What’s My Line?

TV classics: What’s My Line?

USA 1950-67, 17 seasons,  876 episodes, 25 minutes each, CBS, black & white. Presented by John Charles Daly. Panelists: Arlene Francis, Dorothy Kilgallen, Bennett Cerf, Louis Untermeyer, Hal Block, Steve Allen, Fred Allen, Mystery celebrity guests: Julie Andrews, Eve Arden, Desi Arnaz, Fred Astaire, Lauren Bacall, Lucille Ball, Candice Bergen, Polly Bergen, Carol Burnett, James Cagney, Claudette Colbert, Sean Connery, Joan Crawford, Bette Davis, Doris Day, Kirk Douglas, Errol Flynn, Joan Fontaine, Ava Gardner, Judy Garland, James Garner, Bob Hope, Grace Kelley, Gene Kelly, Deborah Kerr, Hedy Lamarr, Angela Lansbury, Jack Lemmon, Sophia Loren, Myrna Loy, Allen Ludden, Paul Newman, Debbie Reynolds, Ginger Rogers, Mickey Rooney, Jane Russell, Jean Simmons, Frank Sinatra, Ann Sothern, Jimmy Stewart, Barbra Streisand, Elizabeth Taylor, Gene Tierney, Lana Turner, Robert Wagner, Betty White, Joanne Woodward, Jane Wyman, Robert Young et al.

Game summary: Four panelists are trying to guess the occupation of their guests and the identity of the mystery celebrity of the week.

Review: What’s My Line? was one of the longest running and most popular game shows on American TV. Launched as early as in 1950, the show was broadcast weekly on CBS for seventeen successful seasons until it was continued on a daily basis in syndication. Transferred to radio as well as to audiences worldwide, the format was a big success and didn’t go off the air until 1975. In its history, What’s My Line? featured a lot of famous mystery celebrity guests such as Lucille Ball, Bette Davis, Myrna Loy, Elizabeth Taylor or Robert Young, some of whom appeared more than once.

With its easy format, the game show was an entertaining half hour of guessing what the weekly guests were doing for a living, for the panelists as much as for the TV audience. Broadcast live in the beginning, What’s My Line? lived of the chemistry between its regular panelists and their host John Charles Daly. Arlene Francis, Dorothy Kilgallen and Bennett Cerf stayed with the show the longest while the fourth spot on the panel was usually given to a famous incoming guest. The thrill of the show lay in the variety of professions the panelists had to guess by asking funny as well as witty “yes-and-no only” questions. The mystery celebrity guest was always the cherry on top of each episode when the blindfolded panel of four queried its way to revealing who was sitting next to their host.

Like so many of the classic game shows, What’s My Line? is a lot of fun to watch these days. The panelists, guests and celebrities are entertaining and hilarious at times. The program is innocent for today’s standards, classy and polite. The game is harmless and relaxing, a perfect show to watch at the end of a hectic day.

Selected clips available on youtube (see links above).

I Love Lucy

TV classics: I Love Lucy

USA 1951 – 57, 6 seasons,  181 episodes, 25 minutes each, CBS, black & white. Producer: Jess Oppenheimer. Cast: Lucille Ball, Desi Arnaz, Vivian Vance, William Frawley

Plot summary: Housewife Lucy is happily married to bandleader husband Ricky Ricardo and constantly tries to get a piece of his New York stardom cake.

Review: A lot has been said about I Love Lucy since it first aired on CBS in 1951. There are endless trivia websites, books and articles about America’s TV darling and her TV show. Sixty years after it first went on the air, I Love Lucy is still as popular in re-runs and on DVD as it used to be back in the days. Lucy is a household name, and along with her (real life) hubby Ricky Ricardo (Desi Arnaz), Ethel (Vivian Vance) and Fred Mertz (William Frawley).

Who doesn’t know her infamous hue and cry when Ricky forbids her to audition for one of his shows?! Who wouldn’t recall her distinct laugh, her comedy queen miens or her cranky outbursts?! That’s what we love her for!

Lucy is pure entertainment: scripted comedy rehearsed to perfection. A mighty talented cast, a memorable theme song and many many goofball moments to make us squirm, laugh and cry with Lucy and her gang. The jokes just don’t get old. The style of the show is genuine and has a beautiful vintage appeal on top of it all. It’s a real classic and a true golden Hollywood gem, bound to make its audience happy, no matter how often you’ve seen it!

Available on DVD.

In loving memory of Lucille Ball who would’ve turned a good 100 on August 6th and still rocks my risible muscles.

Happy Birthday, Lucy!