25 Jan 65 : Spotting stars on TV’s What’s My Line? : New York, USA

Crossway Idlewild Inn, New York

Monday 25th Jan 

Dear Mum, Dad, Nigel, Carol and Kipp,

Last night we went as part of the audience of What’s My Line? and it was jolly good too.

(NOTE: What’s My Line? was an extremely popular American TV game show which ran from 1950-1975, with further international versions and revivals. Celebrities had to question contestants to discover what job they held. The programme won multiple awards and remains America’s longest-running prime-time game show.) 

We didn’t laugh much at the show, but a lot at the antics of the man in charge of the audience. He was the ‘warm-up man’ who had to warm up the audience with jokes and chit-chat, and he came around asking where people were from.

When a woman said she was from Canada, there was a round of applause – so we decided to really show them, and told him we were from England. For a while he thought we were kidding. He was finally convinced and thereupon started to tell a whole string of English jokes and English sayings.

His job was to brainwash us all into laughing and clapping during the programme, and before the show he made us rehearse laughing.

During the show at the slightest and un-funniest remark by the panel or contestant, he would stagger around the stage in apparent hysterics, and everyone laughed at him, more than the remark!! He was my exact image of a typical American compere of a quiz programme.

The star Mystery Guest was none other than Jack Lemmon which was a great surprise.

We are working in Brooklyn, New York, this week and staying at this motel near the fabulous Kennedy Airport, which is very nice.

We have heard that one of the fellows that trained with us is in Dallas, Texas, which makes us very envious – still, we may get away from this area soon I hope.

To be continued…

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NOTE: You can watch this specific episode of What’s My Line? on Youtube HERE.  

Although Tony didn’t mention it in his letter (probably as he wasn’t so famous then) the actor William Shatner, famous for playing James T Kirk in Star Trek, was also on the celebrity panel.

Worth noting, there’s also some very classic 1960s sexism! And at 20:15 minutes, there’s an incredible in-show advertising feature for Aspirin which is fascinating -as a Brit, I’ve never seen anything like it!

William Shatner What's My Line.

Bayer Aspirin advert what's my lineJack Lemmon whats my line

2 thoughts on “25 Jan 65 : Spotting stars on TV’s What’s My Line? : New York, USA

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