As a child, I had the opportunity, but rarely took the time, to watch “This is Your Life,” hosted by Ralph Edwards during the 1952 to 1961 TV seasons. Archived episodes, which may be freely downloaded and watched, include “This is Your Life, Lou Costello” and “This is Your Life, Dick Clark” and “This is Your Life, Jesse Owens,” As I enjoyed these episodes, I could not fail to notice the human and historic interest as well as incredible entertainment value, all of which force me to ask, Is it time for a remake of this groundbreaking classic?
Additional Currently Available Episodes
What other episodes are available for free viewing and downloading at www.archive.org? What would you say to Boris Karloff, Milton Berle, Laurel and Hardy, Jayne Mansfield, Duke Kahanamoku (the “father” of surfing), Holocaust survivor Hannah Bloch Kohner, and Pearl Harbor survivor, Rear Admiral Samuel G. Fuqua?
Positive Features of “This is Your Life”
The famous person featured was alive and was unaware he or she was to be the guest of Ralph Edwards. Combining this element of surprise with visits from key members of the guests past life and the short interview period, human interest so lacking in other biographical presentations that resemble documentaries comes strongly to the fore. “This is Your Life” revealed the ordinary lives of seemingly extraordinary people.
Is It Time for the Remake?
Is it time for a remake of this entertainment icon? Perhaps so, if another feature could be included from the days of television’s past-the live presentation! Yes, live television. Why not? Live television provided the atmospheric element so sadly missing from the technological productions of today. The main problem with live productions is the sophisticated audience’s demand for perfection. In a close and up front personal interview, such live action, complete with whatever flaws might result would add, rather than detract from the show.
Who Should Host the Show?
Such a media vehicle should not be ruined by having a young, ill-informed, attractive female host it. Rather, an older and respected individual would be the better choice. Perhaps an Allen Alda sort-a well educated and humble sort could best emcee a program discussing the life of someone prominent.
What the Show Should Not Be
The life of the guest should be fairly and compassionately portrayed, with the interviews not being glossed or glitzy media pabulum. Persons whose lives are shallow or selfish should not appear on “This is Your Life,” but rather, sincerity, genuineness, and kindness would fit best.
The Museum of Broadcast Communications – “This Is Your Life”
Game Show Congress – Ralph Edwards
Ralph Edwards Productions