Some 300 women vied for the title of Miss Television of the New York World’s Fair during several days of competition in June of 1939. Actually, I don’t know if that was the contest title or not. Television listings in The New York Times for the week beginning Sunday, June 11th include three days of “scenes of contest for title of New York World’s Fair Television Girl, relayed from Fair Grounds” . The opening session was broadcast from 4-5:15PM on Thursday, June 15th, 1939, according to the daily listings in The New York Times . That day’s fair listings have the “World’s Fair television beauty contest” taking place on the stage at the Cavalcade of the Centaurs in the Amusement Area .
Television listings on Friday, June 16th show the “World’s Fair Television Girl Contest” running from 4-5PM . But while the weekly ratings indicated that the contest would continue on Saturday, June 17th at roughly the same time, that day’s television listings have “To Be Announced” running from 4-5:15PM . According to a weekly program for the World’s Fair, the “final judging” for the World’s Fair Television Beauty Contest began at 3PM . Was it shown on television? Based on these television listings it doesn’t seem so, but there’s no way of knowing.
So who won the contest? Well, it was open only to women working at the fairgrounds and, as mentioned earlier, a total of 300 entered. The New York Times reported on June 18th that the winner was a 21-year-old acrobat named Caroyl Smith who worked on the “Amazons” production at the fair. The “judges based their decision on beauty, personality and teleganic [sic] qualities” and, interestingly, “the judges were seated in the RCA exhibit while the contestants paraded before the television camera on the platform of the Cavalcade of Centaurs, two and one half miles away” .
What was Smith’s prize? Aside from bragging rights, she won a television set.
1 “Notes on Television.” New York Times. 11 Jun. 1939: X8.
2 “Today on the Radio.” New York Times. 15 Jun. 1939: 38.
3 “The Fair Today.” New York Times. 15 Jun. 1939: 21.
4 “Today on the Radio.” New York Times. 16 Jun. 1939: 46.
5 “Today on the Radio.” New York Times. 17 Jun. 1939: 32.
6 “The Coming Week at the Fair: A Page of Information for the Sightseer.” New York Times. 17 Jun. 1939: 8.
7 “‘Miss Television’ Chosen.” New York Times. 18 Jun. 1939: 33.