The late and great Darren McGavin is an actor we remember fondly around here. Whether that be from his roles as Carl Kolchak in The Night Stalker. Which has been covered by both the Retroist as well as a Saturday Frights podcast. Or from his memorable roles in the likes of A Christmas Story or even The X-Files. But it’s not like those were the only roles that made Darren McGavin a star. Which is certainly evident as he was a guest panelist on an episode of 1961’s What’s My Line?.
What’s My Line? first started airing on CBS back in 1950. Over seventeen years the show featured celebrity panelists attempting to guess the occupation of a guest. Furthermore with the mystery celebrity guest, the panelists had to guess their identity. Originally the shown was intended to be entitled Occupation Unknown.
[Via] Maeve S.
Hence What’s My Line? is of course referring to the occupation of the guests. Besides a handful of episodes that were captured on Quadruplex videotape, all shows were filmed live. Starting with the premiere episode on February 2, 1950 until it’s last episode on September 3, 1967. Although having said that there was a syndicate revival that started in 1968 and lasted until 1975. Which is certainly one of the reasons that TV Guide ranked it as the ninth greatest game show of all time in 2003.
[Via] Second Chance 1977
Now getting back to Darren McGavin, the actor actually got his start on Broadway. His big TV break came in 1958 with Mickey Spillane’s Mike Hammer. McGavin naturally played the role of the famous private detective. That noir-based TV show ran for two seasons. At the same time in fact as McGavin appeared in NBC’s popular show Riverboat. Running from 1959 until 1961 and featured…briefly…as co-star, Burt Reynolds.
[Via] SJ Bernstein
I said briefly because after 20 episodes, Reynolds claims he couldn’t get along with McGavin. So that resulted in a change in the cast of Riverboat . With Burt Reynolds being replaced by The Rockford Files‘ Noah Beery Jr. for 13 episodes. It was neither TV series it seems that had McGavin as a guest panelist. In the November 26 episode from 1961, he is mentioned as appearing in Blood, Sweat, and Stanley Poole.
You might notice from that vintage playbill that it also starred a very young Peter Fonda.
Friends, grab your favorite snack and beverage and enjoy Darren McGavin in What’s My Line?
How about a bonus episode of What’s My Line?
An episode I might add that features none other than mystery celebrity guest…Roger Moore!
[Via] Chad Mosher