Historical Highlight: Braymer Woman won big on a TV Gameshow
TV Game shows seem pretty common these days. A few popular ones like The Price is Right, Wheel of Fortune and Family Feud have continued to do well while many others have disappeared from the airwaves.
Occasionally someone from our area makes it onto one and some even win. I learned about an area woman that won big on one of the most popular and memorable gameshows ever. She was from Braymer Mo and her winnings amounted to a Private Hollywood Movie Screening, Lunch at the Brown Derby, Universal Studios tour, special tickets to a comedy show featuring Bob Newhart and a Vacation to the Jamaica Inn at Marina Del Mar. Other winnings included Westinghouse kitchen appliances, Club Aluminum cookware, an Alder Sewing Machine, Waste King Dishwasher, Amana Freezer full of frozen dinners and $300 worth of Music, Books and Clothing gift certificates.
What and when was the show? The show was called Queen For a Day. It was first a radio show in 1945 then moved to national TV in 1956. Host Jack Bailey would interview several women about their personal, financial and emotional hard times. After the interviews the audience would choose which of the ladies deserved to be crowned Queen for a Day. The show became one of the most popular shows on television.
Veva Nell Swindler Birch from Braymer Missouri appeared on a show in 1961 and won the grand prize. She told Jack and the audience about her 13 year old special needs son John. One of the prizes was a special wheelchair for him. The private movie screening was for the original film “Spartacus” featuring Kirk Douglas.
The 1950s and 60s were no doubt the golden age of TV gameshows so having someone from our local area win would have been big news around here. What’s also interesting is that out of thousands of Queen for a Day episodes, almost all of them have been destroyed by fire or mishandling. Only twelve episodes are known to still exist and the episode with Veva Swindler from Braymer is one of them. I watched Veva’s episode on Youtube and had to smile. It was nice to see that in 1961 a Braymer woman won big on a TV Gameshow.
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