Queen for a Day
Queen for a Day was a radio and television game series. It was one of the first big-prize giveaway television programs. Queen for a Day had its launch on the radio on April 30, 1945. It ran on the radio until 1957. The program then ran on television's NBC from 1956 to 1964. The program is something of an early "reality show". The program was so popular that NBC increased its running time from 30 minutes to 45 minutes.
The format was simple. Host Jack Bailey interviewed four women contestants. Each told of her personal troubles. These troubles might involve a terminally sick child at home, a husband disabled and out of work, or the need for a hearing aid or a new washing machine. The audience chose the winner by applauding their favorite. She who received the greatest amount of applause as registered by the "applause meter" was Queen for a Day. The winner was crowned, escorted by attendants to a throne, and given not only what she wanted, but juicy prizes like high-end appliances, upscale fashions, and exotic vacation trips as well. Mark Evanier, veteran television writer, writes that Queen for a Day was "one of the most ghastly shows ever produced" and further stated it was "tasteless, demeaning to women, demeaning to anyone who watched it, cheap, insulting and utterly degrading to the human spirit."