Arlene Francis vs. Kitty Carlysle

Thanks to the Game Show Network, even the young’uns can participate in this debate. I say it is Arlene Francis hands down. For those who have lived their lives in a cave, Arlene Francis was on What’s My Line. Kitty Carlysle was on To Tell the Truth.

Arlene Francis was classy and witty; Kitty Carlysle was snooty and anal.

Arlene seemed genuine (she was not ashamed of her silvery blond hair); Kitty seemed fake (jet black hair at her age? oh, please…).

Arlene’s smile was disarming and spontaneous; Kitty’s smile was regal and forced.

In general, Arlene Francis was a very class act; Kitty Carlysle did the most annoying things all the time, like writing her stupid guesses with Roman numerals.

It is hard to imagine that anyone would ever actually take the side of Kitty against Arlene, but just in case, I open it for debate. (Will this wind up like David’s creationism threads? Waiting and waiting and waiting for a Kitty Carlysle troll and its sock puppets to show up?)

Lib, you know Dorothy Kilgallen could wipe the floor with the both of 'em! I’d go, though,l with Arlene for personality, but Kitty for smarts.

When are they showing those old '50s shows? They used to run them Sundays around dinnertime, but now they’re gone, and I have no TV listing for that station!

It’s not REALLY a game show unless it has Kitty Carlisle, Arlene Francis or Dorothy Kilgallen. I will NOT accept Peggy Cass or Betsy Palmer as substitutes!

Oh, yes, P.S. I am glad to note that as of this writing, both Arlene Francis and Kitty Carlisle are still alive, both of 'em in their 90s!

So they can wrestle it out in person . . .

Brett Somers.

I love the old Match Game shows. They always seemed on the edge of chaos. Richard Dawson was always half in the bag and hitting on the good-looking female contestants.

“We are here for this – to make mistakes and to correct ourselves, to withstand the blows and to hand them out.” Primo Levi

What Lib said.

Having said that, you can watch Kitty in one of her few screen appearances in “Hollywood Canteen.”

It shows on AMC fairly regularly.

(Although the best scenes are Greenstreet/Lorre and Ida Lupino.)


Oh, Lord, pul-lease? Brett Somers? She was nothing more than the token bitch. and the Match Game? How can anybody watch that twice?

Eve, I can’t believe you put Dot in the same league with Arlene. Why? Also, was your Kitty for “smarts” a typo? Did you mean Kitty for “smartass”?

Anyway, Truth comes on at 3:00. Line comes on at 3:30.

Oh, and Eve:

Amen to that! May we include Betty White?

By the way, we (Edlyn and I) saw a great nonPC retroanachronism on *Password (circa 1968-69) * a few weeks ago. Ludden was welcoming the two new players. He asked the man, “What do you do for a living?” After they chatted a bit about his work, Ludden turned to the woman and said, without so much as an eye-blink, “And what does your husband do?”

Edlyn was chompin’ at the bit. “Her husband!? Why didn’t he ask what the hell she does?”

My, my. How times can change so drastically so quickly.

Damn Alan Ludden, he used to do that all the time. I saw one a couple weeks ago where he told a woman getting a degree in child psychology “oh, that’ll be useful when you have children.” Aaargh!

As for Match Game, I always liked Bret, but Charles nelson Reilly was the token bitch on that show.

I gotta give the edge in this match-up to Arlene Francis, although IMHO neither of them can carry Joan Alexander’s jock.

Lib said:

Well, I especially thought it was funny when Kitty said the strangest place she’d ever made whoopee was… Oh. Wait. Wrong Game Show Network thread… :wink:

Well, consider me one of the youngsters but as a avid watcher of What’s My Line and To Tell the Truth on the Game Show Network, I feel I can comment. Arlene Francis is definitely better. Kitty Carlysle is too snobby and irritating with her phony-regal attitude. She was always so condescending to the guests (players? what ever they were–the non-celebrity people.) I used to watch the Match Game but I stopped precisely because of Brett Somers. I can handle Charles Nelson Reilly before her! I love these shows! I terrorize my husband by watching them all the time!

I always try to do things in chronological order.


