->''"Would '''you''' like to be [[TitleDrop queen for a day]]?!"''
-->'''Jack Bailey'''[='s=] opening catchphrase, possibly uttered whilst [[INeedAFreakingDrink under the influence]].

GameShow where four (sometimes five) women shared their stories of woe in front of an audience and emcee, such stories ranging from a dearly-departed husband to a son crippled with polio. After all the ladies finished, the audience would applaud for the woman they wanted to see become "Queen for a Day". The winner (determined by the famous [[ThingOMeter Applause Meter]]) received not only what she had originally asked for, but a slew of other prizes furnished by the show's sponsors. The show was created and executive produced by John Masterson, who would later enjoy greater success as the creator of ''Series/ThePeoplesCourt''.

Debuting on the radio on April 30, 1945 as ''Queen for Today'' on the Mutual Broadcasting System with Ken Murray as host and with John Masterson producing the show through his production company, John Masterson Productions, the show was originally broadcast from New York. A few months into the run, the show moved to Los Angeles and was given its more familiar title; Murray was replaced by Jack Bailey, and beginning in 1948 the show was simulcast on television in the local Los Angeles market through KTSL-TV, whose owner, Don Lee, also owned KHJ-AM, Mutual's Los Angeles affiliate.

The show proved to be so popular that it got national television exposure on Creator/{{NBC}} from January 1956 to September 1960, then over the weekend moved to Creator/{{ABC}} and continued until October 1964. When the show moved to NBC, The Raymond R. Morgan Company also signed on as a production company and co-produced the first two seasons until 1958, after which John Masterson resumed sole production and formed the dummy company Queen for a Day, Inc. to hold the show's copyright. Two {{Revival}} attempts, a 1969-70 syndicated run helmed by Dick Curtis and produced and distributed by Metromedia Producers Corporation, and a 2004 Creator/{{Lifetime}} one-off hosted by Mo'Nique and produced by The Gurin Company, both ended in failure.

But opinions varied. While some praised ''Queen'' for helping the unfortunate and showcasing the generosity of America, both contemporary and modern critics bashed it for being a sickening spectacle for ratings that seemingly only gave anything helpful to the '''winner''' basically a crass, trashy, exploitative RealityShow (long before that term existed) that explicitly played on people's misery.

