Thursday, May 20, 2010

"What's My Line?" with James Stewart

It may not seem like much to see a big-time movie star on television these days, but in the 1950s and 1960s the major studios were still running scared of the upstart medium that was threatening to overtake their monopoly on entertainment.  By the time this aired - in November 1963, in support of the Sandra Dee comedy Take Her, She's Mine - the movies had started to figure out how to harness the power of television for promotional purposes*.  None of which makes this appearance by James Stewart on What's My Line? any the less thrilling for both the studio audience and the viewers at home...

As presided over by host John Charles Daly, perennial panelists Dorothy Kilgallen, Bennett Cerf, and Arlene Francis - with guest panelist, legendary film writer and director Joseph L. Mankiewicz - have no trouble guessing the identity of the man whose birthday it would have been today.

*Just as some movie stars had given their moribund careers a new lease on life on the small screen.
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