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Author Topic: Did one of the CBS "What's My Line?" videotapes finally turn up...??  (Read 2382 times)

TwoInchQuad

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On a whim, I happened to be cruising the UCLA website this evening, and lo & behold-- this listing popped up on their "Television Programs Restored and Preserved by UCLA" web page:

What's my Line?  (CBS, 9/7/1958)

For those who are curious, the mystery guest is Eva Marie Saint (who was in New York filming "North By Northwest" at the time), and the guest panelist is Tony Randall.

I don't think the everything on that page is videotape, but it looks like the majority of it is, so...

If they do hold the tape, it's also notable for being the oldest complete game show videotape that we know of.  The previous record holder was an episode of "Top Dollar", which aired about a week after this program. 

I hope the folks at UCLA got a better WML transfer than the CBS kinescope operators did-- the kinescope film version is a little rough, and you can see bad tape transfer artifacts throughout the show.

Hope I'm interpreting that page correctly... that would mean vintage tapes exist for WML, "I've Got A Secret", and a daytime "Beat The Clock"... maybe there's hope that a Cullen "Price Is Right" is still hiding out there somewhere...

- Kevin
« Last Edit: February 03, 2024, 04:58:50 AM by TwoInchQuad »

Matt Ottinger

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Re: Did one of the CBS "What's My Line?" videotapes finally turn up...??
« Reply #1 on: February 03, 2024, 09:58:50 AM »
Kevin, I wish I shared your enthusiasm -- truly I do -- but I'm not seeing anything here that says with any certainty that this Eva Marie Saint episode is a videotape.  Couldn't it just as easily have been a kinescope that UCLA has now "restored and preserved" into a modern, digital format? 

For those who might not know, once all the kinescopes that were sitting on the Goodson-Todman shelves got digitized, the physical films themselves were donated to various preservation centers, most notably the UCLA archive and the Library of Congress.  So UCLA is sitting on piles of that stuff, including dozens of shows GSN and Buzzr have never aired.  As far as my personal passion is concerned, those include many of the early Secret episodes that were sponsored by Cavalier and Winston cigarettes.  So the fact that we know they possess the original kinescopes leads me to think that it's far more likely that they just "preserved" one of those, for whatever reason.
This has been another installment of Matt Ottinger's Masters of the Obvious.
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TwoInchQuad

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Re: Did one of the CBS "What's My Line?" videotapes finally turn up...??
« Reply #2 on: February 03, 2024, 02:42:22 PM »
Kevin, I wish I shared your enthusiasm -- truly I do -- but I'm not seeing anything here that says with any certainty that this Eva Marie Saint episode is a videotape.  Couldn't it just as easily have been a kinescope that UCLA has now "restored and preserved" into a modern, digital format?


I definitely share your trepidation, but it would be an unusual addition on that particular page, which seem to be overwhelmingly devoted to videotaped programs.  So... it's possible that an actual tape reel turned up.

I'm going to nose around, and see if I can find out anything further...

- Kevin

TwoInchQuad

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Re: Did one of the CBS "What's My Line?" videotapes finally turn up...??
« Reply #3 on: February 03, 2024, 03:33:37 PM »
Well, a little more online searching brings things into focus. Unfortunately, UCLA did not turn up a videotape, but they did get the original picture & sound reels of film for the **35MM** original kinescope that was made.

Those elements are tough to find, these days. While many shows were first archived on 35MM kinescope film, after the reduction 16mm prints were made for the outlying stations, a lot of the 35MM masters were junked.

You can get an awesome image from the 35MM masters, so for all of us video geeks (like me), it would be interesting to see... even if it's not the same as an actual videotape.

Sorry for the false alarm, folks!

- Kevin

Eric Paddon

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Re: Did one of the CBS "What's My Line?" videotapes finally turn up...??
« Reply #4 on: February 04, 2024, 05:55:28 AM »
Appreciate the update and the information.    It's a reminder of how the game of "video archeology" can be complex and lead to all kinds of twists and turns, sometimes great, sometimes disappointing.    But it's great there are people like you, Kevin.

Matt Ottinger

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Re: Did one of the CBS "What's My Line?" videotapes finally turn up...??
« Reply #5 on: February 04, 2024, 11:02:04 AM »
Unfortunately, UCLA did not turn up a videotape, but they did get the original picture & sound reels of film for the **35MM** original kinescope that was made.

Wow, that's still pretty astonishing.
This has been another installment of Matt Ottinger's Masters of the Obvious.
Stay tuned for all the obsessive-compulsive fun of Words Have Meanings.

Matt Ottinger

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  • Posts: 12888
This has been another installment of Matt Ottinger's Masters of the Obvious.
Stay tuned for all the obsessive-compulsive fun of Words Have Meanings.

Eric Paddon

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  • Posts: 880
Re: Did one of the CBS "What's My Line?" videotapes finally turn up...??
« Reply #7 on: February 09, 2024, 12:13:36 PM »
For oldest B/W videotape program, is anything older than the "Edsel Show" special from October 1957?

TwoInchQuad

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Re: Did one of the CBS "What's My Line?" videotapes finally turn up...??
« Reply #8 on: February 19, 2024, 02:35:32 AM »
There's a couple of clips from "Pantomime Quiz" that say they were dated from 1957, but although I could believe it from the wardrobe, I don't think that an actual date has been confirmed.

- Kevin

Eric Paddon

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Re: Did one of the CBS "What's My Line?" videotapes finally turn up...??
« Reply #9 on: February 19, 2024, 02:48:59 PM »
Yeah, I've seen those two clips.   There's no way to pin those down as 57 (CBS) or 58 (ABC) since the first clip has Carol Burnett, Orson Bean and Milt Kamen who are listed as regulars in both years.