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CBS (ended 1967)

Steve Beverly's "What's My Line?" article

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    astorino

    [1]Mar 16, 2008
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    By Steve Beverly - The history of What's My Line?

    Part one:
    The Early Days of What's My Line?
    http://www.tvgameshows.net/coverstory.htm

    Part two:
    The Move to Sunday Nights - What's My Line? Takes Off
    http://www.tvgameshows.net/coverstoryline2.htm

    Part three:
    Coming Soon - check back

    Edited on 04/23/2008 3:45am
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  • Avatar of marciasimonson

    marciasimonson

    [2]Mar 17, 2008
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    Thank you so much for posting these articles, Suzanne. They are really fascinating, and I can't wait for Part 3.
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  • Avatar of astorino

    astorino

    [3]Mar 19, 2008
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    Part 3 is now up:

    by Steve Beverly

    What's My Line?:

    The Rest of the Fifties (Part 3)

    http://www.tvgameshows.net/coverstoryline3.htm

    Edited on 04/23/2008 3:44am
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    ymike673

    [4]Mar 19, 2008
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    It's an interesting article but I have found one mistake so far. He says that the WML show aired from Hollywood in 1956 was broadcast in color. The only pre-1966 WML show aired in color was in Sept. of 1954.
    Edited on 03/19/2008 5:18am
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  • Avatar of W-B

    W-B

    [5]Mar 19, 2008
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    Two mistakes, actually. The Hollywood show was in 1958. In 1956, Dorothy, Arlene, Bennett and Dr. Bergen Evans joined John for a "special" show in Chicago, where the "panel moderator" was covering the Democratic Convention for ABC News.
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    ymike673

    [6]Mar 19, 2008
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    I should have caught that mistake. That was the show that Harry Truman was supposed to be the MG but Douglas MacArthur (A vice President of sponsor Remington Rand) called Fates and told him he would not alow Harry on the show.

    Edited on 03/19/2008 4:02pm
    Edited 2 total times.
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  • Avatar of astorino

    astorino

    [7]Apr 11, 2008
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    Part 4 is now up:

    by Steve Beverly

    What's My Line?:
    The Ads, the Stars & the Early '60s

    http://www.tvgameshows.net/line4.htm

    Edited on 04/23/2008 3:43am
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    stopettearoma

    [8]Apr 11, 2008
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    Two more errors in Part 4.

    Referring to Kelloggs, it says, "Dennis James was its primary spokesman from 1961 to 1963."

    He can be seen pitching Kelloggs in the opening commercial break in two kinescopes from the first half of 1965. Nobody else did the Kelloggs ads during that period.

    It says the elephant trainer who was recognized by a Michigan viewer as a car thief was arrested as soon as he left the soundstage. That would have been a remarkable coup for the FBI to respond so quickly to a phone call about a non-violent criminal in 1955. Gil Fates' account is much more credible. He said the man was arrested on Monday when he went to the Goodson Todman office to pick up his check for 50 dollars. That topic is rarely if ever discussed -- the topic of where and when did contestants get their checks throughout 17 years?

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    astorino

    [9]Apr 12, 2008
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    I spot a spelling mistake on a name, too. In part 4, Steve Beverly said:

    :
    ---Sid Simons, the only conventional contestant for whom Daly was forced to offer a disclaimer of being a personal friend of the player.

    From my note-taking, I show:

    EPISODE #524

    Game 2: Mr. Syd Simoens (pronounced as Simons with a long "i" sound) - "Make-Up Artist (Did Speakers at GOP Convention)" (self-employed; he applied make-up to members of the Republican party before they appeared on the rostrum; from Chicago, IL)

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  • Avatar of ymike673

    ymike673

    [10]Apr 21, 2008
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    Part 5 has been released.

    What's My Line?:
    Daly & Dorothy....
    The Stalwart & The Tragedy

    http://www.tvgameshows.net/line5.htm

    Edited on 04/23/2008 3:42am
    Edited 2 total times.
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  • Avatar of bahn1225

    bahn1225

    [11]Apr 24, 2008
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    I found these articles to be very informative and entertaining.

    Sometimes it hard to remember that when these shows were filmed, no one had the vaguest idea that we would have DVRs that can isolate the smallest detail and people would be discussing each episode in more detail than the "Zapruder film".

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    puzzlingpixie

    [12]Apr 24, 2008
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    I found the bit about Bennett finding Dorothy in her dressing room in tears particularly sad. I think she must have felt very lonely at that time in her life. Collegues didn't take her seriously, many people 'loved to hate her,' and her marriage was no longer really a marriage.

