“Jack Bailey hosted both the original radio show and the original daytime television version, first for NBC and then ABC. Using the classic “applause meter” as did many game or hit-parade style shows of the time, Queen for a Day contestants told why they would like the honour—and the twist of it was that the contestant had to talk publicly about the recent hard times she had been through.
It was something of an inverted Horatio Alger syndrome: instead of boy or girl making good, strictly speaking, the lure of Queen for a Day was woman making rock bottom (or close enough to it; the tearjerking factor was always part of the show’s appeal) in order to have a one-in-four chance at best of making good, or at least a little less burdened, for at least one day in her life. The more harsh the circumstances that led a contestant to want to appear, the likelier the studio audience was to ring the applause meter’s highest level. And, to the full accompaniment of the studio orchestra ringing out “Pomp and Circumstance”, the winner would be draped in a red velvet robe and a shimmering crown, and she would be festooned with a dozen long-stemmed roses, trips, a fully-paid night on the town with her husband or her escort, and other prizes. “Make every woman a queen, for every single day!” would be Bailey’s trademark signoff.”
I was QUEEN today. There was no red velvet robe, crown or roses. No night on the town, but $10,000 dollars to spend on IMACS and digital video cameras for my classroom, was plenty of prize for me. Hail to the grant writers and the agencies who disperse funds for programs. Someone must decide how to spend the money before it disapears back into the system. I am the Queen on just the right day and in just the right place.