Queen for a Day
Queen for a Day was perhaps the most maudlin game show ever broadcast. Sleazy but popular, the show was emceed by Jack Bailey and broadcast over the Mutual radio network beginning in 1945. In Polk County it was heard on WONN from the time the station signed on as an MBS affiliate in 1949 until the show was cancelled by the network in 1957. Of course, by that time, it was also a favorite on daytime TV, coming to the small screen a year earlier, in 1956, on NBC and later ABC.
Every broadcast began with Bailey shouting “Would YOU like to be Queen..for..a..Day?” It wasn’t really a quiz show – there were no questions or stunts –just a show that award prizes to the contestant who could relate the biggest sob story and evoke the most sympathy from the studio audience. The winner was determined by an applause meter which measured the audience’s preference for the woman it believed to be most deserving. The woman receiving the largest level of audience applause was crowned that day’s Queen, given a bouquet of red roses, and draped in a sable-trimmed red velvet robe. After a jeweled crown was placed on her head, she then sat on a throne where Bailey gave her whatever it was she had wished for.
Queen for a Day was based in Hollywood, though the program was also taken on the road from time to time - once coming to Winter Haven near the end of its TV run in a week of live broadcasts over ABC from Nora Mayo Hall during 1964’s Florida Citrus Festival. The show was history later that year when its host, Bailey, suffered a heart attack. An attempt to revive Queen in syndication with a different host in 1970 failed.
1949 - 1957 WONN (Featured Program)