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What's my Line? question

Discussion in 'TV on DVD and Blu-ray' started by Vahan_Nisanain, Mar 17, 2014.

  1. Vahan_Nisanain

    Vahan_Nisanain Supporting Actor

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    I've got a question about the game show. The original 1950-1067 series with John Daly to be exact.

    How many episodes exist, of the 876 that were made? I believe it might be 763, but I am not even sure about that. Do any of the 100 or so missing episodes (most of which are from 1950 to 1952) at least survive in audio form? And which episode guide is the best to use?
     
  2. Dave B Ferris

    Dave B Ferris Screenwriter

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    At least 5 or 6 years ago, I used an episode guide at a web site that changed-hands several times - however, the main contributor was there throughout the changes.Google "Suzanne" and "Astorino". I think her episode guide was the best, because - although I'm a little murky on the exact details - she had access to hand-written logs that had been maintained by Gil Fates.
     
  3. Vahan_Nisanain

    Vahan_Nisanain Supporting Actor

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    I did google, and it seems to link to the one on tv.com.
     
  4. Jack P

    Jack P Producer

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    The count I had was about 758 to 760 or so. There are two extant episodes that GSN does not own because they were saved from alternate sources, one of them being the 2/21/54 show with Lucille Ball that is on all the public domain releases, the other from 1950 with New York mayor William O'Dwyer as the Mystery Guest.

    The missing episodes do not survive although there are clips from two in the "What's My Line At 25" special from 1975, one being the Dean Martin/Jerry Lewis episode from 1954 and a 1967 one with Betty Grable I think. Unfortunately, it seems those two episodes were destroyed in the process of getting the clip for that anniversary special (in 1975 they were still using the original kinescope reels to pull things and in this case of a couple episodes that got spliced for the anniversary special, the footage taken out for the anniversary special was not put back in.) Also lost was a 1960 episode with Kirk Douglas appearing as a regular contestant with the line "sells electric blankets for horses". Fates wanted to use the spot in the anniversary special but Douglas refused because as Fates recalled, "Douglas remembered the spot.....and HATED IT!" So it seems in the process there that one got damaged or destroyed.

    Some shows from 1967 are also missing because they had been videotaped and stockpiled for alternate week/summer airing and for some reason were not kinescoped at the time.
     
  5. Dave B Ferris

    Dave B Ferris Screenwriter

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    I think TV.COM was the third or fourth owner (or host), and by that time most of the regulars felt the site had deteriorated, not because of Suzanne, but because of the policies, design, etc. unique to that owner (host). If you're up for additional Googling, I think your best bet would be to find an email address for Suzanne. She was very nice, and I'm thinking she could probably point you to a more-or-less "archived" site where her episode guide (again, based on the notes from Gil Fates) is relatively intact.
     
  6. AndyMcKinney

    AndyMcKinney Cinematographer

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    I guess it's probably also fair to say that none of the color episodes from 1967 exist in color anymore, because 1). not all of them were videotaped in the first place (I think I remember reading that at that time, some were taped, some aired live) and 2). of the ones that were taped, no videotapes were kept (the only copies saved were the B/W kinescopes) as the tapes were re-used.
     
  7. Jack P

    Jack P Producer

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    Yes, we have never seen a single color or even B/W videotape quality episode of "What's My Line" or "I've Got A Secret". One nighttime "To Tell The Truth" episode from 4/24/67 exists in color videotape quality along with the many B/W and color videotape daytime shows of 1965-68 and of course nighttime "Password" was preserved amazingly on B/W videotape for its entire 1962-65 run (though there are about 2-3 missing shows I think). Color daytime Password for 1966-67 only exists selectively in the cut-down versions for syndication from 1967-71.
     
  8. David Weicker

    David Weicker Cinematographer

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    For the color episodes put on B&W kinescopes, it is a possibility they could be 'restored' to color using the same process used for some of the Doctor Who episodes. It would depend on the method used to transfer them to film.With the DW episodes there was a flickering that someone realized was actually the chroma signal. It should have been filtered out at copy time, but the technician had forgot to flip a switch so the original tape would be played in B&W. Since the original played in color, part of the color signal was put onto the kinescope, but as a flicker in the image. Through the use of computers, some DW episodes have been made color again. This is not colorization.
     
