What's My Line? Forums

CBS (ended 1967)

WML Radio Program?

  • Avatar of agent_0042

    agent_0042

    [1]Apr 20, 2008
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    Would I be right in thinking that it's either entirely lost to history or available only in private collections? I'm just going by the fact that it hardly ever seems to be talked about and I've never really seen any references to it being available.
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  • Avatar of astorino

    astorino

    [2]Apr 20, 2008
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    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)

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  • Avatar of ymike673

    ymike673

    [3]Apr 21, 2008
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    In the collection of the Paley center for Radio & Television there is a radio version of a WML TV show from 1955 that was sent to our armed forces via AFRS. The studio announcer reads the occupation much like the "password" was given on that game show. I would guess that's the way it was done on the WML radio shows.
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  • Avatar of agent_0042

    agent_0042

    [4]Apr 21, 2008
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    Thanks. It's too bad that we'll probably never get to hear it. I listed to Dragnet on radio recently, and it was great.
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  • Avatar of stopettearoma

    stopettearoma

    [5]Apr 21, 2008
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    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.

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  • Avatar of ymike673

    ymike673

    [6]Apr 22, 2008
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    The show was on NBC? I would of thought the WML radio show would have been on the CBS network.
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  • Avatar of W-B

    W-B

    [7]Apr 22, 2008
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    I remember looking at a website pertaining to Stopette advertising on radio, and they suggested that the radio version of WML? aired on both NBC and CBS, albeit at different times. I say "suggested" because I haven't seen any other web reference to more than one network - CBS - airing the program.
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  • Avatar of stopettearoma

    stopettearoma

    [8]Apr 22, 2008
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    ymike673 wrote:
    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.

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  • Avatar of agent_0042

    agent_0042

    [9]Apr 22, 2008
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    I don't have the capability currently go to there physically. If somebody else wants to try it, that would be awesome.
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  • Avatar of ymike673

    ymike673

    [10]Apr 22, 2008
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    I'll try to check this out later this week.
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  • Avatar of agent_0042

    agent_0042

    [11]Apr 27, 2008
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    ymike, that would be great! If you find out anything, I think we all look forward to hearing it.
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