Queen for a Day (1956–1964)

TV Series  |  TV-G  |   |  Game-Show, Reality-TV
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Ratings: 5.1/10 from 57 users  
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Four women, each with a sob story, vie to become "Queen for a Day."

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1958   1956   1954  


Series cast summary:
Gene Baker ...
 Himself - Announcer (3 episodes, 1954-1958)


"Do YOU want to be Queen for a Day?!" Host Bailey would bellow out those words before each program, to which the audience would reply en masse: "YES!" Four women, each having a sob story to tell, told Bailey why they believed they should be crowned the show's "Queen." Usually, each contestant asked for a merchandise prize, such as a washer and dryer. After all four stories were told, the audience determined the winner by applause (determined via the "applause meter"). The winner won her prizes, plus was bedecked in a sable-trimmed red velvet robe and jeweled crown. Interspersed between the contestants' stories was fashion commentary. Written by Brian Rathjen <briguy_52732@yahoo.com>

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Release Date:

3 January 1956 (USA)  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Despite its long run, less than 10 episodes survive of this popular series. Please check your attic. See more »


Featured in The Fifties (1997) See more »

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User Reviews

Lower than low -- we begin to approach this TV nadir now
10 December 2006 | by (Ft. Wayne USA) – See all my reviews

Jack Bailey, a sort of Carl Denham type, hosted this show in which four women sitting on a panel (the potential Queens) vied for unknown prizes by telling the sob stories of their lives in turn -- with as much sensation, pathos and outright bawling as each could muster, since the most effective story, or storyteller, won the prizes.

If this sounds to you like a pandering premise for a TV reality show, I couldn't disagree.

The winning woman was chosen by a crude decibel-reading "Applause Meter," and the Queen of each episode was crowned with as much blubbering as one might expect for a Miss America winner. At the climax, the ostensibly life-changing prizes were revealed to the winner.

The prizes fell far short of what we see on eerily similar shows today like Extreme Home Edition -- in fact, each day's Queen for a Day typically got what might pass for one prize in a preliminary round on "The Price Is Right" these days -- but often these were appliances to ease 1950s women's work, like a refrigerator or washer/dryer set.

Rather than hilarious, as I remember it, this show should seem shameful today because of its crude and early-TV sensationalist exploitation of people's every-day tragedies, not to mention some of the contestants' willingness to do anything for a buck, and the naked greed of the sponsors. Then there's the high probability that the new frig or washer/dryer set could hardly fix all that was wrong with the life of each winning "Queen for a Day."

Still, its viewers found this show fascinating (like a car crash?) and often a tear-jerker as well.

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