Syndicated, September 9, 1968 – September 1975
Run time
30 Minutes
Wally Bruner 1968-1972
Larry Blyden 1972-1975
Johnny Olson
Chet Gould
Wayne Howell
Dennis Wholey
Bob Williams
Jack Haskell
Ed Sullivan Theater, New York City, New York (1968-1971)
NBC Studios 8H and 6A, New York City, New York (1971-1975)

This is chronicling the 1968 version of What's My Line?.

Game formatEdit

In each What's My Line? game, a contestant would enter the stage and sign in his/her name, by virtue of the host saying, "Will you enter & sign in please?" After that, he/she sat down at a desk next to the host. The game would begin by having the home audience be shown what's his/her line, and the host afterwards told the panel a clue which is usually "deals in a service" or "self-employed", something like those. Now the panelists in turn asked yes-or-no questions to the contestant which would hopefully lead to the right line. Each time the panelist in control got a yes answer, his/her turn continued, but if at any time the panelist in control got a no answer, he/she loses his/her turn and control passed to the next panelist in line; the contestant will also receive $5. Upon a no answer, the host would say the famous catchphrase "# down, # to go" (Ex: 2 down, 8 to go). Sometimes a question would have the host make a brief explanation which can lead to either a yes or no answer. A panelist can be allowed to pass his/her turn without penalty; other times the panel can call a conference. If the panel can guess the right line, they won the game, but if they got ten no answers, the contestant stumped the panel and won the game and a maximum total of $50. Often, the host would throw the cards over (end the game) when time was running short or any other reason.

In the syndicated run, the contestant would demonstrate or perform the product or service in question.

Mystery GuestEdit

After two rounds of What's My Line? were played, a third round was played but a little differently. For this round featured the appearance of the "Mystery Guest". This was where the panelists were blindfolded so they couldn't see the guest. The mystery guest entered and signed in as usual, and that's where the game began. As usual the panel asked yes or no questions, this time to try and guess the name of the mystery challenger. What makes this round more different is that this time each panelist can only ask one question per turn hence the rule "one question at a time", and they had two to three minutes to identify the guest. While all this was going on, the mystery guest disguised his/her voice in a variety of ways.

Some mystery guests wouldn't be famous from the entertainment field, but from other walks of life; when that happens, those guests would play in the main rounds; instead of writing their names, they would write down a big "X" referring to them as Mr. or Ms. "X". One such main round mystery guest was future president Jimmy Carter.

In the syndicated run, the mystery guests were no longer scored. Also in the syndicated run in later years, if a panelist made a wrong guess of the guest, he/she would be free to take his/her blindfold off.

Who's WhoEdit

In the 1960s & 1970s syndicated run, whenever there was extra time, a special game was instituted called Who's Who. This was where four members of the studio audience were lined up on stage, and their occupations were printed on cards. Each panelist took those occupation cards gave each to the appropriate contestant (the ones who they thought had that occupation). Each time one panelist failed, another panelist took a turn. The game ended when the panel was stumped or if a panelist can place the occupations with the right contestants.




Jason Colflesh's What My Line? Page