  9. Vahan_Nisanain

    Vahan_Nisanain Supporting Actor

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    One other thing: Exactly which WML? episodes with John Daly were pre-recorded, rather than live?
     
  10. Jack P

    Jack P Producer

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    There were quite a few by the 60s. I think only the old database on tv.com (which I think I downloaded) would clear that up but its way too extensive to list. It would be amusing sometimes to see the panel have to pretend its summer (when the episode would air) when it was still March or April!
     
  11. AndyMcKinney

    AndyMcKinney Cinematographer

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    Possible, perhaps, but far from likely. For a start, has a similar process to Colour Recovery (the British method) even been developed for NTSC kinescopes? It would first take someone over here to develop the process for NTSC land (as had to be done for the filter used to make telerecordings (UK) and kinescopes (US) look like the original videotape (VidFire in the UK and LiveFeed in the US).

    Then, as you say, one would have to determine if the chroma (color information) is still in there. I have no idea whether an on/off switch for chroma was a consideration in the kinescope process or not (while similar to the telerecording process in the UK, I understand the systems aren't exactly alike).

    Then, if color data is present, it would have to be determined whether it was in good enough condition or not. A poor chroma signal kept episode one of Doctor Who: Invasion (of the Dinosaurs) from looking as good as others.

    Lastly, it would take with will to even do it, because someone would have to pay for all of this. I can't see GSN forking out any money. Also can't see Freemantle having much interest in this. We only have to look at the very small amount of kinescope product that has been run through LiveFeed to serve as an example.

    So, while possible, restoring any old game shows to color (from B/W kinescopes) is about as likely as all of those missing What's My Line episodes turning up.
     
  12. Vahan_Nisanain

    Vahan_Nisanain Supporting Actor

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    I just remembered that this show was going to get a best-of treatment from BCI, but then the company went under. This is according to Cliff M. who went on to work for Shout Factory; not sure if he still does.
     
  13. Jack P

    Jack P Producer

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    We not only lost a planned "What's My Line" release when BCI went under but also one for the 70s game show "Tattletales" plus another volume of "Family Feud". It's too bad they screwed up the "Password" release with botched encoding that turned the videotape quality into kinescopey quality (another comment on how stupid some people are who think film is superior to tape in all things)
     
  14. Charles Ellis

    Charles Ellis Cinematographer

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    More than anything I'd love to see a revival of this show on TV!!! Freemantle Media owns the rights, and a new version is definitely needed on the air.
     
  15. AndyMcKinney

    AndyMcKinney Cinematographer

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    Exactly. Despite the compression and on-screen bugs, my GSN copies of the color Password episodes still look better than the BCI DVDs. What a wasted effort!
     
  16. jimmyjet

    jimmyjet Producer

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  17. Vahan_Nisanain

    Vahan_Nisanain Supporting Actor

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    So nice to see this thread bumped.

    I've been loving What's My Line? a lot recently. I'm not of the 50's baby boomers that grew up with the program (I'm from the newer 80's and 90's generation), but I do enjoy the program very much. I'd rather watch WML than Steve Harvey's Family Feud any day of the week (too bad GSN thinks younger generations will be turned off it, hence why they never show it anymore, except for Christmas).

    I personally can't wait until we get to the final season, the one that was originally in color. That one had many young up and coming stars that most younger generations are familiar with (i.e. Warren Beatty, George Segal, Steve McQueen, The Smothers Brothers, Raquel Welch, Michael Caine, Ursula Andress, etc.)
     
  18. jimmyjet

    jimmyjet Producer

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    i just watched raquel and ursula yesterday - i dont think either was in color - but then they may have appeared more than once ?
     
  19. Vahan_Nisanain

    Vahan_Nisanain Supporting Actor

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    It was their only time on the program.

    The last season (September 11, 1966-September 3, 1967 #830-#876) was originally in color, but only B&W kinescopes for most of the episodes exist today.
     
  20. jimmyjet

    jimmyjet Producer

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