|Syndicated, September 9, 1968 – September 5, 1975|
|Wally Bruner 1968-1972|
Larry Blyden 1972-1975
|Ed Sullivan Theater, New York City, New York (1968-1971)|
NBC Studios 8H and 6A, New York City, New York (1971-1975)
This is chronicling the 1968 version of What's My Line?.
In each What's My Line? game, a contestant would enter the stage and sign in his/her name, by virtue of the host saying, "Will you enter & sign in please?" After that, he/she sat down at a desk next to the host. The game would begin by having the home audience be shown what's his/her line, and the host afterwards told the panel a clue which is usually "deals in a service" or "self-employed", something like those. Now the panelists in turn asked yes-or-no questions to the contestant which would hopefully lead to the right line. Each time the panelist in control got a yes answer, his/her turn continued, but if at any time the panelist in control got a no answer, he/she loses his/her turn and control passed to the next panelist in line; the contestant will also receive $5. Upon a no answer, the host would say the famous catchphrase "# down, # to go" (Ex: 2 down, 8 to go). Sometimes a question would have the host make a brief explanation which can lead to either a yes or no answer. A panelist can be allowed to pass his/her turn without penalty; other times the panel can call a conference. If the panel can guess the right line, they won the game, but if they got ten no answers, the contestant stumped the panel and won the game and a maximum total of $50. Often, the host would throw the cards over (end the game) when time was running short or any other reason.
In the syndicated run, the contestant would demonstrate or perform the product or service in question.
After two rounds of What's My Line? were played, a third round was played but a little differently. For this round featured the appearance of the "Mystery Guest". This was where the panelists were blindfolded so they couldn't see the guest. The mystery guest entered and signed in as usual, and that's where the game began. As usual the panel asked yes or no questions, this time to try and guess the name of the mystery challenger. What makes this round more different is that this time each panelist can only ask one question per turn hence the rule "one question at a time", and they had two to three minutes to identify the guest. While all this was going on, the mystery guest disguised his/her voice in a variety of ways.
Some mystery guests wouldn't be famous from the entertainment field, but from other walks of life; when that happens, those guests would play in the main rounds; instead of writing their names, they would write down a big "X" referring to them as Mr. or Ms. "X". One such main round mystery guest was future president Jimmy Carter.
In the syndicated run, the mystery guests were no longer scored. Also in the syndicated run in later years, if a panelist made a wrong guess of the guest, he/she would be free to take his/her blindfold off.
In the 1960s & 1970s syndicated run, whenever there was extra time, a special game was instituted called Who's Who. This was where four members of the studio audience were lined up on stage, and their occupations were printed on cards. Each panelist took those occupation cards gave each to the appropriate contestant (the ones who they thought had that occupation). Each time one panelist failed, another panelist took a turn. The game ended when the panel was stumped or if a panelist can place the occupations with the right contestants.
- Host: Wally Bruner, Larry Blyden
- Announcer: Johnny Olson, Chet Gould, Wayne Howell, Dennis Wholey, Bob Williams, Jack Haskell
- Producer: Gil Fates
- Director: Lloyd Gross
- Set Designers: Ron Baldwin, Ted Cooper
- Music: Score Productions
First host Wally Bruner turned his attention to the "How to..." biz after three years of hosting the show. He made a guest appearance as a Mystery Guest.
Before this version's demise in 1975, the series had a 90 minute special called What's My Line? at 25 hosted by original host John Daly, former panelists Arlene Francis and former creator Mark Goodson in which it celebrated the moments from the original CBS Primetime version airing on ABC Late Night on May 28, 1975.
A home version of the show was released by Whitman in 1969.
Prentice Hall (1978)Edit
A book called What's My Line?: The Inside History of TV's Most Famous Panel Show Authorized by Gil Fates the show's producer was released by Prentice Hall in 1978. (NOTE: the cover of the book features original host John Charles Daly and the original three panelists Arlene Francis, Bennett Cerf and Dorothy Kilgallen.)
Wally Bruner Era Opening
Wally Bruner Era
Larry Blyden Era
See Also: What's My Line? (1968)/Episode Guide
What's My Line?
What's My Line? (Radio)
What's My Line? (1981 proposed revival)
What's My Line? (1996 proposed revival)
What's My Line? (2000 pilot)
What's My Line? (2008 Proposed revival)
What's My Line? (2015 Proposed revival)
That's My Line