Modern viewers have also noted that Bailey was often downright patronizing toward the contestants, if not openly insulting while they talked about a myriad of unfortunate events such as losing their homes or suffering through terrible medical problems, he threw out sarcastic barbs and jokes at their expense. Thus, what was seen as wholesome back then comes off as downright creepy and sleazy in modern times.
!!GameShowTropes in use:
* AllOrNothing: Only the lady crowned Queen actually got anything to help her situation. The rest got...well, not much. It was ''said'' to be nothing, but was in fact a small ConsolationPrize such as a toaster oven or a camera.
** The reason why "nothing" was used? Because there were a small number of contestants who lied to get onto the show, and were found out ''after'' their shows aired. Having rightly felt cheated, production reasoned that by stating that only the winner gets any prizes, the ladies had better not think about anything but playing it completely straight. This actually turned out to be very crucial, as sometime later on, the nation became wrapped up in the frenzy that was the [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1950s_quiz_show_scandals 1950s quiz show scandals]], which ravaged among others, fellow NBC game shows ''Series/{{Dotto}}'', ''Series/TicTacDough'', and, most notoriously, ''Series/TwentyOne''.
* Personnel:
** TheAnnouncer: Gene Baker on Mutual and NBC, John Harlan on ABC, and Carl King in syndication.
** GameShowHost: Ken Murray, Jack Bailey, Dick Curtis, and Mo'Nique.
** LovelyAssistant: Several models handed the Queen her prizes. Among them were Barbara Lyon, Beverly Sassoon, Maxine Reeves, Darlene Stuart, and Dorene Georgeson. In addition, during the televised versions, there was the position of fashion commentator added. During the network runs, it was Jeanne Cagney, while in the syndicated run, it was Nancy Myers.
** StudioAudience
* ThingOMeter: The winner was determined by an Applause Meter.
!!This show provides examples of:
* AdultsAreUseless: The contestants of ill and disabled children clearly care about them, but are often in such a financially vulnerable position that they see appearing on a sadistic gameshow to be a legitimate solution to their problems.
* CondescendingCompassion: The game show version of this trope.
* DeterminedWidow: Once per episode.
* FalseWidow: Contestants never talk about running away from abusive husbands to live with their family, or falling pregnant out of wedlock, or getting abandoned by (or abandoning) their husbands because the relationship wasn't emotionally or [[HideYourLesbians sexually ]] satisfying. But there are a lot of very brave widows.
* HealthcareMotivation: Once per episode.
* HopeCrusher : The basic premise AND a great alternative title for the show.
* [[IllGirl Ill Boy or Girl]]: At least once per episode. Ill boys seemed to have a very slight advantage over ill girls.
* INeedAFreakingDrink: In most of the circulating episodes, Jack Bailey looks and sounds like a man who had a few shots beforehand. It might also explain his great skill at being a {{Jerkass}}. Bailey was actually a member of Alcoholics Anonymous while the show was in production.
* LighterAndSofter: Could be seen as a lighter and softer version of a reality show. The premise might be pretty unsettling in itself, but the audience (if not the host) seemed to genuinely want to see the contestants happy, and the show is very subtle and indirect when it subjects its participants to public humiliation. Nobody is putting anybody's head in a fishtank full of spiders.
* LittlestCancerPatient: Not in a literal sense, of course, but contestants with very sick children in need of financing usually won.
* MonochromeCasting: Everybody is very, very white.
* MoodDissonance: After being crowned [[TitleDrop Queen for a Day]], the contestant was expected to sit on a throne and listen to a five minute in-show commercial about all the consumer items that she'd just won, while pretending to be really excited and thankful about the benefits of things like aluminium cookware and dog treats. You'd expect the queen to feel really excited and happy about winning, right? Well, no. Remember that the winners have usually just suffered significant personal tragedies and usually only appear on the show because they are in desperate need of help for their family, and they've just been put through this gruelling and humiliating ordeal on the vague hope they'd get the desired item. A lot of the time, the Queens are fighting off tears while sitting on the throne, and not tears of joy. That is, unless you define "tears of joy" as tears which are 5 percent joy, 40 percent relief at winning and 55 percent generalised sadness.
* MoodWhiplash: Lots and lots, as you'd expect given that it is continuously juxtaposing tales of personal tragedy with advertisements for holidays and dog food.
* ProductPlacement: the show spent about 15 minutes focusing on the contestants and 25 minutes selling various products.
* RealityEnsues: The contestants tend to be extremely sweet, but are a lot shyer and more awkward than you'd expect them to be, if you grew up associating fifties housewives with Madmen-style advertising.
* RealityShow: Probably the UrExample for competitive variants.
* SadistShow: Ho. Lee. '''Shit.''' Look at the below, and explain to us how the hell this lasted 20 years.
## The losers got absolutely ''nothing'' as compensation for being on the show, at least from the viewers' standpoint. They actually got a decent consolation gift, but as detailed above this wasn't mentioned on-air to avoid getting liars as candidates.
## The audience (and Bailey) would sometimes ''laugh'' at some stories, with Bailey throwing out insults and sarcastic remarks. They may have been meant in fun (as it were) back then, perhaps even an attempt by Bailey to soothe the contestants who were (very understandably) not only wracked by their personal problems but nervous due to the natural pressures of a TV show, but they certainly don't seem so innocent these days...
## Not even the show's assistants (also female) were safe, as Bailey openly insulted ''them'' as well. One existing episode even has him saying "Let's give a big hand to Mary Ann for finally doing something right." No, seriously. Unlike the above two, there's really no excuse for this one.
* TheShill: Jack Bailey and his co-hosts.
* ShootTheShaggyDog: If this trope were a game show, this would be it.
* SoundToScreenAdaptation: 1948 for the Los Angeles area, 1956 for the nation.
* StepfordSmiler and StepfordSuburbia: Played straight in the commercial hosting sections, averted like crazy in the sections with the contestants, to the point that - if it wasn't a gameshow featuring real people - you'd consider it a deconstruction. The women are very polite, sweet and well-groomed 50s surburban housewife-types who spend a lot of time smiling out of politeness. But they are also clearly real human beings with complex inner lives and mixed emotional reactions to being on the show.
* StigmaticPregnancyEuphemism: Very likely, given that there were a surprising number of young widows with a single child on the show.
* TitleDrop: Jack's opening sentence.
* TrustMeImAnX : There was a vet who would regularly appear in order to explain why your pet needs branded pet merchandise.