What's My Line? Forums

CBS (ended 1967)

Popularity of What's My Line?

  • Avatar of jimarnone

    jimarnone

    [41]Nov 7, 2005
    • member since: 06/25/05
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    lovewml wrote:
    Yes. You are correct, sir. I now recall reading that in the Gil Fate's book. But what does I.I.N.M. mean?


    IINM is an Internet initialism that stands for "If I'm Not Mistaken." (see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IINM)

    I didn't know this either until I google'd it ...

    Larry Blyden was to host an ABC program called "Showoffs" less than a month after his untimely death in an auto accident, according to an interesting WML page at: http://www.curtalliaume.com/wml.html
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  • Avatar of The1Factotum1i1

    The1Factotum1i1

    [42]Nov 8, 2005
    • member since: 07/20/05
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    He actually filmed the SHOWOFFS pilot, and it was sold,perhaps with Larry's easygoing enthusiasm playing a large part. So he was all set to do the series when he returned from his ultimately tragic holiday in Morrocco. The show went on, (with Bobby Van) and only lasted from 30 June to 26 December.
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  • Avatar of W-B

    W-B

    [43]Dec 7, 2005
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    The1Factotum1i1 wrote:
    Yes, that's right. Idon't think G-T had anything to do with it by then, CBS was full owner.

    I should note that in the first three years of the syndicated WML?, CBS was listed as copyright holder (i.e. "© ____ Columbia Broadcasting System, Inc."). It wasn't until 1971 that Viacom began being listed as distributor. That year, my friends, was when Viacom was formed as a spinoff of CBS's syndicated division. Thus it is a tad ironic in the sense of Viacom now owning CBS!
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  • Avatar of ClassicTV

    ClassicTV

    [44]Dec 7, 2005
    • member since: 10/22/05
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    W-B wrote:
    It wasn't until 1971 that Viacom began being listed as distributor. That year, my friends, was when Viacom was formed as a spinoff of CBS's syndicated division. Thus it is a tad ironic in the sense of Viacom now owning CBS!


    I, too, found Viacom's acquisition of CBS ironic. It was the young upstart "child" becoming in charge of the well-established, staid "parent". But it was also somewhat of a family reunion in that it brought many of the Viacom series back under the umbrella ownership of CBS, the network on which many of those shows originally appeared.

    I guess that the acquisition shows the serious cash flow that can be generated by selling the temporary broadcast rights of reruns to the highest bidder in each television market.

    Those roughly twenty-five years of Viacom renting out "I Love Lucy", "The Beverly Hillbillies", "The Twilight Zone", and the other titles in its library to local TV stations and later cable networks apparently grossed more revenue than CBS, with higher overhead costs, could rake in by selling ad time within new series. It's no wonder that Desi Arnaz later regretted selling back his series to CBS.

    (Viacom also received ad revenue from its extensive inventory of billboards and other interests.)

    Another surprising media acquisition was America On Line, in existence for less than ten years, purchasing the approximately seventy-five year old Warner Brothers. This sale was apparently made possible by the $23.00 collected monthly from all those AOL dial-up internet customers.
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  • Avatar of W-B

    W-B

    [45]Dec 30, 2005
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    Also: Viacom's nomenclature was derived from a semi-acronym, "Video and Audio Communications," unlike CBS's initials coming from the Columbia Broadcasting System. I remember one TV critic, at the time of Viacom's acquisition of CBS, noting this and also that CBS had more of a "heritage" and history than Viacom.
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  • Avatar of billsav57

    billsav57

    [46]Jan 1, 2006
    • member since: 11/14/05
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    When What's My Line was being shown on CBS, and when John Daly was with ABC News, those involved with the Big Three networks likely couldn't have envisioned the day when they would be taken over, be it by Disney or whoever.
    Could the networks have avoided that fate had they done things differently? Perhaps, but they did get caught in a vortex of information changes that would have been pretty difficult to fight.
    I was thinking the other day of Sears and Montgomery Ward, two companies that became retain giants through catalog sales. In the 1960s, 70s and 80s, they thought they saw the future, and in their wisdom, they dumped or scaled back catalog sales and through all their resources into shopping mall stores. They probably thought they were being insightful.
    But nowadays, many of us shop online. What is online shopping but electronic catalog shopping? If Sears and Montgomery Ward had REALLY been insightful, they'd have stuck with what made them successful, adapted it to a changing society, and not only might both still be around, but they'd possibly both be prosperous. They might even own one of the TV networks ... lol.
    But seriously, I think some of the same things happened to the networks, but to a lesser degree. I think they did get caught up in a changing world. But they also went away from what made them successful. The media (electronic, print, whatever) are all copycats, and while you can't fight change, you can make it bend to your will a little bit.
    Just think, for instance, what might have been if CBS News said, around 1975, "Let's take a chance and start a 24-hour cable news network. And let's throw some of the resources of CBS News into it." The stockholders might have cringed a bit, but the stockholders CBS had in 1975 were probably more willing to stay the course than they would be later on.
    CBS might own CNN today. It might even still own CBS.
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  • Avatar of naumes

    naumes

    [47]Aug 18, 2007
    • member since: 08/18/07
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    does anyone have a copy of the show from 1956 when bishop fulton sheen was the mystery guest?

    i really want to see it but it's not on utube.

