I suppose if you compare the classic game show "What's My Line?" to today's era of bells, whistles, bright lights, moronic contestants jumping up and down like fools whether they win a million bucks or a bag or marshmallows, you'll find the venerable classic an oasis of sanity. Even by the standards of its time, "What's My Line?" was head and shoulders above the normal game show of the 1950s and 1960s. The panelists dressed to the nines, the wit was spontaneous and bright, urbanity and sophistication were the hallmarks of this show. During the early 1960's, when I was a young child, my mother would wake me up on Sunday nights so I could watch "Candid Camera" and "What's My Line?" with the rest of the family. I always loved the game. It felt like we were looking in on a Park Avenue cocktail party, with all the guests amusing us and themselves with this little parlor game they played week after week. Of course, at that age I found the wild vocal disguises of the Mystery Guests funnier than the rest of the show, but as I have seen several episodes in my adulthood I've been able to fully appreciate what a wonderful show it was. My love of puns, which began at a young age, continues unabated thanks to Bennett Cerf. I have a new appreciation for the hilarious and often side-splitting asides of Arlene Francis. Although Dorothy Kilgallen was "the woman you love to hate," I find refreshing her sometimes prosecutorial style of questioning. It's obvious she cared very much about the game and strove to do her best at all times...even when the build-up of Seconal she was taking sometimes made her speech sound thick-tongued. Moderator John Daly wouldn't last five seconds in today's world of game show hosts with blow dried hair and blow dried brains. He was a class act always. It's wonderful to see manners again on television. Now if only the Game Show Network, which current runs the game at 12:30 am here on the Pacific Coast, would stop trying to squeeze in an extra commercial and let us enjoy every second of the Mystery Guest spot, it truly would be a perfect universe.
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