Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Where's 'What's My Line?'


So, it's funny to think about in a way, but I've found myself missing TV at home this week, waiting on the satellite guy to come hook it up.

He can't get to it until Monday. Which I thought would be fine. I have plenty of DVDs to satisfy my tube cravings, plus I figured this would give me time to get caught up on that Teddy Roosevelt book I've been neglecting.

And, sure, it's OK. But I find myself missing little things.

Back when I had the flu, I couldn't sleep one night and got into watching re-runs of the classic 1950s-60s game show "What's My Line?" My friend, who is known as the Giant Rat of Knoxville, about the same time showed me a TiVOed copy of a particular episode featuring former Senate Minority Leader Everett Dirksen.

I quickly became hooked. The game was rather simple. What made "What's My Line?" engaging was the show's erudite panel.

For years, the lineup included noted columnist Dorothy Kilgallen, stage and screen star Arlene Francis and sophisticated book publisher (and Random House co-founder) Bennett Cerf. Guest panelists included former "Tonight Show" host Steve Allen and comedian Fred Allen. The show's host was commentator John Daly, most famous for announcing the 1941 Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and FDR's death in 1945 on CBS radio.

The best part of the show was the weekly mystery guest, usually an entertainment personality, who would try to stump the (blindfolded) panel. Since I've been watching the re-runs, I've seen everybody from Gloria Swanson to Phil Rizzuto.

The Rat called last night to report that former Tennessee Sen. Estes Kefauver was the guest on last night's episode. The show airs nightly on GSN at 3 a.m. (Eastern).

And, yeah, I miss sports and the nightly news and XM radio and all the usual suspects. But I guess it says something about me that I miss those grainy black-and-white game show re-runs most.

Maybe I was born too late after all.

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1 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is a sad note that we do not have enough liberally educated public personalities to make up a What's My Line panel that would be the equal of the old one. Not everything new is better.

8:48 AM  

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