Four panelists must determine guests' occupations - and, in the case of famous guests, while blindfolded, their identity - by asking only "yes" or "no" questions.
Reviews
Popularity
3,262 ( 424)

Episodes

Seasons


Years



17   10   4   2   1   Unknown  
1967   1966   1965   1964   1963   1962   … See all »
Won 1 Golden Globe. Another 4 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

To Tell the Truth (1956–1968)
Family | Game-Show
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Classic game show in which a person of some notoriety and two impostors try to match wits with a panel of four celebrities. The object of the game is to try to fool the celebrities into ... See full summary »

Stars: Bud Collyer, Kitty Carlisle, Tom Poston
I've Got a Secret (1952–1967)
Family | Game-Show
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

"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 »

Stars: Garry Moore, Henry Morgan, Bill Cullen
Match Game PM (1975–1981)
Comedy | Family | Game-Show
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A high-stakes version of the classic game show, hosted by Gene Rayburn. A group of celebrities would be given a sentence with a missing word, which they would then have to fill in. The ... See full summary »

Stars: Gene Rayburn, Brett Somers, Charles Nelson Reilly
You Bet Your Life (1950–1961)
Comedy | Family | Game-Show
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  

Groucho Marx hosts a quiz show which features a series of competitive questions and a great deal of humourous conversation.

Stars: Groucho Marx, George Fenneman, Melinda Marx
To Tell the Truth (1969–1978)
Family | Game-Show
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

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.

Stars: Kitty Carlisle, Peggy Cass, Bill Cullen
Let's Make a Deal (1963–1977)
Family | Game-Show
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Monty Hall hosts this hilarious half-hour gameshow in which audience contestants picked at random, dressed in ridiculous costumes, try to win cash or prizes by choosing curtain number 1, 2 ... See full summary »

Stars: Monty Hall, Jay Stewart, Carol Merrill
The Hollywood Squares (1965–1980)
Comedy | Family | Game-Show
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Contestants guess the correctness of celebrities' answers in order to win spaces in a tic-tac-toe game.

Stars: Kenny Williams, Peter Marshall, Cliff Arquette
Wheel of Fortune (TV Series 1975)
Family | Game-Show
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

Daytime version of the game show in which contestants guess letters in order to complete a word, phrase or name.

Stars: Vanna White, Jack Clark, Susan Stafford
The Merv Griffin Show (1962–1986)
Comedy | Family | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

Merv Griffin invites a series of actors, actresses, writers, and directors to discuss the progressive work they have done and current culture, arts, and entertainment surrounding the numerous projects.

Stars: Merv Griffin, Arthur Treacher, Mort Lindsey Orchestra
Super Password (1984–1989)
Family | Game-Show
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Second revised version of the classic Mark Goodson game show, where celebrity-contestant teams conveyed passwords using one-word clues.

Stars: Bert Convy, Gene Wood, Tom Poston
Press Your Luck (1983–1986)
Family | Game-Show
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A game show where contestents answer trivia questions and then have to gamble their winnings on a randomly flashing game board.

Stars: Peter Tomarken, Rod Roddy, Charlie O'Donnell
Wheel of Fortune (TV Series 1983)
Family | Game-Show
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Hosted by Pat Sajak, this game show features 3 contestants who try to solve a puzzle by spinning the wheel and guessing letters in a word or phrase.

Stars: Pat Sajak, Vanna White, Charlie O'Donnell
Edit

Cast

Complete series cast summary:
...
 Himself - Moderator / ... (865 episodes, 1950-1967)
...
 Herself - Panelist (822 episodes, 1950-1967)
Bennett Cerf ...
 Himself - Panelist / ... (749 episodes, 1950-1967)
Dorothy Kilgallen ...
 Herself - Panelist / ... (728 episodes, 1950-1965)
Edit

Storyline

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 <jack-mckillop@worldnet.att.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Family | Game-Show

Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

2 February 1950 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Occupation Unknown  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(876 episodes)

Sound Mix:

