'56 Reds A Hit On 'What's My Line'

Jun 23, 2016

1956 Reds on "What's My Line."
Credit YouTube

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 Ted Kluszewski was the spokesman, signing in as "11 guys from Cincinnati" before sitting next to host John Daly. Standing behind him were Joe Nuxhall, Frank Robinson, Wally Post, Gus Bell, Ed Bailey, Ray Jablonski, Smoky Burgess, Roy McMillan, Johnny Klipstein and Johnny Temple. 

Ted Kluszewski with host John Daly
Credit YouTube

The surprising Reds were media darlings in 1956. After 12 losing seasons – since Nuxhall pitched 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?

"No."

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?"

Wally Post, Ted Kluszewski and Gus Bell on Sports Illustrated's cover July 16, 1956.
Credit Sports Illustrated Vault

For longtime Reds fans, here are links to the first game box score and the second game box score

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's 16th home run.

And here's a link to Sports Illustrated's "Redleg Musclemen" cover story on July 16, 1956, in the SI Vault.