Classic Game Show

Your New York Panelists

DATELINE: Whose Line?

If you want to see what high-powered cerebral entertainment appeared on Sunday nights in 1955 on your television, you can look up What’s My Line?  It is in glorious black and white, which is a shame, but technically that was its limit.

The show’s title has lived on longer than the show, as a punchline and as part of cultural heritage. We tuned in to a random episode from the first season to see what this upper-crust New York game show was all about. It was not for kids even back then.

We were not surprised in many ways. The panel is decked out in dress clothes, obviously out on the town in Manhattan earlier for dinner. They are also not your usual young, demographic and telegenic pretty airheads.

You have a fairly high-powered group: Bennett Cerf, a publisher, and Dorothy Kilgallen, a Broadway muckraking journalist. The other woman on the panel was Arlene Francis, whose career as a singer was long gone. They were joined by satirical Fred Allen. The show’s host was another journalist, John Daly.

The money given to guests is downright insulting. If the panel tries to guess the occupation, each “no” answer wins $5. Maybe it was worth more back then.

This is middle-aged fun for late on the weekend on your TV back then. The so-called lines of the guests are odd, always, and the highlight is a special celebrity guest who must use a fake voice as the panel wears masks.

This is not a dumb group, and they know how to frame a question and narrow done the selection of jobs. We cringe at what a modern version of this might be like! Back then, audiences were literate, older, more inclined to modest humor and good-natured ribbing. It’s a long-gone America.

It’s worth looking at if you’re a senior citizen wanting to have a nostalgic moment. Otherwise, you will be horrified and bored.

 

 

Who Killed Dorothy Kilgallen?

DATELINE: The Reporter Who Knew Too Much

Killed Kilgallen? Heroic Woman Ignored Again!

This week is the 55th anniversary of the death of John F. Kennedy in Dallas in 1963, which began a cascading of bad events and cultural deterioration in America.

One of the forgotten victims and researchers from the earliest conspiracy days of the Kennedy Assassination was a muckraking journalist named Dorothy Kilgallen. She was a Broadway gossip columnist and star of the TV game show called What’s My Line, which probably contributed to a sexist dismissal of her work.

In November of 1965, she was found dead in her luxury New York apartment—and her ground-breaking research and manuscript was missing. She had interviewed Jack Ruby privately twice and was preparing a second trip to New Orleans

Her death was suspicious, but not investigated by police. Author Mark Shaw’s original book on the subject, The Reporter Who Knew Too Much, spends half the work on her biography—and the second half of the book on lining up suspects and trying to determine what she had uncovered. Many people are still burying her research.

There is no cooperation from Kilgallen’s three children, for some unknown reason. Shaw’s work is thorough and compelling, all the moreso because most “serious” books on the assassination of President Kennedy ignore her mysterious death and hard work.

Kilgallen’s enemies were numerous, as might befit a gossip columnist with a poisonous style of indictment. Frank Sinatra and J. Edgar Hoover loathed her. She knew many of the mobsters who were enemies of the Kennedy family and felt betrayed by patriarch Joe and brother Robert.

Shaw loves Kilgallen even more than her family and is intent on restoring her value and importance in history. If she indeed was a murder victim who came too close to the truth in the early days of conspiracy theory, then she needs to be recognized as a pioneer of the truth-seekers.

It is a fascinating story told by Mark Shaw, though you will suffer the bane of murder mystery: she was not able to identify the culprits before her untimely death–and neither is author Shaw.