Whats My Line. is a panel game show which originally ran in the United States on the CBS Television Network from 1950 to 1967, with several international versions and subsequent U. S. revivals. It is the longest-running U. S. primetime network television game-show, after its cancellation by CBS in 1967, it returned in syndication as a daily production, moderated originally by Wally Bruner and later by Larry Blyden, which ran from 1968 to 1975. There have been international versions, radio versions, and a live stage version. In 2013, TV Guide ranked it #9 in its list of the 60 greatest game shows ever, produced by Mark Goodson and Bill Todman for CBS Television, the show was initially called Occupation Unknown before deciding on the name Whats My Line. The original series, which was usually broadcast live, debuted on Thursday, February 2,1950 and this was then state-of-the-art technology, and Daly praised it upon his return from Moscow. In such instances, there would often be two shows a day, the one, followed immediately by the live one. The cast and crew began taking Summer breaks from the show in July 1961, the host, then called the moderator, was veteran radio and television newsman John Charles Daly. Clifton Fadiman, Eamonn Andrews, and Random House co-founding publisher, the show featured a panel of four celebrities who questioned the contestants. On the initial program of February 2,1950, the panel was former New Jersey governor Harold Hoffman, columnist Dorothy Kilgallen, poet Louis Untermeyer, and psychiatrist Richard Hoffmann. At various times, a regular panelist might take a vacation or be absent from an episode to due outside commitments, on these occasions, the most frequent guest panelist was Arlene Franciss husband Martin Gabel, who appeared 112 times over the years. Publisher Bennett Cerf replaced Untermeyer as a regular panelist in 1951, Allen left in 1954 to launch The Tonight Show, and he was replaced by comedian Fred Allen, who remained on the panel until his death in 1956. Following Fred Allens death, he was not replaced on a permanent basis, for the majority of the shows network run, between 1956 and 1965, the panel therefore consisted of Kilgallen, Cerf, Francis and a fourth guest panelist. After Kilgallens death in 1965, she was not replaced with a permanent panelist. For the shows final two years, the panel consisted of Cerf, Francis and two guests, Whats My Line. was a guessing game in which the four panelists attempted to determine the occupation of a guest. In the case of the mystery guest each week, the panel sought to determine the identity of the contestant. Panelists were required to probe by asking only yes-no questions, a typical episode featured two standard rounds plus one mystery guest round. On the occasions on which there were two guests, the first would usually appear as the first contestant. For the first few seasons, the contestant would first meet the panel up close, for an inspection
Image: What's My Line? logo screenshot
Moderator John Charles Daly's 1950 CBS publicity photo for"What's My Line?"
The panel in 1952. From left: Dorothy Kilgallen, Bennett Cerf, Arlene Francis and Hal Block with John Daly as the host.
(l–r) Arlene Francis, Bennett Cerf, Dorothy Kilgallen and John Daly on the 15th anniversary show in 1965