Press Play to start audio

March 13, 2008

Queen For A Day

Queen For A Day

One result of the writers' strike is that we're now seeing a new flood of reality programs on television. But programs featuring real people were all the rage back when TV was in its infancy. Just ask JoAnne Rushton and Debra Cotich. In 1957 their mother, Evelyn Stuart, starred in one the biggest hits of all time - Queen for a Day. 

Queen for a Day was the ultimate rags-to-riches drama. Ten million people a day watched as hard-up housewives poured out their tales of woe and then asked for a wish.  The audience chose the winner, then cheered as she was showered with gifts.

Evelyn's daughters tell Dick Gordon how the event changed their lives.  They also reveal the surprise discovery they made after their mom died last year.

Listener Follow-Up: May I Take Your Order?

Dick recently spoke with Rodolfo Acevedo, an architect from Argentina who worked in a restaurant when he first arrived in the U.S. John Wootton heard the interview, and felt we had demeaned waitering.

As he tells Dick, John deals with the best and worst in people. Families who refuse to speak to each other at the table. A porn producer so rude no other waiter will serve him. Yet it's also a job which allows him to make people happy. John makes his living - and it's a good one, he assures Dick - at an upscale steakhouse in Coral Gables, Fla.


Queen for a Day by Bobby "Blue" Bland for the album Turn on Your Love Light/The Duke recordings Vol. 2

Tagged with
, and

You might also like…

Daily Story Update

Get daily updates and special announcements about The Story.

Produced by

WUNC North Carolina Public Radio 91.5 logo