Cover image for The great radio audience participation shows : seventeen programs from the 1940s and 1950s
The great radio audience participation shows : seventeen programs from the 1940s and 1950s
Cox, Jim, 1939-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Jefferson, N.C. : McFarland & Co., [2001]

Physical Description:
viii, 264 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PN1991.8.Q58 C69 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Non circulating

On Order



This text contains the histories of 17 radio audience participation shows on the air during the 1940s. Included for each show is the premise it was based upon, producers, host, announcers, writers, sponsors, ratings, and air dates.

Author Notes

Jim Cox is a college professor and resides in Louisville, Kentucky

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Old radio shows were wonderful, and who is left to remember them? Cox is a fan who appreciates the historical impact of the radio and the intimacy the hosts had with their listeners, an intimacy that is rare in television. He defines audience participation showsas those "on which there were frequent exchanges between a host (or other figures) and a live, on-premise audience." Cox focuses on 17 archetypal programs, including "Art Linkletter's House Party," "Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts," "Truth or Consequences," "Queen for a Day," and "You Bet Your Life." The entries, which are four to ten pages long and appear in alphabetical order by program name, begin with a description of the premise followed by lists of on-air and production staff, sponsors, ratings, and broadcast dates and times. Cox then discusses the backgrounds of the hosts, the development of the shows, the history of the shows on radio and television, and the impact the shows and their hosts had on society. The analysis of the programs is informative and deep. The entries are interesting to read, with some fun facts about the history of radio in general, sponsorship, the interactions of the personalities, and the scandals that sometimes occurred. A few photographs are included. The appendix lists additional audience participation shows with brief descriptions, networks, and years of broadcast. The volume wraps up with a bibliography and an index. As fun as this book is, it may not be that helpful to the reference desk except in libraries with comprehensive radio collections. It seems better to put it in the circulating collection so patrons can take it home and savor the memories. RBB.

Choice Review

"Audience participation" in the context of this book encompasses a variety of program formats and genres. Among the programs discussed are quiz shows (Break the Bank, Double or Nothing); talk/variety programs (Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts, Don McNeill's Breakfast Club, Art Linkletter's House Party); unique quiz/game show hybrids like Queen for a Day and You Bet Your Life; and even a soap opera (Dr. Christian). What they all have in common is that the participation of "regular people" in the audience comprises a key element in the show's format (Dr. Christian is included because the program's producers actively solicited and used story ideas submitted by listeners). Cox provides a history for these and other programs covered in the book and an analysis of the impact and importance of each show. Other information provided includes a description of the show's premise; the names of the producers, directors, writers, technicians, and on-air talent; the sponsors; high, low, and median ratings; dates broadcast; and network(s). But despite its index and fairly extensive bibliography, the book is specialized in nature and is likely to be of interest primarily to academic libraries that house significant collections in radio and broadcasting history. That said, Cox's informal writing style makes it accessible to readers at all levels. D. Highsmith California State University--Hayward

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsp. v
Prefacep. 1
1. Art Linkletter's House Partyp. 9
2. Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scoutsp. 19
3. Break the Bankp. 33
4. The Breakfast Clubp. 46
5. Bride and Groomp. 63
6. Can You Top This?p. 67
7. Dr. Christianp. 75
8. Dr. I.Q.p. 85
9. Double or Nothingp. 92
10. Information Pleasep. 101
11. Queen for a Dayp. 122
12. Stop the Music!p. 131
13. Strike It Richp. 150
14. Take It or Leave Itp. 160
15. Truth or Consequencesp. 173
16. Welcome Travelersp. 192
17. You Bet Your Lifep. 199
Appendix An Annotated Guide to Network Radio Audience Participation Showsp. 217
Chapter Notesp. 237
Bibliographyp. 244
Indexp. 247