What's My Line?

Show Reviews (18)

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  • 8.5

    Was Hubert Humphrey ever on What's My Line?

    By DenisK, May 03, 2012

    I have a photo that suggests Hubert Humphrey (either as Senator or Vice-President) was on What's My Line?---but I can't seem to find the episode in the index guide. Can anyone confirm if/when he was a guest?

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  • 10

    Random Talent!

    By T_VFan, May 01, 2012

    Thinking under pressure, singing under pressure with never before heard songs... this is the best of the best acting and singing you can find on tv! Great piano playing! That lady is my hero!

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  • 10

    A True Classic!

    By PatinPDX, Apr 09, 2012

    Although I was born in 1956, I have fond memories of "What's My Line?" In the 1960's my mother would wake me up at 10:00 on Sunday night to watch "Candid Camera" and "What's My Line?" As a child my favorite segments were the Mystery Guest spots. Watching all those big stars gurgle and goo and falsetto and basso profundo their voices to avoid being detected were so funny to me. As an adult, I appreciate even more the wild humor as the panel would ask questions that were either unintentionally suggestive or legitimate, but going down the wrong path, like Steve Allen asking a man who made feedbags for horses if "a new father would have difficulty putting it on." My lifelong love of puns began with Bennett Cerf, and thank you for that, sir. This was one of the true greats of the genre. I still miss it. I don't think you could replicate it today. There just aren't folks like John Daly, Bennett Cerf, Arlene Francis or Dorothy Kilgallen around today, people who could be witty and intelligent off the top of their heads. These days even the best of the lot are vacuous and fluffy-headed compared to these "Fab Four."moreless

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  • 10

    Simply the best game show ever.

    By hankgillette, Dec 27, 2011

    There’s no doubt about it; this long-running classic game show was the best ever. The game was deceptively simple; a guest came in and signed his or her name. The panel of four people then tried to ascertain the person’s job by asking yes or no questions. The panelist continued asking questions as long as the question receives a “yes” answer. If the job had not been guessed before the panel received 10 negative responses, the contestant won the grand prize of $50.

    The show was greatly helped by being anchored for most of its run by the same moderator, newsman John Charles Daly, and three of the four panelist positions: publisher Bennett Cerf, actress Arlene Francis, and newspaper columnist Dorothy Kilgallen. The fourth panelist chair was filled by several people over the first few years, including Steve Allen and Fred Allen, before settling into using revolving guest panelists. Because of their intelligence, experience, and obvious enjoyment of the game, the panel had amazing success with guessing a myriad variety of occupations.

    One enjoyable aspect of the game was the mystery guest. Every week, for one of the games, the panel would put on blindfolds and try to guess the identity of a famous celebrity. The celebrities were usually in the entertainment field, but also included such luminaries as Eleanor Roosevelt, Bishop Sheen, and Frank Lloyd Wright. Watching the mystery guest is a great way to see the changes in popular culture 40-50 years ago, as TV western stars and rock and roll singers start appearing as mystery guests.

    Naturally, with a show that started over 50 years ago, there are aspects that seem strange to our modern sensibilities. The moderator, Mr. Daly, invariably asked women guests if they were “Miss or Mrs.” The male panelists, especially Mr. Cerf, felt no reservations about remarking on a woman’s beauty or figure. The panel often had trouble guessing a woman’s occupation if it was not normally associated with “women’s work”. Black guests were rare, and most of them were the celebrity mystery guest. None of this seems to have been done with any malice though, and simply reflects the times.

    The show is an artifact of another era. The men panelists and moderator wore formal wear, and the women wore evening gowns. The panelists were intelligent and witty, and were polite to each other and to the guests. The overall feel is closer to the Algonquin Round Table than Jerry Springer.

    I don\'t know if such a show could survive today, much less thrive. But I certainly wish they would try.moreless

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  • 9.0

    Bennett's Cinderella references

    By Anibean, Oct 29, 2008

    Bennett's mention of "glass slippers" and calling John "Prince Charming" during the introduction referred to the live airing, earlier that evening, of Rodgers and Hammerstein's "Cinderella", an event that attracted 107 million viewers. Starring Julie Andrews and Edie Adams, the show wasn't seen again until PBS aired it in December 2004. Commissioned by CBS in response to NBC's production of "Peter Pan" starring Mary Martin, "Cinderella" was re-made in 1965 starring Lesley Ann Warren and Celeste Holm. Andrews, Adams and Holm all appeared on WML.