    It was nice to know that Arlene and Dorothy really were friends though.

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  • Avatar of stopettearoma

    stopettearoma

    [13]Apr 25, 2008
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    puzzlingpixie wrote:
    I found the bit about Bennett finding Dorothy in her dressing room in tears particularly sad. I think she must have felt very lonely at that time in her life. Collegues didn't take her seriously, many people 'loved to hate her,' and her marriage was no longer really a marriage.

    It was nice to know that Arlene and Dorothy really were friends though.

    That bit isn't sad when you realize Steve Beverly made a mistake. Dorothy's tearful announcement that she hadn't guessed a line in "three whole weeks" did not happen on the night she died. How could it have? She nabbed two contestants that night. Mr. Beverly's source on this is the TV Guide article "End of the Line" that reported the show's cancellation in 1967. It said the tearful announcement happened "not long before her death." If Dorothy was telling the truth, then you can find the three shows in a row on which she didn't nab anybody. Was she including the mystery guest? We'll never know. The last two mystery guest spots she solved were Henry Fonda and Gordon / Sheila MacRae, both in the fall of 1965.

    Instead of crying on the night she died, Dorothy showed Bennett the preface to her book Murder One and she was delighted by his positive reaction. This was immediately after their joking exchange during the final goodnights. During the final moments of the live feed Bennett said, "I only want to say one thing about that pretty football writer. She better dig up a field goal kicker for the New York Giants or it's gonna be too bad." Dorothy shot back, "Oh, I thought you were going to say something about a forward pass."

    That "pretty football writer," Elinor Kaine Penna, is alive today and can be found in a Google search. She says she went straight home from CBS Studio 52 and she knows nothing about what happened that night. She adds that three weeks earlier she was in the studio as a standby in case there was time for another contestant after Oscar Levant. Turned out there wasn't. Dorothy offered Elinor a ride home in her limousine. Elinor lived on East 70th Street. Dorothy lived on East 68th Street. Both wanted to go home right away that night (October 17, 1965).

    My sources on Dorothy showing Bennett Murder One on the night she died are several New York newspaper accounts of her death. Only one article specified that this happened after the live show ended. It was the Long Island Newsday piece from a week later when medical examiner James Luke (still alive) announced the official cause of death.

    Edited on 04/28/2008 10:19pm
    Edited 2 total times.
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    puzzlingpixie

    [14]Apr 27, 2008
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    I wonder if she took the ride....I wonder what it would be like to ride in a limousine with Dorothy Kilgallen.
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  • Avatar of stopettearoma

    stopettearoma

    [15]Apr 28, 2008
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    puzzlingpixie wrote:
    I wonder if she took the ride....I wonder what it would be like to ride in a limousine with Dorothy Kilgallen.

    Yes, Elinor says she did. It wasn't a very long ride. Elinor was going from 254 West 54th Street to her home on East 70th Street. She recalls that she and Dorothy said nothing to each other during the ride, but she adds that Dorothy did not seem drunk or zonked out. Elinor's statement is significant because it indicates that, despite claims to the contrary, Dorothy did not drink in nightclubs every Sunday night. She went straight home from the studio (which was at 254 West 54th Street) on Sunday, October 17. Even on the night she died, which was November 7, she originally planned to go from the studio to P. J. Clarke's for just one drink.

    Dorothy's hairdresser Marc Sinclaire has said in a video interview that when he did her hair that night, she invited him to join her at Clarke's for a quickie, but he turned down the invitation. Marc was tired from working seven days a week that year. He wanted a break from all the forays into public with Dorothy when people asked her for autographs. She said in that case she would go straight home from the studio. Marc then left her townhouse and had a quiet night with a close friend at a movie theater with few other customers. He never saw that broadcast of What's My Line? until thirty years later when he noticed to his amazement that Dorothy wore a different dress on the air than the one he had helped her into. He says on camera he now realizes that after he left the townhouse, Dorothy's plans for after the show changed. The dress into which he helped her was the same one she had worn on the show a week earlier. It was very long and it made walking in and out of buildings difficult. After she and Marc parted that night she changed into the short beige chiffon dress that you see on the kinescope.

    Marc Sinclaire suspects that after he left the townhouse Dorothy got a phone call from someone she knew, or thought she knew, and she agreed to meet this person at the Regency Hotel on Park Avenue near her townhouse. Elinor Kaine, the football-writer contestant that night, went straight home from the studio, but the other female contestant, Katherine Williams Stone, claims to have seen Dorothy Kilgallen at the Regency Hotel at a midnight cocktail party. Dorothy and a male companion were seated at a banquette while everyone else was standing and chatting with cocktails. Another person in the room chatting was Spoony Singh, the Sikh who operated the Hollywood Wax Museum. He said several years before his death that he did not pay any attention to Kilgallen. Only Katherine did.

