Thursday, July 02, 2009

Live like a millionaire

By 1951 John Nelson was announcing the NBC TV program "Live Like a Millionaire" on Television but it began as a radio program sponsored by General Mills. It began in 1950 with the catch phrase 'How would you like to live like a millionaire?" This is nothing like Regis Philbin's Who wants to Be a Millionaire. This was not a game show. This was a variety show. *that image above is lifted from an actual flyer.

The program was based on the more popular Arthur Godfrey Program "Talent Scouts."Live Like a Millionaire took the basic talent scout format and narrowed the focus to children. No the talented people weren't children, the children where pitching their own parents. Godfrey had pushed only his own picks. On Live Like a Millionaire childless couples need not apply.

The parents sang, danced, played musical instruments, did stand-up comedy, and were judged by the studio audience. the prize was not a million dollars, or a recording contract, or a promotions deal. It was a night out. The winner got a night in New York complete with swanky dinner, a chauffeur, a limo, dinner and tickets to a Broadway show. That's just two tickets.. the kid that sold them wasn't invited.

The program ran uninterrupted on TV and radio until 1952 winning and losing their date with the high life on an applause meter. Two months later ABC picked up the radio series and re-shopped it for a sponsor. They didn't find one. Host Jack McCoy did a little work for NBC-TV but faded into obscurity. Nelson went on to MC quiz programs and eventually ended up managing 106.1 KPLM-FM in Palm Springs, CA.