Chance of a Lifetime (TV series)
|Chance of a Lifetime|
|Presented by||Dennis James (ABC)|
John Reed King (DuMont)
|Country of origin||United States|
|Running time||~25 minutes|
|Original network||ABC (1952-1953 and 1955-1956)|
|Original release||1952 –|
June 23, 1956
Three professional performers, usually singers, dancers or instrumentalists, competed. In the early version of the show, there were four contestants with the winner chosen by votes tallied by attendants in the audience.
In the later version, the winner of the first half, determined by an audience applause meter, then competed against a returning champion in the second half. After both champion and challenger, in that order, have performed, the audience applause meter determines the champion, who receives $1000 cash, the opportunity to return the following week, and a week's engagement at a popular nightspot.
Dennis James was the host of the ABC version which ended on August 20, 1953, and John Reed King was the host of the DuMont version, which ran from September 11, 1953, to June 17, 1955. ABC then brought the show back from July 3, 1955, to June 23, 1956. In 1954, comedian Jonathan Winters made his TV debut on the DuMont version of the show. Also in 1954, Diahann Carroll appeared on the show as a contestant four weeks in a row.
One episode of the DuMont version is held in the J. Fred MacDonald collection at the Library of Congress. Another episode, from the ABC run, is linked below.
- David Weinstein, The Forgotten Network: DuMont and the Birth of American Television (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2004) ISBN 1-59213-245-6
- Alex McNeil, Total Television, Fourth edition (New York: Penguin Books, 1980) ISBN 0-14-024916-8
- Tim Brooks and Earle Marsh, The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network TV Shows, Third edition (New York: Ballantine Books, 1964) ISBN 0-345-31864-1