"The Grand Tour"
QUILTS FOR KATRINA
MAKE A WISH
5 September 2005
Apparently Amy Grant is hosting a real tear-jerker of a show this fall, Three Wishes, wherein each week they will grant the wish of three deserving recipients. Promos show sick kids riding amusement park rides, and women with tears in their eyes crying out "thank you all!"
It's a sure-fire hit. The viewing audience likes to watch vicariously, then cry with those whose lives are changed, to sit at home and bond with the TV screen and feel good for human beings doing good things for other human beings, perhaps feel better because there are others out there much worse off than we are.
Three Wishes isn't anything new, of course. "Make your dream come true" shows exist today, with things like extreme makeover (for houses and/or bodies).
It all goes back to Queen for a Day.
Queen for a Day is one of the first television programs I remember seeing. It actually started on radio in 1954, hosted by Jack Bailey, who then took the show to the new medium called "television."
In an opening reminiscent of today's Wheel of Fortune, Bailey would begin each program by shouting "Do YOU want to be... QUEEN ... FOR ... A ... DAY?"
The format was simple. Bailey interviewed four women on each show and then the audience voted. The woman who was decided to be in the worst shape, according to the "applause meter," was crowned Queen for a Day. Queen For A Day was the ultimate "sob show" of the 1950's.
"Sure 'Queen' was vulgar and sleazy and filled with bathos and bad taste," wrote producer Howard Blake in an article for Fact magazine. "That was why it was so successful. It was exactly what the general public wanted....We got what we were after. Five thousand Queens got what they were after.* And the TV audience cried their eyes out, morbidly delighted to find there were people worse off than they were, and so they got what they were after."
The show was the 'Cinderella fantasy.' The woman who was chosen over the other hopefuls (they were always women, of course) was draped in a sable-trimmed red velvet robe and a jeweled crown, given an armful of long stemmed roses, and she got whatever she had requested.
"It's not what they want, its why they want it that counts with us," Bailey once told an interviewer.
Queen for a Day gave me nightmares. I was always somewhat of a hypochondriac anyway and when the TV show was made into a movie, which focused on three different women whose wishes had been granted, one of them was either a polio victim or her kid was a polio victim or something. Polio was the AIDS of its day, and, with my claustrophobia, my idea of hell was being confined to an iron lung.
After watching the movie, I had nightmares for a long time about contracting polio and being confined to a ward filled with iron lung machines.
I don't know what the terror-inducing story of Three Wishes is going to be, but there is probably some little kid out there who will soon be having nightmares because someone on television gets his/her wish (we've progressed; I suspect men might be involved this time!) and some little kid is going to lie awake nights wondering if that terrible thing might happen to him/her.
Oh you simply MUST check this. (Click on "audio")
PHOTO OF THE DAY
I miss those beautiful canola fields in