Contestants with unusual occupations were interviewed by the panelists. Only questions that could be answered with a "yes" or "no" were allowed. At the conclusion of the questioning, the ... See full summary »
Each week, an unsuspecting celebrity would be lured by some ruse to a location near the studio. The celebrity would then be surprised with the news that they are to be the featured guest. ... See full summary »
Guests who have the same name as famous persons, fictional characters, or things, are quizzed by celebrity panelists who try to determine their name. Each panelist has ten questions; if ... See full summary »
Robert Q. Lewis,
"I've Got a Secret" debuted on the heels of the successful "What's My Line?" Though "Secret" had somewhat similar rules, there were other elements that gave the show its own distinctive ... See full summary »
Five-day-a-week syndicated revival of one of Goodson-Todman's most durable and longest-lived formats: A celebrity panel determines which of three contestants is the actual person associated with a given story.
Contestants with unusual occupations were interviewed by the panelists. Only questions that could be answered with a "yes" or "no" were allowed. At the conclusion of the questioning, the panelists attempted to guess the contestants occupation. There was also a "mystery guest", usually a famous person; the panelists had to wear masks when questioning this person and the guest usually disguised his/her voice. Written by
J.E. McKillop <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Presidents Ford, Carter and Reagan each appeared on the show before becoming president, but there never was a president who went on the show while in office. Lyndon Johnson used the show shortly after the JFK assassination to advertise his liberal stand on the civil rights movement. When Johnson took over the White House, he requested a new slate of secretaries. He saw Geraldine Whittington working in another U.S. government agency and requested that his special assistant Jack Valenti get her home phone number. Johnson called her unannounced one evening and requested that she come in that night for an interview. According to audiotapes of Johnson's phone calls, Whittington at first thought the call was a joke but came to believe that it really was the president on the line. She applied for the position and got it. Having a black woman in the White House was very unusual in 1964. Johnson wanted to advertise the fact that he'd hired a black woman but chose not to call a news conference. Instead, he arranged for Whittington to appear on "What's My Line," where Bennett Cerf and Dorothy Kilgallen figured out her line of work. This may have seemed less overt but probably exposed her to more viewers than if a standard press conference had been held. The LBJ Library in Austin, Texas has a White House telephone log from January 19, 1964, the night Whittington was in New York doing the show, but the log says erroneously that the president made a long distance call to the "I've Got A Secret" studio to check on his secretary. Whittington died of cancer in 1993 without knowing that her live TV appearance would be revived on the Game Show Network. See more »
This is one of the first TV shows I remember watching and, like millions of other folks, my parents loved it, too. In fact, it was them watching it first and I just started looking in after awhile, too. To be honest with you, I can't recall why or how my parents allowed me to stay up later to watch this, as, if I recall correctly, this was on fairly late night. But I sure remember the show and the people on it each week.
Even though years later, I can't honestly say I know a lot about the regulars in this show, I can never forget them, beginning with the affable host John Daly.
What young kid would know about Bennett Cerf? Probably nothing, if it weren't for TV show, when I discovered he was a famous publisher of Random House and a fairly funny guy. Other regulars - at least in the earlier days when I watched this - were Arlene Francis, Dorothy Kilgallen and Martin Gabel. Later, the panelists became bigger names, people like Tony Randall, Steve Allen, Buddy Hackett and Joey Bishop.
However, it was Daly, Cerf, Kilgallen (a New York City gossip-type columnist) and Francis (actress) who combined to make this show a big hit. In the mid-50s, Francis' husband Martin Gabel became a regular on the show. As you can tell, this had a very New York-big city-cosmopolitan flavor to it. The panelists were all nice people and witty without being obvious comedians. Yet, it didn't come off snobbish, either. A kid could enjoy this, too.
The show was fun, too, because they had people on with unusual occupations. The idea was to guess what those occupation were and the guest could only answer "yes" or "no."
Daly made it fun by being a good host, never hogging the spotlight and being content with letting his partners get the laughs and attention. He knew how to run a show.. That's another lost art in show business, it seems, where everybody wants the limelight.
It would fun to look back at some of these shows today. I haven't seen them in over 50 years. I have fond memories of this.
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