CBS (ended 1967)
Potentially lost to history.
The person who wrote the following notes knew Gil Fates, so this is the best source that we currently have:
From the notes to EPISODE #103 of May 18, 1952
CBS "WHAT'S MY LINE?" RADIO SHOW DEBUTS IN TWO DAYS: The Columbia Broadcasting System, Inc., in a futile attempt to help bring radio back to what it had once been, aired a weekly radio version of What's My Line? for over a year from May 1952 to July 1953. The current four panelists, Dorothy Kilgallen, Bennett Cerf, Arlene Francis and Hal Block, along with host John Daly, premiered the radio version of their show on Tuesday, May 20, 1952, while still performing the Sunday night telecast. The debut mystery guest, in her only What's My Line? appearance ever, was Marlene Dietrich. Marlon Brando also made his only What's My Line? appearance on the radio program that aired on December 3, 1952. The radio show continued through the "Hal Block era" into the "Steve Allen era" while moving its broadcast from Tuesday to Wednesday. The finale was aired on July 1, 1953. The radio shows were thought to have been recorded, and rumor has it that several are buried somewhere in the Library of Congress in Washington, DC. It is currently unknown how the producers let the audience know what the contestant's occupation was. Possibly, announcer Lee Vines, who was that era's TV and radio voice of WML?, might have delivered the contestant's occupation or the name of the mystery guest in a low voice, sotto voce. If the producers followed a format similar to the TV show, this method would have informed the radio listeners of the facts. If this were the case, it predated by nine years what Goodson-Todman did with the password on their television series "Password." - WML Fan (2004)
You can be the first person to ask the Library of Congress to dig up the radio version of What's My Line? from their large collection of NBC radio. Once they find it they might let you copy some or all of it to CD depending on who owns the copyright. If that's out of the question, they will at least let you listen to as much audiotape as you want. Consider that the National Archives in Maryland lets you make your own DVD of any Universal Newsreel. You can't copy the Hearst Movietone ones, but you can watch as many as you want on a Steenbeck machine that the Archives has.
The Internet won't help you approach the Library of Congress about this. You have to go there physically, and you might be the first to ask them about this in person. There's a bed and breakfast hostel run by a Quaker organization that charges 30 dollars a night for lodging, and it's just a few blocks from the library. The traditional American Youth Hostel is several miles away, and it attracts people who like to party. Hotels on Capitol Hill, which is the neighborhood of the Library of Congress, start at about 200 dollars from now until the weather gets cold in the fall.
|The show was on NBC? I would of thought the WML radio show would have been on the CBS network.|
Remember, this was the era when the sponsor controlled a TV or radio show. Network executives did little, which is one reason they were blamed for sitting back in their chairs and letting the quiz show scandals happen. After the scandals, as Gil Fates explains on page 51, network executives overcompensated by snooping all over the place.
The way to settle which radio network ran WML in 1952 and 1953 would be to check a newspaper on microfilm. The New York Times would be easiest for most people because it's available in so many places, even public high schools, and the New York radio call letters in that era were easy: WNBC, etc.