Thanks to the Game Show Network, I discovered a lot of old 50s game shows when I was living the life of a night owl at college. However, the one that I always found myself really fascinated with was “What’s My Line,” where a four person panel had to guess the occupation of ordinary folks. The regulars on the show were columnist Dorothy Kilgallen, TV and stage personality Arlene Francis (who brought warmth and charm to the entire series) and publisher Bennett Cerf. Many other stars made guest appearances on the panel, but these three were the mainstays for most of the original run. The host was John Charles Daly (no relation) who moderated all questions.
The special gimmick each week was to have a mystery guest appear on the show. The panelists would be blindfolded and they would have to guess which star was in their midst. Based in NY, the panelists and guests ran the gamut from A-list movie stars to noted politicians and diplomats – practically everyone you could think of appeared on the show during its run, including Eleanor Roosevelt.
For each question wrong, the guest would receive $5, with a limit at $50. For celebrities, their winnings would go to charity. I have to warn you, it’s very easy to get swept up in watching these clips. Sometimes I find myself spending an hour going from one segment to another – just so addicting and a show that I think could still work today, if any daring TV producer decided to revive it.
Anyway, while Angela Lansbury was appearing on Broadway in Mame, she made an appearance as the weekly mystery challenger. Enjoy.