Reality TV is all over television these days. It seems they’ll make a reality TV show out of pretty much anything, from pawn shops to poor housekeeping, but shows dealing with love and marriage are tops in popularity. We’re not sure whether the draw is in the drama or if people think these shows are romantic, but it looks like they’re here to stay. However, reality shows about love and marriage aren’t exactly new.
The Gazette.com website, out of Iowa, has a great story on a reality TV wedding that wasn’t just for fans and didn’t end in scandal or divorce.
Sixty years ago, a couple named Mary Lou Massingham of Walker, IA married Don Ellis of Toddville, IA on the nationally broadcast show, “Bride and Groom.” August 6th is their 60th wedding anniversary.
From 1951 to 1953, CBS aired “Bride and Groom” as a fifteen-minute segment in between soap operas. About 70,000 couples applied to be on the show each year. Mary Lou’s mother, Gladys, became a fan of the show and after Don asked for her daughter’s hand in marriage, she decided to apply on their behalf.
We hadn’t set a date,” Mary Lou says. “My mother wrote in and told our story. They set Aug. 6.”
Producers liked the idea that Mary Lou had played basketball in high school.
Back in those days,” she says, “there weren’t that many girl basketball players in the country.”
For the bride and groom, the show offered quite a prize package. The show gave them everything from a wedding gown to the rings to a new gas stove, courtesy of the show’s sponsors. General Mills even provided a weeklong honeymoon at Hidden Valley Dude Ranch in Lake Luzerne, NY.
So you see, reality TV weddings are nothing new. Maybe the drama is. Probably the failure rate is.
If you’d like to see how the reality TV wedding was done sixty years ago, check out the black and white video of Mary Lou and Don’s wedding. You can access it from the Gazette site and you really should. This is the kind of reality TV romance that we need to see.