Small House of Everything

Small House of Everything

Tuesday, May 31, 2016


Judge for Yourself was an NBC quiz show that ran from August 18, 1953 to May 11, 1954.  The show was subtitled "The Fred Allen Show," most likely because it was hosted by Fred Allen -- okay, probably more than most likely.  The format of the show involved three contestants who were "judged" by two separate panels -- one consisting of professionals and one of members of the studio audience.  If one member of the studio audience rated the acts in the same (1, 2, and 3) as the professionals, he or she won a cash prize.  A familiar voice -- Don Pardo -- was the announcer.

The episode linked below features a lawyer, a bank teller, and a book dealers as the audience judges; the professional judges were two people I had never heard of and Arthur Fiedler, the conductor of the Boston Pops.  (Off topic, one of Kitty's favorite memories of Durgan Park, the Boston restaurant where the food is great and the waitresses rude, was of being seated next to Fiedler..  Another favorite memory of that time when everybody smoked was when Muddy Waters bummed a cigarette from her at the the much-missed Club 47.  Good times.)

The episode of Judge for Yourself presented here first aired on December 29, 1953.  The format was designed to give Allen opportunities to deliver one-liners and zingers, a la Groucho Marx in You Bet Your Life.  The third contestant on this episode proidedplenty of fodder for Allen:  he claimed to be the living reincarnation of Nostradamus.

By the way, today would be Fred Allen's 122nd birthday.


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