What's My Line?

Season 6 Episode 3


Aired Daily 12:00 AM Sep 19, 1954 on CBS



  • Trivia

  • Quotes

  • Notes

    • (1) TECH NOTES: At the time of tonight's special episode, CBS's rare color telecasts were produced and aired in the NTSC-based "compatible color" (dot sequential) system developed by RCA, which owned rival network NBC. This system had been adopted in 1953 by the Federal Communications Commission, two years after approving CBS's own "field-sequential" color system (which was incompatible with the NTSC system), and then forcing an end to such telecasts (but curiously, not of regular black-and-white broadcasts) some four months later, in the middle of the Korean War, in 1951. The failure of CBS's own color system left a bitter aftertaste within the network that lingered for the next decade or more, and ensured that any color telecasts from the "Eye Network" in the ten-year period from tonight's "WML?" edition would be extremely few and far between. For this show, the cameras used were the RCA TK-40 color camera, which employed three 3" image-orthicon tubes (red, blue and green) to produce the picture. This camera would be followed by the longer-running (and similar-looking) TK-41, which was first introduced later in this year of 1954, and would be the predominant color camera in the broadcast industry for the next decade, until the introduction of Philips' "Norelco" PC-60 color camera in 1965.
      (2) CBS STUDIO 72, POST-"WML?": CBS continued to produce the occasional color special from this studio in the years since tonight's special "WML?" presentation. One such notable special was the December 25, 1958 production of Tchaikovsky's "The Nutcracker" which aired on "Playhouse 90"; that show had the distinction of being the first CBS program to be videotaped in color. In later years, the former CBS Studio 72 (which was maintained by the network as late as at least 1964, the year that the CBS Broadcast Center on West 57th Street became fully operational) would be taken over by a production company called Teletape (later Reeves Teletape). Perhaps the most famous programs to emanate from that studio were the long-running PBS children's show "Sesame Street," which was taped there in its first thirteen years (1969-1982) on the air; and another classic PBS kids' series, "The Electric Company," for its entire 1971-1977 run. - W-B (2008)

    • Per Gil Fates' handwritten logs, no kinescope of this episode exists. It was accidently destroyed. WHAT A SHAME! - Suzanne (2004)

      For a 1950 to 1967 timeline of the CBS studios used by What's My Line?, see the notes to EPISODE #1. - Suzanne Astorino

    • In 1954, What's My Line? became the first panel show to air in color, with this special program that aired on September 19, 1954. Broadcasting from CBS Studio 72, the women panelists were featured in gowns created especially for the show. Color episodes on a regular basis would not begin however until 12 years later, beginning with EPISODE #830 of September 11, 1966, when the show moved to CBS Studio 50, now known as The Ed Sullivan Theatre. - Jason Colflesh (2004)


      This episode is notable for several reasons:
      1. It was the first and only WML telecast in CBS's
      experimental color.
      2. It was telecast from CBS Studio 72 on Manhattan's Upper West Side, located on Broadway at 81st Street.
      3. It was Steve Allen's last program as a regular panelist.
      4. B&W photos of this show exist in the CBS Photo Archive.
      5. A color photo taken of the panel this evening was used on the album cover of the 1958 WML DOT LP record.

      See a photo of the 1958 DOT What's My Line? LP here:


      - Suzanne Astorino (2004)

    • This is Steve Allen's last episode as a regular panelist, having been a panel member for twenty-one months. In June 1953, he began hosting the local New York "Tonight!" show. Now, this show is going national next following week. This show eventually evolves into "The Tonight Show." Steve will be replaced on the WML panel by Fred Allen, who will be a regular panelist until his untimely death in 1956. - Suzanne (2003)

      Panel: Dorothy Kilgallen, Steve Allen, Arlene Francis, Bennett Cerf.

  • Allusions