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."
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.
Back to Top