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
4,890 ( 112)

Episodes

Seasons


Years



18   17   16   15   14   13   … See all »
1967   1966   1965   1964   1963   1962   … See all »
Won 1 Golden Globe. Another 4 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

To Tell the Truth (1956–1968)
Family | Game-Show
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 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: Henry Morgan, Bill Cullen, Garry Moore
What's My Line? (1968–1975)
Family | Game-Show
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

Five-day-a-week syndicated update of the longtime CBS game show, wherein celebrity panelists guess occupations of the contestants.

Stars: Wally Bruner, Johnny Olson, Arlene Francis
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: Peggy Cass, Bill Cullen, Kitty Carlisle
The Honeymooners (1955–1956)
Comedy | Family
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.7/10 X  

A bus driver and his sewer worker friend struggle to strike it rich while their wives look on with weary patience.

Stars: Jackie Gleason, Art Carney, Audrey Meadows
Let's Make a Deal (1963–1977)
Family | Game-Show
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 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
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
Super Password (1984–2014)
Family | Game-Show
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 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, Jamie Farr
Match Game PM (1975–1981)
Comedy | Family | Game-Show
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 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, Johnny Olson, Brett Somers
Card Sharks (1978–1989)
Family | Game-Show
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

Hosted by Jim Perry, were contestants are asked questions about how 100 people answered a poll question then played a card game where they tried to guess whether the next card drawn from a deck in a sequence would be higher or lower.

Stars: Jim Perry, Janice Baker, Gene Wood
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
Underdog (1964–1973)
Animation | Action | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

The adventures of a rhyming canine superhero.

Stars: George S. Irving, Wally Cox, Allen Swift
Edit

Cast

Complete series cast summary:
John Daly ...  Himself - Moderator / ... 873 episodes, 1950-1967
Arlene Francis ...  Herself - Panelist / ... 832 episodes, 1950-1967
Bennett Cerf Bennett Cerf ...  Himself - Panelist / ... 759 episodes, 1950-1967
Dorothy Kilgallen Dorothy Kilgallen ...  Herself - Panelist / ... 735 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:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

2 February 1950 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Occupation Unknown See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(876 episodes)

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Black and White (1950-1966)| Color (1966-1967)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

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. More than 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: Hercules Unchained (1992) See more »

Soundtracks

Sounds
(Open Theme 2)
Composed by Sascha Granville Burland (BMI)
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

An urbane, witty, and entertaining program
3 January 2005 | by LACUESSee all my reviews

"What's My Line" is one of my favorite programs. The host, John Daly, was an excellent host. He was erudite, respectful, and professional, unlike succeeding game show hosts, who, for the most part, try to be comedians. The panel was also insightful, witty, and humorous without being crude and trying to be funny. They were truly classy people. Even more important to me is to see the civility that existed on that program compared to current programming. It certainly was a different time in terms of respect, manners, and sophistication. As an earlier reviewer, game show formats now appeal to the lowest denominator. Noteworthy is the conduct of the audience. No loud cheering, yelling, and other obnoxious behavior on " What's My line".

How I miss the golden age of television...It was certainly heads and shoulders above most of today's programs which try to pass for entertainment. As we have progressed in so many areas in the past forty years. we have certainly declined in the quality, civility, and humaneness of that earlier era.


21 of 21 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 23 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Trending TV Series With Prime Video

Explore popular and recently added TV series available to stream now with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed