October 20 - Happy Birthday, Dr. Joyce Brothers

Posted October 20, 2018

Do you think TV game shows are always fair? Well...they certainly should be, shouldn't they?

I think this cover photo is a
crackup, now that we know
the producers tried to rig (or
at least control) the show.

Doesn't that wink look sneaky?
One popular game show, The $64,000 Question, ran from 1955 to 1958. After it had been cancelled, The $64,000 Question producers got in trouble during the "quiz show scandals," along with a few other game shows. It was revealed that the show was controlled by the producers, I guess in an effort to make the show more dramatic and more fun to watch?

Today's famous birthday was able to thwart the $64,000 producers! Check it out:

Joyce Brothers went on the show in 1955. At that point, no woman had ever won big prize money, and only one man had ever won the top prize (you know, the $64,000). Apparently, the producers didn't want her to win - I guess because she was a woman? Or because they didn't want to have to pay out all that money?

From what I read, each contestant came onto the show as an "expert" in a particular topic. Brothers had several ideas for areas of expertise. The sport of boxing was not among her interests. 

But the producers wanted her to fail, so they urged her to come on as an expert in boxing.

Brothers was confident that she could learn anything, so she agreed - and then she read a LOT about boxing so that she would be able to answer questions.

In the meantime, the producers came up with their questions. They deliberately gave Brothers harder questions than they'd given other contestants. They made sure that the some of the questions would be too hard for Brothers to answer correctly.

Brothers answered them correctly, anyway! 

After seven weeks on the show, Brothers ended up becoming only the second person and the first woman to win the $64,000 question. And she won even more fame than money!

Joyce Brothers went on to get a job on CBS as a commentator during a boxing match! She is said to be the first female boxing commentator. 

Brothers appeared on the spin-off show, called The $64,000 Challenge, and she earned the maximum prize in that show, too.

Then Brothers was able to land more radio and television shows. She was able to transfer her fame to a topic she actually WAS interested in: psychology. She became the first television psychologist. She not only had numerous shows, she wrote magazine advice columns for more than forty years, she was able to help people, and she was able to have an exciting, star-studded life. She even got to interview The Beatles during their first visit to the U.S.!

By the way, once she was a TV psychologist, rather than a game show contestant, she was DOCTOR Joyce Brothers. That's how I grew up knowing her, and it sounds just wrong, to my ears, to say her name with the word doctor.

Today, let's remember Dr. Brothers by soaking up some of her advice:

Also on this date:

Anniversary of the first public school in North America - and:

Bridge Day
(Third Saturday of October)

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