Thoughts While Watching: Walt Disney On What’s My Line? (1956)

Walt Disney on What's My Line?

My Thoughts While Watching posts are all about reacting to old Disney media with new eyes, so by now, I’m sure you’re used to my vintage video finds. But this time, are you ready to go waaay vintage? Good, because today’s series entry is what is known in the bygone parlance as a humdinger.

Remember that scene in 101 Dalmatians (aka the favorite Disney movie of my childhood) where Horace and Jasper watch “What’s My Crime?” as a clear satire of the mid-century TV game show “What’s My Line”? Have this clip as an amuse bouche:

Are you amused? Good, because it’s time to move on to the actual subject of this TWW post – Walt Disney on “What’s My Line” in 1956!

Now, I should tell you, Walt Disney does not show up until around the 17 minute mark of the 26 minute program, but I chose to give the full episode the TWW treatment because I got such a big kick out of it on a whole. If you’d like to skip ahead to my thoughts on Disney’s turn on the show specifically, start with thought #9.

Don’t change that dial, because it’s time to play…


1. Ahhh, mid-century design is the JAM. I already feel at home. Love the graphics; would wear the dresses.

2. THAT’S why my dad says “You may enter and sign in please!” I get it now!

3. I have heard of Jerry Lewis… I want to say Ryan Stiles does an impression of him?

4. Okay, if they don’t make this guy read somebody’s mind before he leaves, I will be VERY UPSET. [They didn’t and I am very upset.]

5. Holy smokes, I’ve never really sat down and watched this show but it’s freaking hilarious. “Do you work in an enclosure?” “Do you work in something that’s not always on the ground?” In the ’50s they took big swings!

6. Half these questions seem to suggest some sort of erotic service.

7. TF are reducing pills? Is it speed? I think in the ’50s they had speed? (Her dress, by contrast, is NOT good. Helluva hat though.)

8. Did he just call her fat on national television? A different time indeed.

9. It’s good to know Walt really did write his name like that.

10. I was wondering how they were going to get around the ubiquity of Uncle Walt’s voice. Maybe this whole language mashup is where Disney got the idea for World Showcase.

11. I can only assume the audience didn’t immediately burst into rapturous applause upon Walt’s arrival because they were frozen in awe.

12. Walt’s mugging is adorable.

13. STILL CLOCKED HIM ON THE VOICE. They shouldn’t’ve even let him talk!

14. Oh, man, there’s a ’50s interview from Walt’s daughter floating around out there? I’ll have to track that down.

15. Awww, it’s fun to hear them talk about retro Disneyland and the Wonderful World of Color like it’s right now.

Okay, I know Walt didn’t have a huge amount of screen time there, but I still thought that was SUPER fun. I just love retro stuff! Aesthetically, the ’40s and ’50s were magnificent. And I might have to dig up that interview with Walt’s daughter for a future installment…

Don’t forget, you can follow FRoA on Twitter @fairestrunofall and on Instagram @fairestrunofall. If you have any questions or thoughts, leave a comment or email fairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!

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