What's My Line? : Oh, c'mon! The panel must have cheated sometimes!

Oh, c'mon! The panel must have cheated sometimes!

Some of the guesses for the mystery guest were absolutely ridiculous, with the panel guessing who it was inside of one minute with barely any clues as to who it might have been. And it's not like they guessed based on the voice, either, because some of the guests they instantly ID'ed did an amazing job disguising their voices.

Usually, it'll go something like this:

"Are you in the entertainment biz?" Oui. (And answered in a very, very good French accent.)
"Are you a woman?" Oui.
"Are you currently in a show?" No.
"Are you in the motion pictures?" Oui.
"You're not really French, are you?" No.
"Do you sing?" Oui.
"Are you blonde?" No.
"Is it _______???"

I am guessing that the panelist who always nails the guest that quickly must have accidentally seen him or her before the show. There's just no way they could've figured it out that quickly otherwise. It becomes all the more obvious if you play along by closing your eyes and listening to the questions.

The most eyebrow raising moment for me happened with Dennis Day. He did a number of spot on accents as he was answering the questions, and the questions couldn't have been more broad. But the panel happened to guess after six questions who he was, and the questions were so generic it could've been anyone from Art Carney up there to one of a number of other popular TV show actors who could also do voices.

---
IMDB, flagging ppl for bull💩 since 1995.

Re: Oh, c'mon! The panel must have cheated sometimes!

Part of it is the show was in New York rather than around Hollywood. Dorothy Kilgallen wrote a celebrity newspaper column and Fred Allen had a radio show. They were in the business and it was part of their jobs to know who was in town at the time, so that narrowed the field quite a bit.

As for the voices and accents, I have to put Ronald Reagan at the top of that list

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5BC5GxdMdLs

but I am in the situation of knowing him mostly as a politician. Gotta wonder if he pulled out any of those voices with foreign dignitaries when the camera wasn't on.

Re: Oh, c'mon! The panel must have cheated sometimes!


Part of it is the show was in New York rather than around Hollywood. Dorothy Kilgallen wrote a celebrity newspaper column and Fred Allen had a radio show. They were in the business and it was part of their jobs to know who was in town at the time, so that narrowed the field quite a bit.


This makes me appreciate To Tell the Truth did all the more. I'm not sure (I always get all of these shows confused), but I think that was the one where sometimes a panelist disqualified himself or herself if they immediately figured out who it was.

I didn't click on the link to Ronald Reagan because I haven't seen that episode yet and so don't want to be spoiled. But yes, he was an actor, and so was Nancy Reagan.

---
IMDB, flagging ppl for bull💩 since 1995.

Re: Oh, c'mon! The panel must have cheated sometimes!

The WML panelists often disqualified themselves as well. If they knew after just a few questions about the identity of a mystery guest or a regular guest, they tended to let the others play rather than revealing whom it was. With the mystery guests, it wasn't uncommon for the panelists to ask "Are you ________?" because they had a hunch, and they weren't always correct when they did this.

The exception to this was Dorothy Kilgallen. Here's what Bennett Cerf had to say about it:

"Another thing that infuriated us with Dorothy Kilgallen were the mystery guests. Sometimes they would have a very famous person on. Well, the audience wanted to see that mystery guest and him or her play the game for a bit with us. So we had established sort of an unwritten law that we'd let the questioning go around at least once before we picked off the mystery guest, even though we knew the minute he opened his mouth who it was-- just so people would have a little chance to see him. Not Dorothy Kilgallen; Arlene and I would purposely ask some silly question, knowing who it was. Dorothy would immediately identify the guest with some seemingly innocent question, often having seen the person at a restaurant the night before. She'd say, “Did I see you at 21 last night having dinner at the next table to me?" or something like that. Then she would get a yes and the audience would say “How brilliant.” Arlene and I could have named the guest before and we got angrier and angrier, as she kept showing off this way."

Check out this mystery guest appearance by Gene Kelly for a good example of what Bennett was talking about: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dlrzqzblc5c

Re: Oh, c'mon! The panel must have cheated sometimes!

There was just an episode on where Fred Allen pretty much guessed the mystery guess with no questions because she was in Guys and Dolls and the movie was being released and he was personal friends with the producer. So they completely were aware that their show was being used to promote the newest show or movie in town. And keep in mind that there were only 3-4 television networks at the time and a handful of movie studios....So many fewer people in the pool to guess from.
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