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Be What You Want

Producer: Bowes Productions
Host: Bob Warren
Assistant: Marjorie Lord
Taping Info: April 23, 1953, probably in Los Angeles
Made it to Air: No
Availability: UCLA Archive

In the vogue of the original Strike it Rich or Queen for a Day, NBC tried Be What You Want, a show where average Janes and Joes get to try being what they really want to be. Since Bob Warren was trying to branch out from being a local KNBC personality, he got to be the host. And since here big break on The Danny Thomas Show was still four years away, Marjorie Lord got to be the assistant.

The first three segments involved people who wanted to have different professions. The first guy was Lou, a taxi driver who wanted to be a psychologist. He got to try out being one, counseling a patient who was a psychologist himself. Although he did not win a job or at least a board certification, he did win a 21 inch TV set. The second contestant was Stanley, a bartender who wanted to be a lawyer. After a small mock trial, he won law books. Finally, Ida wanted to be a judge at Mr. America. She got to judge three contestants, one of which was the Mr. America 1947, Hercules himself, Steve Reeves (who she didn't pick), but ended up being a judge for the 1953 contest.

Eddie Cantor was then brought in to tell this long, rambling story that had nothing to do with the show. However, his presence there was necessary for the fourth and final tear jerker, one Maureen Horsley, a 14-year-old girl who wanted to take dancing lessons, but couldn't because of polio and the costs incurred. Eddie Cantor agreed to bankroll three months of classes with Hollywood choreographer Nick Castle, and would also put Maureen on his Colgate Comedy Hour in three months time if she was any good.

A nice period piece, but I think even NBC knew in the back of their minds that this concept would be trouble week in and week out. Having four stories per week would have meant having to construct four sets and find people that could help in the other people's fantasies. Very hard work for 1953. The credits listed the show as a "Bowes production", whether or not this had anything to do with Major Bowes of Amateur Hour fame is unknown, I haven't been able to find a single reference about this show anywhere.

This pilot has been viewed 8659 times since October 6, 2008 and was last modified on Dec 12, 2009 14:46 ET
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