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What's My Line?

Season 2 Episode 1


Aired Daily 12:00 AM Sep 13, 1950 on CBS
out of 10
User Rating
5 votes

By Users

Episode Summary


Game 1: "Policewoman" (a female)

Game 2: "Atomic Engineer" (a male)

Game 3: Bob Cummings (6/9/1910 - 12/2/1990) (as Mystery Guest)

Game 4: "Piano Tuner" (a male)

Game 5: "Seller of Cemetery Lots" (a female)

I have supplied the contestant data from Gil Fates' handwritten show logs which do not include the names of the regular contestants. - Suzanne (2007)

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    John Daly

    John Daly

    Moderator (1950-1967)

    Arlene Francis

    Arlene Francis

    Regular Panelist (1950-1967)

    Dorothy Kilgallen

    Dorothy Kilgallen

    Regular Panelist (1950-1965)

    Louis Untermeyer

    Louis Untermeyer

    Regular Panelist (1950-1951)

    Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


    • TRIVIA (0)

    • QUOTES (0)

    • NOTES (5)

      • FREE WILD GUESS: Dorothy probably won a "free wild guess" for the contestant in game two, the atomic engineer. Arlene Francis said the following in a December 20, 1952 TV DIGEST (Philadelphia) article: "Miss Kilgallen correctly wild-guessed an atomic scientist, because she said, 'If I were casting a play, he'd be just right for the part.'"

        For a history of the free wild guesses, see the notes to EPISODE #253 of April 10, 1955. - Suzanne (2008)


        An article about "What's My Line?" appeared in Time Magazine on September 17, 1951. The article is titled "The Vanishing Newsman" and it appears below. - Stan16mm (2008)

        (begin TIME quote -- original author unknown)

        The Vanishing Newsman

        Next to Joe Miller's joke book, the best source of inspiration for TV entertainers has long been parlor games. Many of these excursions into musical chairs and charades have deservedly died off. Of those that remain, What's My Line? (Sun. 10:30 p.m., CBS-TV), piloted by an amiable newsman named John Daly, is one of the very few to win an audience rating up with TV's top ten shows. "What's My Line?" comes in the standard half-hour size, equipped with a standard panel of four: Columnist Dorothy Kilgallen, Actress Arlene Francis, Funnyman Hal Block and a guest. By asking questions that can only be answered with a yes or no, the panelists try to discover the business occupations (which have already been flashed to the TV audience) of the lady wrestlers, tree surgeons, wig-makers, house detectives, sword swallowers, etc., who appear as challengers. Each "no" answer wins $5 for the challenger; if he can answer no ten times he gets credit for defeating the panel. This does not happen very often, and when it does, the panel seldom takes it lightly. Among the 5,000 letters received each week, a good number usually protest Miss Kilgallen's relentless onslaught (observed one TVman: "Dottie's butler gets very annoyed if she misses one"). Almost as many take issue with the puns Funnyman Block incorporates into his earnest questions. Others charge collusion, although Moderator Daly insists that there is only one signal he ever gives to the panel: when he pulls his right ear lobe it warns them, usually Block, that the questions are getting dangerously close to double entendre. In this emotion-charged atmosphere, Moderator John Daly appears to his fans as a knight in armor holding the panel in check, giving a helping hand to the challenger, and occasionally topping Hal Block's jokes. Daly is somewhat surprised himself at his master-of-ceremonies aptitude; his background for the job consists of five years as a White House correspondent, 2½ years as a radio war correspondent and 19 weeks playing the role of Editor Walter Burns in the ill-fated TV version of Front Page. Luck and accident have always played as big a part as pluck and perseverance in Daly's career. Born in South Africa of an American father and English mother, he studied medicine at Boston College and became a radio announcer in 1937 because, he explains, "a good friend of a friend of mine happened to be dating the secretary of an NBC sales manager in Washington." His success on What's My Line? won him another moderator's post in July with a CBS summer replacement quiz show called "It's News to Me." Last week, the sponsor, Sanka Coffee, announced that the show and Daly are set for a TV run through the winter. By virtue of a weekly ABC radio newscast, Daly still classifies himself as a newsman: he hopes to get going in October with a TV news show that will have not a single contestant or panel member on it.

      • FIVE GAMES TONIGHT: This is the third "lost to history" episode to features a total of five contestants. Although somewhat common in the early years, this practice was never seen in the later episodes. - agent_0042 (2008)

        FIVE GAMES IN 1955: The only surviving episode to contain five games is EPISODE #267 of July 17, 1955. - Suzanne (2008)

      • (1) JOEY ADAMS: Tonight's guest panelist, Joey Adams, was a fixture at the Friars Club for many years. By the 1970's, he was writing a daily column, "Strictly for Laughs," for the New York Post. His column continued until near his death in 1999. He was married to Cindy Adams (née Heller) from 1952 to his death; she would go on to become a gossip columnist (in the Post) and a prominent television personality. It is because of Mr. Adams that an actress with the same name, who first became famous in the 1990's, had to elongate her name to Joey Lauren Adams. - W-B (2007)
        (2) "LOVE THAT BOB": Tonight's long-lost episode also marked the first of a total of six appearances by actor Robert "Bob" Cummings. Five of them, up to and including his last appearance on EPISODE #727 of August 23, 1964, as well as this evening, were as a mystery guest; only once, on EPISODE #452 of February 15, 1959, did he sit on the panel. Another of Mr. Cummings' mystery guest appearances fell on the special West Coast EPISODE #397 of January 12, 1958, which originated from CBS's "Television City" studios in Hollywood, California. One of Bob's 1950 movies (out of a total of three) was "The Petty Girl," in which he played artist George Petty. This was significant, due to the real-life Mr. Petty subsequently appearing on EPISODE #285 of November 20, 1955. - W-B (2009)

      • Per Gil Fates' handwritten logs, no kinescope of this episode exists. It was destroyed by CBS before Gil Fates noticed the destruction policy in 1952 and began saving the kinescopes. Only about 10 episodes exist from February 1950 to July 1952. - Suzanne (2004)

        Joey Adams (1/6/1911 - 12/2/1999)

        Panel: Dorothy Kilgallen, Louis Untermeyer, Arlene Francis, Joey Adams. Hal Block had the night off.

    • ALLUSIONS (0)