King Neptune was the host of the earliest Miss America pageants. But when the contest moved to television in 1954, the selection of a host became an important consideration.

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Bob Russell (Who?) hosted the first Miss America telecast. The reason you don't recognize his name is that Bert Parks was chosen to host the second televised event. The choice was a good one, and he continued to host the pageant until he was replaced in what became a mild national brouhaha in 1980.

Ron Ely hosted the pageant in 1981 and 1982, but Gary Collins, husband of Miss America 1959 Mary Ann Mobley, hosted the pageant for 12 years before he himself was supplanted by the team of Regis Philbin and Kathie Lee Gifford. Soon after, the pageant began changing its hosts almost annually.

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