Queen for a Day


aec.nstf3038dvd 7/9/15 New

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The genesis for Queen for a Day was the Dorothy Parker short story Horsie, all about a homely woman who takes a job as a nanny in the household of a selfish, insensitive couple. Months later, the husband receives a gift of an electric razor from "Horsie," out of gratitude for his kindnesses -- kindnesses which, of course, he never consciously extended. "Horsie" ended up as one of three short stories adapted to film by producer Robert Stillman in 1951. The unifying theme of the film was that each of the three female protagonists were contestants on the TV series Queen for a Day. You may remember that this long-running program was hosted by Jack Bailey, who on a daily basis selected one of three deserving women to be the recipient of fabulous prizes, the decision, which was made by the audience (there was an "applause meter" on the set), was predicated upon which of the three ladies had the saddest or most fascinating life story to tell. In addition to "Horsie," aka Miss Wilmarth (Edith Meiser), the other contestants in the film are Phyllis Avery and Kasia Orzazewski. Avery stars in the vignette titled "The Gossamer World," based on a John Answorth story, this episode concerns Avery's son Rudy Lee, a victim of polio. Orzazewski figures into the Faith Baldwyn story "High Diver," wherein she plays the immigrant mother of a college-bound boy (Adam Williams) who takes a job at a carnival to make ends meet. Queen for a Day was originally released as Horsie, until it was decided that the TV series' title was more saleable. (It wasn't, despite an aggressive ad campaign conducted on the Queen for a Day television program.) ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

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