun change for season finale credits- Instead of us reading all the credits to the finale, the people who are joining us for the finale read their own name and job in the credits.


JASMINE: Alright, that’s it for *this episode of Million Bazillion! Thanks for listening to the show! If you want to keep the conversation about claw machines going at home, check our tipsheet for this episode, we’ve got a link to that in the shownotes.


BEKAH: We’ll be back next season to answer more questions. So if you have a question or an idea for a show, send it to us at our website, marketplace dot org slash million.


CHRIS J: And while you’re at our website, sign up for the Million Bazillion newsletter! You’ll be the first to hear when we’ve got a new season.


BRIDGET: Special thanks to Gene Lewin at Vintage Arcades for his help in answering this question! He opened up a lot of claw and pinball machines for us!

MARISSA: Million Bazillion is brought to you by Marketplace, from American Public Media. This episode was written and hosted by Ryan Perez and Bridget Bodnar.  This episode was also voiced by: Kimberly Adams, Anne Rieman (REE-MAN), and Bekkah Wineman.

RYAN: Jasmine Romero is our editor. Courtney Bergsieker is our producer. Nilou Shahbandi is our intern. Our sound designer is Chris Julin and Bekah Wineman. Bekah Wineman mixed this episode.

NILOU: Our theme music was created by Wonderly. Bridget Bodnar is the director of Podcasts at Marketplace.  Francesca Levy is the Executive Director of Digital at Marketplace

Neal Scarbrough is the VP and General Manager.

COURTNEY: Million Bazillion is funded in part by the Sy Syms Foundation, partnering with organizations and people working for a better and more just future since 1985. And special thanks to The Ranzetta Family Charitable Fund and Next Gen Personal Finance for providing the start-up funding for this podcast, and continuing to support Marketplace in our work to make younger audiences smarter about the economy.

FRANCESCA: If Million Bazillion is helping your family have important conversations about money, consider making a one-time donation today at marketplace.org/givemillion, and thanks for your support.

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The team

Ryan Perez Co-Host
Bridget Bodnar Co-Host
Chris Julin Sound Designer
Jasmine Romero Editor
Bekah Wineman Media Producer

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