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  • Avatar of billsav57

    billsav57

    [48]Aug 20, 2007
    • member since: 11/14/05
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    I'm a big admirer of Bishop Sheen, but I thought his appearance on WML was sort of, I don't know, stiff maybe. I guess I'm so used to seeing him on his own show, on which he supposedly spent countless hours preparing, like the great Shakesperean actor many say he could have been. He was so good on those shows, I guess it's a bit of a comedown when he is more laid-back.
    I have the show somewhere on tape.
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  • Avatar of joshea98

    joshea98

    [49]Sep 17, 2007
    • member since: 08/19/07
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    As someone who has been a regular viewer of both the British and American version of WML?, I found the comments concerning "Auntie's" (the common term in Britain for the illustrious, money-hungry BBC) version very interesting.

    We now know that, down through the years, the BBC has spent untold human energy to insure the swift collection of the now-outrageous license fee from all owners in the U.K.of a TV, DVD recorder, VCR or any other similar device. At the same time, they have been systematically destroying all tapes, kinescopes, or whatever, of previously broadcast programs. This is the very reason why so little of anything from the earlier days now remains. Only a few programs were kept and designated by the BBC as "archive examples."

    The clip posted on here showing the British Line looks very like the one used in the film, "Let Him Have It' in the 1990's, and is, undoubtedly, one of those so-called archive examples.

    Only after I had begun watching the American version of WML? did I begin to realize how bad the British version was. Some of the occupations were ones that most ordinary people had never heard of before. And if a contestant managed to stump the panel, he or she was presented with a rolled-up piece of paper referred to as a certificate. And, unfortunately, ordinary paper does not have a very long life span.

    Then there were the really dumb mime acts that were, supposedly, intended to assist panel members in identifying the contestants' occupation. I have no memory at all of that ever having happened.

    People in Britain do not believe me when I belittle Auntie's version of WML? but that's hardly surprising since the American version of the show has never been broadcast in any of the other countries which had their own version. That's a great shame but, possibly, those kinescopes might eventually be shown outside North America. Barring that, the sale of copies of those kinescopes in other countries would, to me, be a welcome alternatve.

    And for those interested, I can tell you that Gil Fates' description of the British version was right on target. Auntie's version of WML? was dull as dishwater once one had become accustomed to the original American version.

    Some may have noticed on the kinescope of the American program which was moderated by E. Andrews that Andrews kept a running score of the number of wins by the panel versus the number of wins to be allocated to him. That was no spur of the moment thing. It was something he did on the British version week in and week out.

    John

    Edited on 09/17/2007 1:41am
    Edited 2 total times.
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  • Avatar of stopettearoma

    stopettearoma

    [50]Sep 17, 2007
    • member since: 11/23/06
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    As depressing as Auntie could be in the 1950s and 1960s, its situation was ameliorated by Canada. The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, AKA the CBC, broadcast a wonderful quiz show called "Front Page Challenge" from 1957 to 1995. The game playing was very similar to "What's My Line?", but the program excelled with its post-game interview. The CBC saved hundreds of kinescopes on which you can see and hear the panelists asking hard questions of Bennett Cerf, Golda Meir, Indira Gandhi, Timothy Leary, Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, the son and daughter of Winston Churchill and so many others. Bennett discusses his encounter with James Joyce at the time "Ulysses" was banned by American authorities in 1933. On another episode, Bennett says the word "homosexuality" on the air while discussing Gore Vidal's screenplay for the 1964 box office hit "The Best Man."

    It is a sad fact that in the very early 1980s, the Canadian government, which decides what to do with the CBC budget, stopped funding long plane rides for the guests of "Front Page Challenge." From then until the show's demise in 1995, only Canadians could appear on it. But the aforementioned people make the kinescopes from the 1950s and 1960s an overlooked treasure chest in the history of game shows. The last foreign notable flown by the CBC to Toronto to appear on the show was Ann B. Davis, the actress best known as "Alice" on "The Brady Bunch." Her news item that she discussed was her having become a Born - Again Christian. She spoke for other Hollywood actors who had done the same.

    Though some have made rude remarks about me in the past, they don't have to be rude should they choose to ignore "Front Page Challenge." If they ignore it in this discussion or denigrate it, they are automatically proving how stupid they are. Maybe some people in tv.com know better. I'll give them the benefit of the doubt. For now.

    Might one of the reasons the CBC saved kinescopes but Auntie didn't have something to do with the space available in Canada ? That's why the British owned it in the 19th Century. You can compare the situation to New York City versus Los Angeles. Each city had some terrific shows that were broadcast locally only. Ninety-nine percent of local NYC shows from back in the day are gone. Yet some local L.A. shows exist, including a Johnny Carson variety show that aired locally in 1955 and a 1960s talk show hosted by Joe Pyne.

    Edited on 09/17/2007 5:32pm
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