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Meters 

Applause Meter - Electronic meter device used to register the intensity of the applause of a studio audience during both the days of radio and television. During the 1950s the game show QUEEN FOR A DAY/NBC/ABC/1956-64 used the applause meter to determine who had the saddest story. The needle on the meter ranged from 0-100. The best sob story won the prizes and the privilege of wearing the jeweled crown and sable-collared robe to the accolade "I now pronounce you...Queen for a Day."

Krusty the clown using an Applause-O-Meter on THE SIMPSONS
Applause-O-Meter used by Krusty on The Simpsons

ARTHUR GODFREY'S TALENT SCOUTS/CBS/1948-58 also used this device. Winners were decided by a combination of scores tabulated by the applause meter, phone calls and mail from home viewers. He used a meter manufactured by the Daven Co., Newark, New Jersey.

Ironically, during the quiz show scandals of the 1950s, it was discovered that the applause meters on the show were rigged in favor of contestants who wanted a product the show could promote.

Both late night talk show hosts Johnny Carson of the TONIGHT SHOW and David Letterman of LATE NIGHT WITH DAVID LETTERMAN occasionally polled their studio audiences ("and we all know how painful that can be") using the loudness of the applause to indicate their preferences to questions asked.


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