What's My Line?

Season 5 Episode 3


Aired Sunday 10:30 PM Sep 20, 1953 on CBS



  • Notes

    • GAME ONE PRIZE WINNINGS: In a very unusual move, just before the mystery guest segment of the show, John announced that the Wooden Indian maker from the first game would receive the full $50 prize, due to the fact that they didn't guess he made wooden Indians, they only guessed he was a sculptor. During the actual game, they had stopped at $25 when Dorothy guessed that he was a sculptor. The panel made several wild guesses, but was never able to guess the medium he worked with, and John finally gave up and told the panel he sculpted wooden Indians. - Garrison Skunk (2004)

      A LITTLE SPECULATION ON THE "PRIZE PACKAGE" - Did each contestant receive, or did each contestant not receive, the full $50 prize for his appearance, regardless of what was actually acknowledged on the flip cards during the show? I'm going to speculate that they did receive the full $50, for several reasons:

      (1) It was openly acknowledged on another Goodson-Todman quiz show of the same era, "The Name's the Same," that the contestants were paid their winnings from the talent fees of the celebrity panel. We see a similar arrangement on a current quiz show, "Win Ben Stein's Money." Read - if you can - the fine print at the end of each episode of that show. Ben is paid to appear as host - a substantial payment, to be sure - and winners' earnings are deducted from that amount. Thus, the WML panel was possibly given an incentive to really work, because their income could have been directly affected by their effectiveness.

      (2) Remember the context of these quiz shows. Television was in its infancy, and to be fortunate enough to appear on television was a H-U-G-E claim to fame in itself. Hometown newspapers would often publicize the fact that a local resident appeared on such-and-such a show. Contestants, for the most part, would gladly have appeared at no charge. (Witness the sign-wavers outside the "Today Show" studio.) The winnings, though talked up on the show, were possibly incidental. In subsequent years, the WML winnings were showcased less and less. - Lee McIntyre (2004)

      WML PRIZE WINNINGS: I doubt that the prize winnings were paid from the panelists' salaries on WML. If they had been, Gil Fates probably would have discussed it in his 1978 WML book when he wrote about their salary earnings. In addition, we know that gambits existed. The star who performed the gambit would have been intentionally sacrificing the panel's chance to win in order to carry out the gambit, which "wastes time" for the payoff of laughs. - Suzanne (2004)