What's My Line?, as social commentary

I mentioned, earlier, that I've recently enjoyed What's My Line, the 50's and 60's gameshow. And there's some interesting things to take away from the show.

Mostly recently, I was reminded of what's wrong with just about all "reality" shows, these days. This clip could have turned into the sort of self-absorbed, meandering soliloquies that characterize a lot of those shows, but every time the contestant appeared that he might wander off into one of those, he was cleverly and politely cut off by the moderator.

But what I really wanted to talk about was some of the mores and assumptions that are different from what we see, nowadays.

For instance, female guests are always asked whether it should be Mrs or Miss (now considered a faux pas), and the host always gets their chair for them.  You can tell, when a pretty lady is about to be a contestant, from the whistles as soon as the audience can see her; I guess that part hasn't changed.

One of them was how long the clips are. Some of them approach ten minutes long, which we'd never see, these days, without commercials. Of course, most of them have product placement, and there are occasional "words" from the sponsor. But there isn't the regular breakup, every five or six minutes (or whatever it is; since I watch almost non-sports TV, I don't keep track), to go to commercials. And some of these would certainly suffer from being broken up.

Another difference is that you will hear the occasional french, german, or spanish (generally no more than a few words at a time, but it does happen) on the show, which would probably not fly, nowadays (other than the spanish, I suppose). R's got rolled, as appropriate, is one change.

Another change is that any humor that tends towards the crude is just glossed over (probably with a laugh or three). There isn't much of that around, now.

You also get an interesting perspective on celebrities of the time, whether they're panelists or guests. It's a much more interesting perspective, I think, than just a straight interview.

Also, when government people show up as guests, they're praised for public service, not castigated. Granted, not everyone would be treating them as lepers, these days, but a sizeable percentage would be (the Tea Party "patriots", in particular). Yes, even the head of tax collection was greeted with applause.

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