"Trust your hunches. Hunches are usually based on facts filed away just below the conscious level." - Dr. Joyce Brothers
Dr. Brothers’ rise to international fame began in 1955. Struggling with raising a daughter in New York City on her husband’s $50 a month intern salary, she entered Revlon’s trivia game show The $64,000 Question. According to the show’s rules, she had to choose an area outside of her profession to be quizzed on. She chose boxing, a favorite sport of her husband’s. She studied for several months before appearing on the show, during which she had to answer profoundly obscure boxing-related questions. She progressed through the weeks and eventually won the top prize, $64,000. Two years later, she appeared on the spin-off The $64,000 Challenge and won the top prize again. This began her decades-long career on television and her ongoing tie to games.
Shortly after winning The $64,000 Question, Dr. Brothers teamed up with her trivia trainer and former Olympic boxing champion Edward P.F. Eagan to write 10 Days to a Successful Memory, the first of the 10 books she would write. Dr. Brothers credited her win to her photographic memory and quick reading skills. As speed reading and memorization gained popularity during the 1960s, Dr. Brothers was brought in by the Reading Development Center to offer a program for rapid reading and retention.
Reading Development Center pamphlet on Dr. Brothers' Rapid Reading Program and ticket to a demonstration, 1968.
After winning The $64,000 Question, Dr. Brothers maintained her love for games, toys, and trivia. She appeared on countless game shows and supplied material for several, including Jeopardy! and Hollywood Squares. She would frequently appear on variety and late-night shows, such as Late Night with Johnny Carson and The Merv Griffin Show. Throughout her career she supported and advocated for the toy and game industry.
Publicity for Dungeons & Dragons, 1982-1984.
In the early 1980s, Dr. Brothers was a spokesperson for TSR, Inc.’s Dungeons & Dragons. She traveled the country speaking to audiences and news shows about the many benefits of role-playing games for children and families. She also addressed two common concerns of the time: no, Dungeons & Dragons had no ties to Satan or any cults, and no, role playing games would not drive you to commit murder or other acts of violence.
Talking points for the benefits of Nintendo's Gameboy Advance Pokemon Sapphire and Pokemon Ruby, 2003.
Two decades after working with TSR, Dr. Brothers teamed up with Nintendo to provide some professional advice on the benefits of video games, namely Pokemon Sapphire and Pokemon Ruby. Her talking points, including ones on war and learning development, are listed. In contrast to the concerns of the 1980s, the marketing tactics of post-2001 America involved the idea that games can help children process fears associated with war and acts of large-scale violence.
Photograph of Dr. Brothers, shown from the back on the far left, appearing in front of celebrities on “The Celebrity Game," circa 1964-1965.
Dr. Brothers’ script for “What’s My Line?”, where panelists guess who the mystery celebrity guest is through a series of questions, circa 1965-1970.
Photograph of Dr. Brothers, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, and Mayor John Lindsay with the New York Lottery, circa 1969.