    There are people who debate the Warren Commission in other blogs. They try to prove that Dorothy Kilgallen knew nothing special by pointing out that she never published any secrets. But these people never interviewed anyone who actually met the woman. Of course, she never published the secrets she was keeping on the night she died. That's because she died. Nicole Simpson never published the secret she had at the end of her life, either. The physical description and identity of her attacker are secrets that must be deduced from other evidence, not her testimony. There is no testimony from her.

    Edited on 04/28/2008 10:57pm
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  • Avatar of ymike673

    ymike673

    [16]May 6, 2008
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    Part 6 has been released.
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    W-B

    [17]May 6, 2008
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    And here's the link . . .

    Part 6
    What's My Line?: After Dorothy....
    Sinking Slowly in the Nielsens


    http://www.tvgameshows.net/line6.htm


    I did notice one important error (among many cited), though . . .

    Sue Oakland: Later an editorialist on WNBC and the wife of the station's general manager Ted Cott, Oakland had been around Goodson-Todman for a decade. She was known as Susie Oakland when she did on location vignettes for the short-lived CBS game What's Going On?. When she appeared on Line, she was perpetually introduced as "that rare combination of beauty and brains," but what may have held back her chances was most of the U.S. audience had no idea what Oakland did otherwise.

    First off, unless she began her editorial career in 1969, the year NBC allowed on-air editorials on its local O&O's, Sue was at WCBS-TV in the 1970's and '80's. Second, at the time she started there, her husband Ted Cott was an independent producer and media consultant (as he was at the time of his death in 1973); his time with the New York NBC O&O's was from 1950 to 1955 (the year before he and Sue married). Also, during Sue's years with WCBS, WNBC editorialists included Henry Marcotte and Joseph Michaels (the latter of whom co-hosted a program with Arlene at the station from 1981 to 1986 called The Prime of Your Life). Oh, and did I mention What's Going On? was actually on ABC, within the long period it was sneeringly referred to as the "Almost Broadcasting Company"?

    I also read this paragraph with interest:

    A decision was also made to tape approximately one-fourth of the scheduled 48 shows for the new season to give the panel some occasional breaks in the weekly live schedule. However, not all of CBS's live studios were equipped with video tape units in New York. So, the taped episodes originated from a different studio than the live editions.

    Hmmm. Given that most shows that final season emanated from the Ed Sullivan Theatre, is it possible the affected episodes could've been taped at the CBS Broadcast Center on West 57th? (As were a few To Tell the Truth episodes, if a few tickets that were once sold for auction on eBay are of any indication.)

    Edited on 05/06/2008 8:29pm
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    W-B

    [18]May 19, 2008
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    And now, the seventh installment in the TV Game Shows.net look at WML? . . .

    Part 7
    What's My Line?:
    The Final Show


    http://www.tvgameshows.net/line7.htm


    Another error I noticed: Citing Sam Spiegel as notifying two of the panelists in advance, rather than Sam Goldwyn. But other than that . . .

    The photo of the blindfolded panel as on the top of this article was taken somewhere between EPISODES #159 and 174 (or more specifically, between #160 and 169, as Dorothy and Arlene's garb appear to be from within that range). It appears to be a posed shot from either before or after the show, as Steve Allen was wearing regular street clothes, which looked slightly disheveled - yet by airtime, was all formal and refined-appearing like Bennett Cerf. The New York Times mis-dated this pic as from "1952," despite the post-1953 "Stopette/Finesse" billboard on the panel desk - to say nothing of the lineup being post-Hal Block.

    Edited on 05/19/2008 3:34am
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  • Avatar of stopettearoma

    stopettearoma

    [19]May 19, 2008
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    There's another error besides Sam Spiegel. Beverly says the New York power blackout happened in 1964. Really was 1965. He made that error so why should I believe that Arlene Francis hosted NBC's Today Show at any time near the blackout? That's never been published. No recording of Today from that week exists. You can see a kinescope of Today six days after the blackout with Hugh Downs and Barbara Walters talking to guest Alexander King, who died later that day. It's at the Paley Center for Media in Beverly Hills and New York. But Arlene Francis hosting Today? The kinescopes of her are gone, and we don't know she did it in 1965.

    Edited on 05/19/2008 3:28pm
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    ymike673

    [20]May 20, 2008
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    I see there will be a "Part 8" covering the syndicated version of WML. Wonder if the "WML at 25" special will be mentioned?
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