Sunday, January 12, 2014

Simplicity of the game

I tend to save the nostalgia bits for the weekends, when game show news slows.

So it's time for a look back at an AP story about, what else, What's My Line. The story comes from the Cleveland Plain Dealer in December 1954, when the regular panelists were the pictured Dorothy Kilgallen, Fred Allen, Arlene Francis and Bennett Cerf.

Sadly, two of the panelists wouldn't live out the original CBS run. In fact, Fred wouldn't survive 1956. Dorothy died in 1965, and conspiracy theorists still debate her passing. Bennett Cerf would die during the syndie run in 1971. Some of his eps would air after his death as they got bicycled around the country to various stations.

The amusing caricature shows John Daly pushing a contestant through his walk in front of the panel. Then a round of free guesses would follow. The show eliminated this bit of gameplay in 1955, making the game even simpler. The AP story rightly credits the "simplicity of the game" as one of the show's secrets of success.