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Weird Game Shows of the 50s
by Billy Ingram

Queen For A DayQueen For A Day

Jack Bailey hosted four contestants chosen from the studio audience that compete for prizes by telling their sad life stories - and people back then had it a LOT rougher than we do today! Heck, just going through a GOOD day in the fifties would seem like a major hardship today...

The audience's sympathy applause decided the winner, who was then crowned, robed, tiara-ed, throned, and showered with gifts like refrigerators and washing machines.

Jeanne Cagney (sister of James Cagney) hosted a fashion segment that ran between the many tales of woe. The show was broadcast form the glamourous Moulin Rouge restaurant on the corner of Hollywood and Vine in Hollywood.

This very popular daytime entry started on radio in 1945, moved to TV in 1956 and finished its run on television in 1964 (with a brief revival in 1969). The show was so popular in its heyday, with so many people lined up outside the studio for tapings, that 'Queen For A Day' was expanded to 45 minutes to accommodate a fifth contestant.

I don't know if it's progress, but today people go on daytime talk shows and tell their sad stories and all they get is a trip to Chicago and a lifetime of humiliation.



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