This is Your Life was often criticized as taking advantage of the subjects and being a form of voyeurism. Ralph Edwards countered that criticism by saying that the celebration of the subject's lives was meant to inspire the viewers. He insisted that every subject pass the test of "Love thy neighbor". Their lives had to have been "constructive" in nature. They must have either been given exceptional help by another or must have given exceptional help to someone else.
The idea for This is Your Life evolved in an interesting way! Ralph Edwards was hosting the radio version of the popular game show, "Truth or Consequences". On one episode in 1946, he told a short story about the past life of a World War II veteran who was having problems making the adjustment from war to civilian life. There were so many positive letters, phone calls, and telegrams about that segment that Edwards developed a new radio show called, "This is Your Life" which went on the air in 1948. In 1952 it moved to television!
“This Is Your Life, Harriet Chance! is a pleasurable mix of the crazy escapades, changing relationships and thoughtful reflections that make up a life.” —The Toronto Star