What's My Line? Forums

CBS (ended 1967)

The SYNDICATED WHAT'S MY LINE? Forum

  • Avatar of astorino

    astorino

    [21]Feb 9, 2006
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    W-B wrote:
    I seem to distinctly recall that Viacom was formed as a spinoff of CBS's syndication unit in 1971, three years after the start of the syndicated WML?.


    I see that the name VIACOM is an early acronym (of sorts.)

    VIACOM (Video & Audio Communications)

    More on the 1971 VIACOM at Wiki:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Viacom_%281971-2005%29
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  • Avatar of W-B

    W-B

    [22]Mar 5, 2006
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    Alas, I found out that post-1971, post-Viacom establishment WML?'s list the copyright holder as "Goodson Todman Associates, Inc." (no hyphen between Mark and Bill's surnames)

    This, from the Oscar-related airings on GSN this morning/afternoon.
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  • Avatar of lovewml

    lovewml

    [23]Mar 6, 2006
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    All I have to say is they sure ruined a great show when they went to the syndicated version. What WERE they thinking? "Hey let's add some bright, splashy colors, make it look groovy to the kids, add some cheesy music & play it constantly, bring in Soupy Sales to make it fun for the kiddies, and cut each game down to 5 minutes so we can embarrass the panelists by getting them to participate in idiotic demonstrations!" "Hey, that's a great idea! Brilliant!" I mean really, the only thing appealing about the syndie WML is seeing Arlene Francis in color. And even still it's kind of sad because she doesn't really have anything to do or say because of the time constraints and Soupy Sales hamming it up with his dumb jokes. It's just really, really sad.
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  • Avatar of sixtyfivealive

    sixtyfivealive

    [24]Mar 7, 2006
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    I remember watching both this and the color version of Beat The Clock as a kid in the early 70's. It's amazing how much both shows lost a lot from their original versions. The original versions were more organized and sophisticated, while the latter versions emphasized more on how bright the colors of the sets were. The sydicated WML's wouldn't have even been that bad at all if they had just concentrated on the game itself and left out the demonstration element. But even those episodes wouldn't be so bad if a current day version of WML? were to exist. If someone were to try to do a WML? today they would make it so "reality-show" based (to attract ratings) it would be downright awful.
    Edited on 07/12/2006 6:30pm
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  • Avatar of billsav57

    billsav57

    [25]Mar 7, 2006
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    Supposedly, John Daly resisted most changes to WML when he was around. The CBS version would have become what the syndicated did if it kept running and Daly left. You'll notice that Arlene often pleads with contestants to do their tricks (i.e., sing, dance, jugggle, whatever) on their way out, but then rarely do, and Daly usually cuts it off at the pass. As he said, that stuff was for I've Got A Secret. But by the syndicated version, it was for WML too.
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  • Avatar of lovewml

    lovewml

    [26]Mar 7, 2006
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    It seems they underestimated Daly's valuable contributions to the show. Gil Fates exclaimed in his book "the best thing to happen to WML was Arlene Francis" but I'd have to disagree. Miss Francis was more "showbiz" whereas JCD knew when to keep things down to earth and not get too "flighty". When you compare WML to Secret, IGAS is a bit flaky IMO.
    Edited on 07/12/2006 6:31pm
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  • Avatar of mehitable

    mehitable

    [27]Mar 8, 2006
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    Well, now I know where my love of horrid colors and bold graphics comes from. I was the captive audience of early to mid seventies game shows. You should see my decor.

    Arlene was the best thing to happen to the post-Daly era of WML.
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  • Avatar of wieniekilgallen

    wieniekilgallen

    [28]Mar 8, 2006
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    After watching the syndicated WML for the first time, my primary observation is that John Daly was a genius. He really made WML what it was, and the syndicated version lost so much without him. Now when I view the original, I appreciate his contributions much more. He really was a brilliant man.
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  • Avatar of sixtyfivealive

    sixtyfivealive

    [29]Mar 8, 2006
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    Actually the most horrid of color schemes is on the early 70's Beat The Clock, especially all of the circles all over the place. How did Jack Narz keep from going insane?
    Edited on 07/12/2006 6:34pm
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  • Avatar of W-B

    W-B

    [30]Mar 9, 2006
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    sixtyfivealive wrote:
    Actually the most horrid of color schemes is on the early 70's Beat The Clock, especially all of the circles all over the place. How did Jack Narz keep from going insane?

