Judge for Yourself
|Judge for Yourself|
Fred Allen with The Skylarks in 1954. At left is Joe Hamilton.
|Genre||Quiz program/nontraditional court show|
|Presented by||Fred Allen|
|Narrated by||Don Pardo|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||1|
|Executive producer(s)||Mark Goodson
|Running time||25 minutes|
|Original release||August 18, 1953– May 11, 1954|
|Preceded by||The Armstrong Circle Theatre (9:30 EST)|
|Followed by||On the Line with Considine (10:30 EST)|
Judge for Yourself, at first subtitled The Fred Allen Show, is a Mark Goodson and Bill Todman nontraditional court show/quiz show, with comedian Fred Allen as the emcee. It aired on NBC from August 18, 1953, to May 11, 1954. Don Pardo was the show's announcer, with Dennis James doing plugs for primary sponsor Old Gold.
Each week three performers – singers, dancers, musicians, or comedians – were judged by two panels, one of professional entertainers and the other from the studio audience. If one of the amateur judges rated the acts 1, 2, or 3 in the same order as the celebrities, that individual would win a $1,000 prize. Two instrumental jazz groups that appeared on Judge for Yourself had considerable success thereafter, vibraphonist Terry Gibbs and the Marian McPartland Trio.
The original intent of the series was to allow Allen to interact with guests, much as Groucho Marx did on his own NBC series, You Bet Your Life. The complicated format first employed, however, was revamped in the middle of the season. On the episode which aired on January 5, 1954, the professional judges were dropped, and the studio audience panel rated new songs to predict future hits, the comparable format of ABC's Jukebox Jury, which also aired in the 1953–54 season.
The songs were performed by a regular cast of Bob Carroll, the Skylarks, Kitty Kallen (two episodes), and Judy Johnson. The winning judge of the songs was selected on the basis of applause meter voting by the studio audience, a format also adopted thereafter on the NBC/ABC daytime reality show, Queen for a Day, hosted by Jack Bailey.
Judge for Yourself aired at 10 p.m. EST on Tuesdays, opposite The United States Steel Hour, then on ABC. It followed The Armstrong Circle Theatre. After Judge for Yourself folded, Allen appeared for the last two years of his life from 1954 to 1956 on What's My Line, a long-running CBS game show in which a celebrity panel try to determine the occupation of contestants through yes-or-no questions, as well as identify (while blindfolded) the mystery guest (a celebrity of note).
- Judge for Yourself in Tim Brooks and Earle Marsh, A Complete Directory to Prime Time Cable and Network TV Shows , 1946 – Present, p. 622. New York: Random House Publishing, 2003. Retrieved June 11, 2011.
- Alex McNeil, Total Television, p. 441.
- Alex McNeil, Total Television, Network television schedule, appendix.
- "Fred Allen Dies While on Stroll. Won Fame as Wit on Radio After a Stage Career". The New York Times. March 18, 1956. Retrieved June 11, 2011.