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TV Series
    (October 1, 1952-October 1961)
    Produced and hosted by Ralph Edwards
    Broadcast on NBC Radio (1948-52) before moving to television
    Premise: Host surprises a guest, and proceeds to take them through their life in front of an audience; includes special guest appearances by colleagues, friends and family
    Like Queen for a Day and Truth or Consequences, it was a well-intentioned show which tended to rub people's misfortunes in their faces.
    It surprised its guests in the audiences before bringing them onstage, often making them extremely uncomfortable.
    Each episode, Ralph Edwards relied on a large, rectangular and unnecessary 'red book' to narrate the guest's biography.
    The guests were often poorly researched, resulting in inaccuracies being presented on-air.
    Time Magazine called it 'the most sickeningly sentimental show on the air.'
    Virginia Graham characterized it as a 'maudlin invasion of privacy.'
    They royally pissed off Laurel & Hardy, both of whom had sworn off television appearances, by surprising them on the show (it would be their only TV spot).
    In the late 50s, they tended to give away the now infamous Edsel as a prize (if only because Ford was so overstocked that they were having a hard time getting rid of them).
    In one of the few episodes in which a guest was approached ahead of time, recently-institutionalized movie actress Frances Farmer was brought on. The episode proved to be disastrous, dredging up her personal failings and tragedies while a humiliated Frances withheld tears on-air.
    In an even more shocking display of insensitivity, they brought an Enola Gay co-pilot who had dropped the Atomic Bomb on Hiroshima on to meet the show's guest, a survivor of the bombings.
    Revivals in both 1971 and 1983 failed.
    Ralph Edwards feigned ignorance about the show's problems, but privately threatened to fire everyone on his staff if they ever tried to make him be a guest on his own program and go through the same treatment.
    Its saccharine and often over-emotional tone was famously parodied in Your Show of Shows, with Carl Reiner bringing on a reluctant Sid Caesar as a guest.
    Mark Burnett attempted to revive the show at the height of his reality show craze in 2005 but failed (thank god).
    Ralph Kramden screws up a chance to be on the show in one of the Lost Episodes of The Honeymooners.
    Ralph Edwards consented to allow the infamous Frances Farmer segment to be reshot for the 1982 film, 'Frances.'
    Many guests who were initially unhappy about being surprised ended up relaxing and enjoying the experience.
    It started out as a tribute to despondent paraplegic soldiers during WWII.
    It featured Auschwitz survivor Hanna Bloch Kohner as a guest, when it was uncommon to talk about the Holocaust in the mainstream.
    It shared the Emmy for 'Best Audience Participation, Quiz or Panel Program' with What's My Line in both 1954 and 1955.
    Ralph Edwards claimed that part of the show's purpose was 'in order to integrate the wreckage of the present with his happier past and the promise of a hopeful future.'
    They at least notified Eddie Cantor that he was going to be on ahead of time due to his heart condition.

Credit: BoyWiththeGreenHair

    For 2019, as of last week, Out of 1 Votes: 100% Annoying
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