"The book is a film that takes place in the mind of the reader." ~ Paulo Coelho

Saturday, April 3, 2021

What's My Line?: Doris Day

 Hi, everybody!

Today is Holy Saturday and while I talked about a religious movie in my last post, I’m sliding in before Easter to write about something else. Do you know what I love to celebrate on this blog? Birthdays. Today, April 3rd, Doris Day would’ve been 99 years old! That’s pretty incredible, and a lot of people think so because Michaela at Love Letters to Old Hollywood is hosting her Fifth Annual Doris Day Blogathon!

For my entry I will be talking about her appearances on the game show What’s My Line?. 
The rundown:
First of all, what is this game show? What's My Line? was a 30 minute game show that ran from 1950-1975.
This is how it worked:
A panel of four judges try to guess contestants' "lines" (jobs) by asking yes or no questions. The host/panel moderator, John Charles Daly, guided them and helped rework questions to fit the correct format. Each member of the panel would guess until they received a solid "no", a card is flipped, the contestant earns five dollars, and the next person on the panel begins to guess. When all ten cards are flipped the contestant wins! If the panel guess what their line is, then they still get however much money that they won in "nos".

L to R: The three regular panelists, Arlene Francis, Bennett Cerf, and Dorothy Kilgallen, & the panel moderator, John Daly.

Now, this might sound boring, but I assure you that it isn't! The occupations are so unique, the panel has a hard time. Sometimes their guesses are so off, that it's a hoot! Plus, the highlight is that after two contestants there is the mystery guest! This guest is a celebrity and would be recognizable, so the judges wear blindfolds and get to ask one yes or no question before moving onto the next panel member and they have to guess who it is.

Blindfolds ready, panel?

For ages I would always just skip to the mystery person, but once I started watching full episodes I realized how much I was missing. The celebrity is how I'm connecting it back to my blog. The plan for this series is to talk about all of certain celebrity's appearances. To me, I think that you can tell a lot about a person based on the way they acted here. Some where shy, some were funny, some were bold, you get the idea!

If I were to review it like I do movies, I would say:
Length: 30 minutes.
Script: 10, Iʼve never heard a bad word.
Content: 9, sometimes there are one or two suggestive comments, but itʼs rare.
Age Range: Iʼve been watching this for a long time, but as I said, I didnʼt used to be interested in the first 2/3. I would say that little kids would like to just watch the mystery guest if they knew who it was, just because they wouldnʼt get how funny the rest of it was (especially if they canʼt read).

It is time to start! Will you come in mystery challenger, and sign in please...


Doris Day appeared on What’s My Line? on two different occasions. Here are the dates and who was on the panel for each time:

June 20th, 1954: PANEL: Bennett Cerf, Arlene Francis, Steve Allen, & Dorothy Killgallen.

September 8th, 1957: PANEL: Arlene Francis, Robert Young, Dorothy Killgallen, & Bennett Cerf.

These episodes were a ton of fun to watch. Doris was just so sweet and charming! A fun fact is that on her first appearance on What’s My Line? it was her first ever appearance on television! She enjoyed the show as much as I did, as she said in the second episode:
“Oh John, it’s my pleasure and I must say that this is one of my very favorite shows. I really love it.”

Doris Day was known for her easily recognizable singing voice so she tried to disguise it both times with squeaking “yes” or “no” in a very high voice. I naturally compare sounds to animals, so she sounds like a mouse here. Bennett could be sometimes deaf so he asked, “Would you make your ‘yes’s and your ‘no’s a bit more different?” I thought it was plenty different. When the panel was taking a long time but they knew she was a singer John joked that he career would be over soon using those high notes if they didn’t hurry up.

It’s fun to be able to connect it to a timeline even when I already know the date that it aired. For example, in Doris’s first episode she mentioned that she was going to start making Young at Heart (1954) with Frank Sinatra soon, and in her second one they mentioned the movie The Pajama Game (1957). In the end credits of one the announcer mentioned the TV show Gunsmoke which I watched frequently a few years ago.

Here are some of my favorite parts from both shows, but these are only a small portion so you should find the episodes on YouTube and watch for yourself! Doris Day will be abbreviated as DD.:

DD has been answering in a squeaky “uh huh” this whole time and John hasn’t done any talking then:
Dorothy Killgallen: “Might you be described as a ‘glamour girl’ instead of a terribly serious actress?
John C. Daly: *deep voice* “Uh huh!”
The audience laughed and DD gave John a hug!

Arlene Francis: “Is your name alliterative?”
Steve Allen: “Watch your language.”
John C. Daly: “I don’t think whether our guest went to school or not got’s anything to do with this!”
This playing on alliterative vs. illiterate really cracked me up!

Arlene Francis: “Do you, uh, apart from acting, do you sing or dance?”
DD squeaks a yes, twice because the first one was a little weak. Which causes people to laugh.
John C. Daly: “Mr. Young.”
Robert Young: “Uh, you have a little trouble singing.”

Want to find out what this is? Watch the first episode!

Did she win or were the panel successful? You’ll have to watch and see!

Thanks to Michaela for hosting! Be sure to check out the other entries HERE.

Thanks to all of you for reading! I hope that you have a happy Easter tomorrow! Happy birthday, Miss Day!



  1. Again, this looks like such a fun show. I'll have to see if I can find a way to watch these sometime.
    I've heard of Doris Day, but I'm not sure if I've seen her in anything or not. It's crazy that she would've been 99, though.
    Happy Easter, by the way.

  2. I tell myself all the time I need to watch more of this show because the clips I've seen so far have been great. I especially admire the celebrities who were able to disguise their voices -- I'd feel so ridiculous if I had to do that, haha. I always feel bad for the celebrity when a panelist can't understand them, too, like with Doris.

    Thank you for contributing to my event!

  3. I've been meaning to watch some of her movies.

  4. It's funny I was talking to my mom about 'What's my Line' the other day. Well, she was explaining what it was. I'd been asking her if she knew anything about Vincent Price because I was looking for Vincent Price movies at the time and she was saying 'Isn't that the guy from What's My Line?' which was funny because Vincent Price was a famous horror? movie actor in Old Hollywood movies so we were talking about wildly different things and thinking we were referring to the same guy. We were both very confused.
    I should watch some of the show. It's cool that that's where she started. I should find out more about her, I'd never heard of her before this.

  5. This show is so super fun :-D I've seen random episodes over the years and enjoyed every one!

    And I love Doris Day. One of my favorite actresses!


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