'56 Reds A Hit On 'What's My Line'
Sixty years ago, the Cincinnati Reds were a big hit on CBS' popular "What's My Line" prime-time quiz show on June 24, 1956.
After sweeping a Sunday afternoon doubleheader from the Brooklyn Dodgers, 11 Reds players went to CBS for the live 10:30 p.m. national telecast.
Slugger TedKluszewskiwas the spokesman, signing in as "11 guys from Cincinnati" before sitting next to host John Daly. Standing behind him were JoeNuxhall, Frank Robinson, Wally Post, Gus Bell, Ed Bailey, RayJablonski,SmokyBurgess, Roy McMillan, JohnnyKlipsteinand Johnny Temple.
The surprising Reds were media darlings in 1956. After 12 losing seasons – sinceNuxhallpitched as a teenager in 1944 – the Reds were in second place, 8 games over .500 (34-26). They were on pace to hit a National League record 221 home runs, lead by 1956 Rookie of the Year Frank Robinson (38), Post (36),Klu(35) Bell (29) and Bailey (28).Klu, Post and Bell would be pictured on the Sports Illustrated cover three weeks later.
Blindfolded panelists Dorothy Kilgallen, Bennett Cerf, Arlene Francis and Paul Winchell had 10 guesses to identify the "mystery guest." Of course they didn't have a Klu.
Are you salaried? Are you a performer? Are you seen on television? Do you, in your job, wear some sort of special cover-all, or uniform, or costume? Do you do what you do in the great outdoors?
Kluszewski provided some humorous answers to their questions.
Do people watch you? "At times, yes."
Do you work for a profit-making organization? Klu looked host Daly and finally answered, "Yes." Daly followed with a robust, "Yes, Ma'am!"
They finally figured me out: Would the sport you're involved with be baseball? Are you members of the same team? Is it one of the metropolitan teams?
Six down, four to go, Miss Francis.
"Then you won today!" exclaimed Francis, a baseball fan who knew that the Dodgers, Giants and Yankees all lost that Sunday afternoon.
After Klu introduced the team, Cerf made a special request for catcher Ed Bailey: "Can we get a special bow for the fellow who hit 3 homers in the first game?"
Nuxhall threw a 3-hit complete game in the nightcap. Don Drysdale gave up 5 hits and 1 run through 7 innings in that game, and Clem Labine took the loss by giving up Robinson's16thhome run.
And here's a link to Sports Illustrated's "Redleg Musclemen" cover story on July 16, 1956, in the SI Vault.
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