Waxing Nostalgic Over Classic TV

Saturday, October 18, 2008

I've Got a Secret!

My favorite TV game show when I was a kid was I've Got a Secret. There was a certain thrill in knowing a contestant's secret while the panel didn't. It gave me a sense of superiority.

The original show ran from 1952 through 1967. Garry Moore was the host for most of those years, although Steve Allen took over for Moore in 1964. The panel included Bill Cullen, Betsy Palmer, Bess Myerson, and Henry Morgan. I always like Henry because he had attitude.

The show was produced by Mark Goodson and Bill Todman, who were the reigning kings of television game shows, in an era when game shows were much more popular than they are today. In fact, the most popular shows were on in prime time.

They took another of their very popular game shows, What's My Line? and turned it into I've Got a Secret. They were essentially the same show. On Line, the panelists tried to guess the contestant's job, and on Secret, the panelists tried to guess the contestant's secret.

This is a very interesting video, because it's the first time I've ever seen William "Fred Mertz" Frawley out of character. He's a celebrity contestant, and on the show he told the world his secret, which was that he used to be a woman.

Just kidding.

Oddly, the show ended abruptly, seemingly without warning, when Steve Allen announced at the end of the show, "Say, that wraps up I've Got a Secret for tonight, as a matter of fact, it wraps up I've Got a Secret. Uh, this is our fifteenth and final season on the air and this of course is our final program."

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