Desi Arnaz and Lucille Ball never had much luck pulling the wool over the What’s My Line? panel when they appeared as the show’s Mystery Guests.
For the handful of souls out there, aside from myself, who would be infuriated by a post revealing the outcomes of each of their trips to the seat next to host John Charles Daly, I hereby present a SPOILER ALERT. It may be the furthest reaching back SPOILER ALERT in the history of the notion, but there you are.
But, if you’ve ever wondered what the Ricardo apartment from I Love Lucy looked like in actual color and you choose not to move on, you’ll miss out on some seriously cool footage secretly shot on the set.
Collectively, Lucy and Desi went to bat as Mystery Guests eight times on the show, and with the exception of one Lucy appearance, the outcome of which remains in limbo, the two were identified by the blindfolded panel each and every time. Desi’s thick accent and Lucy’s increasingly deep voice as the years went on probably didn’t help, and in most of their appearances you definitely get the sense that the panel is clued in and playing along for fun, with the exception of the clip included here, where they are utterly lost for most of the round.
Lucy and Desi actually made their first Mystery Guest appearances separately – Desi solo on November 9 1952 (Arlene Francis guesses him correctly), and Lucy following on February 21, 1954 (Deborah Kerr makes the kill, with a hefty assist from Francis). Only once did the couple appear on the show together as man-and-wife and that was on this show – Episode 279 which aired live on the CBS network the night of October 2, 1955.
Lucille Ball returned as the Mystery Guest in 1961 (Faye Emerson makes the kill there), 1963 (Arlene gets her again), and twice in 1965, the first time in March (the outcome of this appearance still eludes me) and the second in July along with Bob Hope to promote their film Critic’s Choice (this time, Dorothy Kilgallen is first to identify the “red head” and the “ski nose.”). If anyone knows the outcome of, or has footage of the March 1965 show with panelists Kilgallen, Francis, Bennett Cerf and Mike Douglas, please send it my way!
Click here for some extremely rare footage taken on the set of I Love Lucy in 1951.