Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Occupation Unknown!

Can you guess what the longest running game show was in the history of prime time televsion? That's right! It was What's My Line.  It ran from 1950-1967. The show also won 3 Emmy Awards for the best quiz or audience participation show.
Originally the show was called, Occupation Unknown and was produced by Mark Goodson and Bill Todman. I bet you remember that show. It was hoted by John Charles Daley and the panelists were Dorthy Kilgallen, Arlene Francis, Bennett Cerf. and briefly Steve Allen.
The panel had to guess the occupation or the identity of the mystery guest. The questions could only be answered yes or no. The contestant won by receiving ten "no" answers or if time ran out. The prize for the winner? They got up to $50.00. Imagine that! Unknown to the public, the mystery guest was paid an additional $500.00 as an appearance fee whether they won or lost the game. Also, guest panelists were paid $750.00. At first, the regular panelists were paid $300.00 a week. According to Bennet Cerf, by the end of the series, they were paid "scandalous" amounts of money.
I just loved those blindfolds. Once in a while, the neighborhood kids would get together and play the game. I remember once I was Marilyn Monroe. No one could guess who I was. Some thought I was Miss Francis of the Ding Dong School and others thought I was Connie Stevens. It was fun, but I really could have used the $50.00.