    I did notice that Mr. Narz didn't host the last two years (1972-1974) of that version of BTC, that post was taken over by the once-announcer, Gene Wood. So who knows?
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  • Avatar of The1Factotum1i1

    The1Factotum1i1

    [31]Mar 10, 2006
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    The whole problem with the syndicated versions was they were completely into the demographics mindset, where the whole world is dedicated to younger,less educated, and less patient viewers. What I said about the dramatic shows and their demise on another thread goes, TV was given over to the kids. The reason is that these impatient postwar children had money to spend and no set brand loyalty. TV really did come down to baiting you into seeing commercials. So eye catching garish hues and fumbling parlor tricks and witless witticisims were deemed preferable to the staid, orderly, evening clothed John Daly version.
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  • Avatar of billsav57

    billsav57

    [32]Mar 10, 2006
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    I guess Gil Fates had produced so many different shows, and Goodson and Todman had so many shows running over the years, from one end of the goofiness spectrum (Beat The Clock) to the other (WML on CBS), that it wasn't really that big a deal for them to do the syndicated WML the way they did. With the way America had changed in the late 1960s, you can't really be too hard on them for what they brought out in syndication. Daly was the dinosaur in that sense. But Goodson-Todman must have at least partially sensed an affinity among many for the old version, seeing that the entire 25th anniversary show was made up of Daly-era clips, with Daly himself introducing many of them.
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  • Avatar of ymike673

    ymike673

    [33]Mar 11, 2006
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    Since the syndicated WML was 5 shows a week taped in one day there was no way it could recreate the atmosphere of the "Live" once a week network version. Maybe that's why the format was changed.
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  • Avatar of dad1153

    dad1153

    [34]Mar 14, 2006
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    GSN will pre-empt B&W Overnight this Saturday, March 18th, for two back-to-back episodes of the syndicated color version of 'What's My Line?' with Maureen Stapleton as a tribute to the deceased actress.
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  • Avatar of Linneman

    Linneman

    [35]Mar 20, 2006
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    I do not normally see (or bother to watch when it is available) the syndicated version. I did see one of the Maureen Stapleton as mystery guest syndicated episodes shown in the March 18th tribute. With the non-mystery guests ("The Book of Nothing" author, Doctor who read faces") it did not feel like a WML at all - these were really IGAS type contestants.

    Gil Fates wrote that the unwillingness of John Daly to consider changes in the original show was a problem and that he was able to "...open it up" in the syndicated version. I'm really not sure that was a good thing. (Quote is from fallible memory and almost certainly not exact)
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  • Avatar of W-B

    W-B

    [36]Mar 20, 2006
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    Linneman wrote:
    I do not normally see (or bother to watch when it is available) the syndicated version. I did see one of the Maureen Stapleton as mystery guest syndicated episodes shown in the March 18th tribute. With the non-mystery guests ("The Book of Nothing" author, Doctor who read faces") it did not feel like a WML at all - these were really IGAS type contestants.

    Gil Fates wrote that the unwillingness of John Daly to consider changes in the original show was a problem and that he was able to "...open it up" in the syndicated version. I'm really not sure that was a good thing. (Quote is from fallible memory and almost certainly not exact)

    Funny . . . for several years Fates was executive producer of IGAS as well as WML?, during both shows' weekly network runs (and in the case of Secret, during the mid-to-later years of the Garry Moore era - and certainly post-1959 when Goodson-Todman's names disappeared from Secret and "Telecast Enterprises, Inc." came on the scene).
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  • Avatar of billsav57

    billsav57

    [37]Mar 20, 2006
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    Whenever GSN shows a syndicated WML, you can thank John Daly and anyone else of his mindset for the CBS version never becoming that way. I wonder if the only way they got Daly to do the 25th anniversary show was to limit it to CBS clips. One thing that particularly bugs me is the phony chit-chat among the panel and guests at the end during the credits. It might as well be from an episode of "Tattletales" from 1975.
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  • Avatar of lovewml

    lovewml

    [38]Mar 21, 2006
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    From the moment the show opens it's phoniness is apparent and becomes immediately more vacuous as soon as Soupy Sales walks onstage. The only time the CBS version could be considered insincere is during the mystery guest segment when the panel (especially Arlene) falls all over themselves in wanting to praise the guest for their latest performance. "You were MAHVALOUS, absolutely MAHHHVALOUS!"
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  • Avatar of ymike673

    ymike673

    [39]Mar 21, 2006
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    I agree. I do not even record the syndicated version when GSN airs it. The president of "The Duncan" Yo Yo Company was on a recent episode of WML. Had he been on the syndicated version we would have had to sit through a 10 minute Yo Yo demonstration!
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  • Avatar of billsav57

    billsav57

    [40]Mar 21, 2006
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    Arlene was the one on the CBS version who constantly wanted demonstrations; Daly almost always cut that off at the pass. As for Soupy Sales, he is sort of the poster boy for those who hate the syndicated version, but he was on the CBS show both as a guest and panelist, so if there's a syndicated show with Soupy, Arlene and Larry Blyden, you have 3 of 5 principals with Daly-version credentials (not to mention all the production people, starting with Gil Fates). Again, it shows Daly's importance to preserving the character of the classic show.
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