Oprah Winfrey explains iconic ‘You get a car!’ moment

It’s a moment that went down in TV history.

Prior to the Oprah Show episode that aired on Sept. 13, 2004, Oprah Winfrey had asked her producers to fill the crowd with people who “desperately needed” cars. Then, she had staff members hand out boxes and told the audience that one of the boxes contained the keys to a brand new car.

But when people began to open their boxes and found that every single one of them had the keys, it was pure chaos, which quickly turned to joy as Oprah declared her iconic lines: “You get a car! You get a car! Everybody gets a car!”

It’s been over a decade since the much-quoted moment of exuberance, and now, Oprah is sitting down to talk about what was going through her head at that moment.

“I was saying that because people were screaming so loudly they didn’t know what was going on,” Oprah said to ET’s Nancy O’Dell. “Prior to that moment, I had said, ‘Open up your boxes. One person has a key.’ So when I looked at the faces of the audience, they go, ‘But I have a key … but she has a key,’ so that’s why I said, ‘You get a car! You get a car!’ to try to clarify, because they all looked so confused. Everybody gets a car!”