    I attempted to add this to the "comments" section of the page but was stimied so have resorted to a review.moreless

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  • 9.5

    WML? was a true American TV show classic. Though often called a "game show," it was really considered more of a panel show. Contestants competed for up to fifty bucks, hoping to stump the panel on their line. Each ep also featured a famous mystery guest.

    By agent_0042, Jan 30, 2008

    "What's My Line?" was a wildly successful panel show broadcast on CBS. The popular nighttime version lasted for seventeen years, and was followed up by a daytime version with different hosts and in full color. The series lives in nightly repeats on GSN.

    I first discovered "What's My Line?" after I got satellite TV and gained access to GSN -- known at the time as Game Show Network. I didn't become a regular watcher of the show at first, but soon came to watch/tape it more and more. Then, I discovered the guide for the show at TV Tome, which became TV.com not long after I discovered the show.

    "What's My Line?" featured a fairly simple format for its basic game, but it was one that kept it going for a really long time. Of course, while the game was solid, pretty much everyone agrees it was the excellent host and lively panel that kept the show alive for so long. What many don't know is that when the program first started out, it very nearly sunk. The first episode was very different to what the program later became. People regularly smoked on the show, there was a general feel of lack-of-polish, and the key panel-members were not yet in place.

    Though "What's My Line?" was designed as entertainment program, viewers watching it today will learn a lot of interesting history. You'll learn what occupations were common at the time of the show, important news events from those days, key celebrities and figures of influence, as well as other interesting factoids and trivia.

    Another fun reason to watch the show was the various rotating panel members and interesting mystery challengers. The program established for a while a regular panel of Arlene Francis, Steve Allen, Dorothy Kilgallen, and Bennett Cerf (father of Christopher Cerf -- co-creator of another of my favorite shows, "Between the Lions.") This was a great team, each with their own style. Kilgallen was great at playing the game and brought some interesting antics. Cerf was a master of bad puns, but also great at the game, and well-respected in his field of publishing. Allen was an excellent humorist and established the show's trademark "Is it bigger than a breadbox?" question. And Francis was a charming star, who always acted with class, and brought a lot of joy to the panel. Other regular panelists included Hal Block, and, after Kilgallen died -- Suzy Knickerbocker and Phyllis Newman. Mystery challengers on the program included everyone from Frank Sinatra to Joe Nuxhall.

    If "What's My Line?" had one flaw, it was a tendency to get a bit too talky at times. I would watch full episodes while GSN was airing the program on a weekly basis, but now that they've returned it to daily airings, I've taking to fast-forwarding through some of the talkier portions of the show. It's the only way for me to stay sane. Still, all in all, this is an awesome show that will live forever in television history.moreless

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  • 9.3

    it may be way before my time but it's a great great show.

    By JLU51306, Jan 22, 2007

    the best game show there is and I love it, 4 people trying to guess someone's job which they don't know, which is always a crazy job, and they ask questions and if they get the anwser yes to there question they can ask another question but if the anwser no to there question then it moves on to the next judge until the amount of questions they ask is up or the get the persons job right, and if they guess the persons job right the jugdes win but if they run out of question before they guess his job right the person wins, and that to me is the best game show ever.moreless

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  • 9.0

    It could\\\'t have been the last- I was on it in 1974!

    By bearbq, Dec 15, 2006

    It could\\\'t have been the last. I was on the show in 1974 , and I have the correspondance. taped Thursday JULY 18 1974. I was the person \\\"crystal ball cutter\\\" I believe the episode was #2474 Is there any way I can get a copy. .........Also ded To tell the truth #1972 the same year. Thank you.

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  • 9.9

    One of the more interesting game shows of the 1950s.

    By ignatzb, Apr 11, 2006

    It\'s difficult to imagine today a game show with a host who is moonlighting from his regular job as one of the most respected television journalists in the country. It\'s difficult to imagine today a game show without either idiots, infantilists, or clueless drabs as a substantial part of the panel or guest roster. This show featured a homey intelligence and a respect for literacy and eloquence that is sorely missed in today\'s descendants of the genre. It\'s occasionally hokey, sometimes a bit too hoity-toity, but for the most part these people make one glad to have spent a half hour with them, and the game, despite its relative primitivism, is still quite fun.moreless

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