Color:

(1950-1966)| (1966-1967)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

It is true that for seventeen years CBS recorded every broadcast of this series on kinescope film. Many episodes were lost to history, however, during two time periods that were far apart. In 1950, CBS saved kinescopes of the first three telecasts at a financial loss to the network. They are available for viewing on a web site. At the time, the show aired live every other week, not every week. The kinescope process used silver nitrate film, which was flammable. But fire was not the reason why many broadcasts of "What's My Line" were lost during the period of 1950 to 1952. CBS employees discovered an advantage of the expensive silver nitrate film. They learned that it was possible to recover the silver content from the film and sell it. CBS did this many times starting with the fourth show, which the network had aired live on March 16, 1950. A publication called TV Digest based in Philadelphia reported that blindfolded panelist Hal Block had asked the mystery guest a question about her clothing. To Block's surprise, this got a laugh because the mystery guest, unknown to him, was stripper Gypsy Rose Lee. But their exchange has not been heard since 1950, and will not be heard again, due to the loss of the kinescope. Starting with the live telecast of July 20, 1952, the Goodson-Todman company paid CBS for each kinescope, so the network never again destroyed the show. Eventually, safety film replaced the silver nitrate. Twenty years after the first period of destruction, employees of Goodson-Todman were responsible for accidentally destroying sixteen kinescopes while they compiled clips for a 25th anniversary special. They were working at an expensive editing facility in Manhattan under a strict deadline. Five of the sixteen ruined shows dated from 1967. See more »

Quotes

Steve Allen: Is it bigger than a bread box?
See more »

Crazy Credits

The uncredited announcer introduced the first panelist, sometimes the left-most, sometimes the right-most. Beginning with the first panelist, each panelist then introduced the person to his/her left or right, depending upon the first panelist's position. The fourth panelist then introduced moderator John Daly. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Mystery Science Theater 3000: Jungle Goddess (1990) See more »

Soundtracks

Roller Coaster
(End Credits Theme/Main Theme)
Composed by Lou Busch (aka: Joe "Fingers" Carr) (ASCAP) and Milton Delugg (ASCAP)
Original Publishers: Burning Bush Music (ASCAP) and Amy Dee Music (ASCAP)
Current Publishers: Burning Bush Music (ASCAP) and Amy Dee Music (ASCAP)
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

"And now, let's meet our What's My Line? panel!"
9 January 2004 | by (North Carolina) – See all my reviews

I don't think there are words in the English vocabulary that can fully capture the deep love I have for this game show and the admiration I feel for its panel. A highly sophisticated and glamorous show, "What's My Line?" keeps you on the edge of your seat for an hour and a half as you watch the celebrity panel try to guess the occupation of a guest or the identity of the mystery guest. Truly, this show fully encompasses what the fifties and sixties were all about. First on the panel, you have tart-tongued syndicated columnist Dorothy Kilgallen. Quick and smart, Dorothy always took the game seriously but never failed to through in a joke or two each telecast. Then there was Random House's very own Bennett Cerf, a remarkable publisher whose calm, cool demeanor and relaxed sense of humor perfectly complimented the show. My favorite regular panelist, however, was the beautiful actress of stage and screen, Miss Arlene Francis. Glamorous, warm, erudite, and fantastically witty, she was such an asset to the show. There was always a fourth panelist -- usually someone along the lines of Steve Allen, Fred Allen, Tony Randall, Martin Gabel (Arlene's husband), etc.

And then, there was the man who was head of it all: journalist John Charles Daly. One of the most fabulously linguistic and learned men I have ever seen in action, he was the perfect host as he brought laughter and sophistication to every episode. I prefer "What's My Line?" in its first incarnation, when John Daly was host and Dorothy Kilgallen still alive. It's a marvelous show, and I cannot thank Game Show Network enough for showing it in reruns, even if they do only air at 4:30 in the morning. Many thanks to the wonderful panel and host -- I've always felt they were like old friends in my home.


29 of 30 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Contribute to This Page