Who's Whose (lost one-episode CBS game show; 1951)

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A still from It's News To Me, the show that replaced Who's Whose in its next time slot.

Status: Lost

Who's Whose was a very short-lived early game show that was hosted by Phil Baker (radio comedian and host of various radio game shows) that aired for its first and final time on June 25th, 1951 on CBS. It was created to replace The Goldbergs in their time slot.[1]

Overview[edit | edit source]

Host Phil Baker had his own assistant during the show, a man in a turban named Gunga.[2] The show had three celebrity panelists, those being women's activist Robin Chandler, Art Ford and literary critic Basil Davenport.[3]

A game would start with a panel "of experts" next to three women and three men. The panel would try and decide what male was married to one of the females.[4]

The show had its own pilot (or, as it was known at the time by some, an "audition show") created in May 1951. Unlike other series at the time, the "audition show" for Who's Whose was created in a cheap, unique way.

In what was called a "two-bit kine", the pilot's audio was recorded on an audiotape in a studio, while the moving picture was created by taking a long series of still camera photos. The audio was played back while the producers flipped through the photographs.[5][6]

Reception and Cancellation[edit | edit source]

After the show premiered on June 25th, 1951, it was critically panned by audiences. One reviewer described the show as "one of the most poorly produced TV shows yet to hit our living room screen",[7] and another stated it was bad for a multitude of reasons.

Their first was that it was "lacking in production", the second was that the people playing the game didn't know how to play it, the third was that they described the host (or "emcee") Phil Baker as "uncomfortable" and "clumsy", and the fourth was that, not only did none of the contestants succeed in identifying the wife of Dizzy Dean, Dizzy Dean himself was nowhere to be seen at the time. The crew soon discovered Dizzy listening to a baseball game on the radio with an employee.[8]

After the critical reception of Who's Whose, CBS cancelled it immediately before it could air a second episode, making it one of (if not the) first television shows to be cancelled after only airing one episode. It was replaced by It's News To Me (a picture from which can be seen in the infobox) and was successful, running until 1954.[9]

Availability[edit | edit source]

No prints or kinescopes of Who's Whose exist. It has not surfaced since its original airing and is unlikely to surface due to television's wiping practices at the time, home video having not been invented yet, and it was also likely destroyed due to its failure, meaning CBS didn't think it would succeed again. As such, Who's Whose is likely lost to the ages.

As for It's News To Me, that series (which was also a panel game show) is also lost in some form, however, some episodes are known to survive.

External Link[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]