Show: Remembering When

Episode: 868-088 What's My Line


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Episode Description:

What's My Line? was a panel game show which originally ran in the United States on the CBS Television Network from 1950 to 1967, with several international versions and subsequent U.S. revivals. The game tasked celebrity panelists with questioning contestants in order to determine their occupations. It is the longest-running U.S. primetime network television game-show (51st show). Moderated by John Charles Daly and with panelists Dorothy Kilgallen, Arlene Francis, and Bennett Cerf, What's My Line? won three Emmy Awards for "Best Quiz or Audience Participation Show," in 1952, 1953, and 1958 and the Golden Globe for Best TV Show in 1962.

After its cancellation by CBS in 1967, it returned in syndication as a daily production which ran from 1968 until 1975. There have been several international versions, radio versions, and a live stage version.

Produced by Mark Goodson and Bill Todman for CBS Television, the show was initially called Occupation Unknown before deciding on the name What's My Line?. The original series, which was usually broadcast live, debuted on Thursday February 2, 1950 at 8:00 p.m. ET. After airing alternate Wednesdays, then alternate Thursdays, finally on October 1, 1950 it had settled into its weekly Sunday 10:30 p.m. ET slot where it would remain until the end of its network run on September 3, 1967. The show was produced at CBS Studio 52 and, towards the end of its run, at the Ed Sullivan Theater in New York City.

From May 20, 1952 to July 1, 1953, a CBS Radio version was produced on Tuesday nights with the same cast as the TV version. The radio version is notable for the only appearances of Marlene Dietrich and Marlon Brando.

The program began with Daly and panel entering from off-stage as they were introduced. Prior to 1954, both panelists and host began the program in their seats, but this was changed responding to letters asking what panelists looked like away from their seats. The first panelist would be introduced by the announcer following the show's introduction, and each panelist would introduce the next in turn, with the last introducing Daly. During his tenure, Hal Block sat in the final seat and began the practice of introducing Daly with a pun. Upon his departure, Bennett Cerf took over this position and expanded these introductions, often telling long jokes which he tied to Daly in some way.

To begin a round, Daly would invite the contestant to "come in and sign in, please" which by 1960 evolved to the more familiar "enter and sign in, please." The contestant entered by writing his or her name on a small sign-in board. Daly would then usually ask where the guest lived and, with a woman, if she should be addressed as "Miss" or "Mrs." Early in the show's run, the panel was allowed to inspect contestants, studying their hands, or label on their suit or asking them to make a muscle.

While ostensibly a game show, if there was time, it was also was an opportunity to conduct interviews. Line’s sister show, I've Got a Secret (and later the syndicated version of WML) engaged in the practice of contestants' demonstrating their talents. However, despite frequent requests by the panel (particularly Arlene Francis) such demonstrations rarely occurred as according to executive producer Gil Fates, Daly was not fond of this practice.

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SD (Standard Definition) File

File Name of SD Episode: 868-088 Whats My Line.mpg

Total SD Episode Video Runtime (hh:mm:ss): 00:32:14

File Size of SD Episode Video: 1,509,282,392 Bytes

Resolution of SD Episode Video: 720x480

Date SD Episode Video Uploaded: Tuesday, February 19, 2013 - 20:05


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