"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 flavor. As with "Line," four celebrity panelists try to guess an unknown-to-them secret, which the contestant (or sometimes group of contestants) whispered in the host's ear; the secret was always shown to the television and studio audience. Each panelist has one 30-second period to ask questions that will help them try to guess the secret; if a panelist fails to guess the secret before the buzzer sounds, the contestant(s) receive(s) $20 and the next panelist gets a turn. The process repeats until either the secret is guessed or if all four panelists are unable to guess the secret, meaning the contestant receives the maximum payout of $80 (during the early years, each panelist had two questioning periods, with $10 paid per unsuccessful try). Usually, a skit or demonstration of the secret followed each ... Written by
Brian Rathjen <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Did You Know?
The telecast that aired live on February 9, 1956, with Lucille Ball
as a guest panelist, featured a 96-year-old contestant who was the last surviving witness to the assassination of Abraham Lincoln
. Garry Moore
introduced this senior citizen, Samuel Seymour, by saying he hailed from Maryland. When Seymour died two months later on the anniversary of the assassination, newspapers said he was a longtime resident of Arlington, Virginia. Whatever the truth of his residence, his secret was uncovered by Jayne Meadows
. After she uncovered it, Moore explained to her, the other panelists and viewers that when John Wilkes Booth jumped down from the presidential box at Fords Theatre immediately after shooting Lincoln, five-year-old Seymour witnessed only that jump without knowing that any shots had been fired. The audience's laughter in reaction to the play muffled the sound of the gunshots for many people. The child felt sorry for the man who obviously had injured himself jumping from the presidential box to the stage. Booth indeed injured his leg and sought medical treatment before his capture. See more
Referenced in It Happened to Jane
"I've Got A Secret"
Written and Performed by Norman Paris from 1962 to 1967 See more