On This Day: Lucille Ball & Bob Hope Appear as Mystery Guests on Iconic Game Show in 1963

by Suzanne Halliburton

Lucille Ball and Bob Hope, on this day 58 years ago, tried to trick a panel of blind-folded celebrities. It was all part of the long-running game show, What’s My Line.

The Twitter account for Silver Age Television prompted the memory by posting a clip of the show, Wednesday. It definitely was a cool episode, with stars the caliber of Lucille Ball and Bob Hope checking in as guests.

“On this date in 1963, Bob Hope and Lucille Ball were the mystery guests on the panel game show What’s My Line hosted by John Charles Daly. Sitting on the panel were Arlene Francis, Buddy Hackett, Dorothy Kilgallen, and Bennett Cerf.”

Lucille Ball Checked In As Lucy Hope

So what was What’s My Line all about on this day? Bob Hope and Lucille Ball checked in as “Bob Ball” and “Lucy Hope.” Back then and now, celebrities usually appear on game or talk shows to promote a project. Hope and Ball were there to increase the national chatter on their movie, Critic’s Choice. They’d just gone live on The Ed Sullivan Show. Plus, Lucille Ball recently completed the first season of The Lucy Show. And Bob Hope wanted everyone to read his new book, I Owe Russia $1,200.

The panelists, who can’t see the celebrity guests, asked questions to determine the identity. It took three questions to reveal who they were. What was the key question? Dorothy Kilgallen, a columnist who wrote about Broadway, asked the two “Is one of you red-haired ad the other ski-nosed.” (Bob Hope often joked about his nose).

Lucy Also Appeared with Desi Arnaz on Another Episode

Lucille Ball was a frequent guest on What’s My Line, which ran from 1950-67. Her first appearance was in 1954. She started answering questions in the same Martian voice she used in an episode of I Love Lucy. Arlene Francis guessed correctly after she asked Lucy if she’d recently been wearing maternity clothes. Ball was a new mother in real life and on her TV show.

Lucille Ball and her husband Desi Arnaz were on together the next season. The panel guessed that Lucy was there, but couldn’t figure out that she was accompanied by her husband. Oops.

In 1961, Lucille Ball was on the show to promote her Broadway show, Wildcats. Actress Faye Emerson quickly figured it out when she asked Ball if she was a red-headed wildcat.

And in 1965, Lucille Ball signed in as “Lucy.” Hmm. Arlene Francis guessed correctly. Ball was there to promote Easter Seals. And she told a story of how she’d recently been to the White House to speak with President Lyndon Johnson.

As always, Lucille Ball will forever be the first lady of classic TV.