I stopped because the whole thing is gratuitously prurient and unredeemably infantile. “Mrs. Smith gagged when her husband shoved his [blank] in her mouth.”


I know I’m going to regret this, but…

Yesterday, we saw a promo with a Newlywed Game episode that had a similar twist to the famous “Up the Butt” one. Eubanks asked the wives, “What does your husband absolutely forbid you to put on his wiener?”

The first woman answered, “mustard”. The second answered, “Ben Gay”.

So much for the network censors hypothesis.



Did you see the one where Ludden said to the woman, “It’s hard to believe a beautiful girl like you is still single.”?

Funny thing is, he meant all that stuff as compliments. And back then they were!


Lib said:

Probably. :slight_smile:

Well, I wouldn’t want Ben Gay on my hotdog, either! Yuck!

Not at all. There’s quite a bit of difference between some simple double entendres (which the show loved) and a blatant “up the butt.”


Arlene, Arlene, Arlene. Kitty just seemed to have a broomstick up her nether regions.

Gotta admit to lovin’ Match Game, Bret, Gene and Charles (where else can you see a guy who regularly wears an ascot?). Sure it was schlocky, juvenile and hokey. That’s the beauty of it. It’s as seventies as a plaid green polyester suit with six inch lapels! Oddly enough, I have a nine year old who has fallen in love with these old game shows, and loves Bret and (shudder) Richard Dawson.

All this being said, I submit to you all that we’ve forgotten one of the all time great TV game show divas. Wait for it…












I mean, really. I’m going to have to send Gene, Gene the Dancing Machine around to straighten you people out. Or Paul Lynde.

Been here so long he’s got to calling it Home.

Now, Lib, don’t be mean to Dorothy Kilgallen just because she had no chin! I read a bio of her and she was actually quite impressive: one of the first successful female investigative reporters, and nicer than she seems on her TV appearances.

Oh, and add Bess Myerson to the “I’m sorry, you’re no Arlene Francis” list.

Is that 3:00, in which time zone? I’ll have to tape 'em. I loved those shows when I was a kid: mostly “What’s My Line?,” “I’ve Got a Secret” and “To Tell the Truth.” They were like sophisticated, elegant cocktail parties: everyone dressed up, parrying witty, urbane quips, with folks like the above-mentioned ladies, Bennett Cerf, Henry Morgan, Bill Cullen. It made me want to quick grow up so I could be part of a crowd like that (little did I know it would be on-line!).


Okay, you’ve convinced me. I’ll put Dorothy up there (way above Kitty), but I just can’t put her above Arlene. I just think she’s the epitome of class. It’s even worth enduring Soupy Sales to see her.

The time zone I used was Eastern. Happy taping!


Jaye P. Morgan? Bzzzt. Thank you for playing anyway.

On Richard Dawson, he was perfect for Family Feud, but seemed bored on the Match Game.


You’re debating ingratiatingly. :wink:

I don’t think Ben Gay on a wiener is a double entendre. I think it is a single entendre.

[…arms folded… …tapping foot…]

Still waiting for a Kitty supporter so this can get a little rougher.

Jeez, Lib, I gotta find Arlene Francis’ address so you can send her a mash note while she’s still breathing!

A mash note? Qu’est-ce que c’est?

Arlene is still with us? Far freakin’ out, mayun.

Interestingly enough, I had a co-worker who could have been Arlene’s double, especially during the game show era covered herein. Unfortunately, while my work buddy bore a striking physical resemblance to the redoubtable Ms. Francis, she was as dumb as a box of rox. Oh well.

Been here so long he’s got to calling it Home.

Yep—Miss Francis was born in 1908 and Miss Carlisle (Mrs. Hart, to be more precise) in 1905 and both are alive and well, bless their little cotton socks.

Lib, a “mash note” is what a gentleman writes to a lady on whom he has a crush. The lady then blushes prettily ands tells him not to be so forward. I actually did try to find a current address for Arlene Francis, but came up blank, I’m sorry to say.

Arlene Francis wore a heart-shaped diamond pendant on a chain which became the gift of choice among the mothers on Division Avenue in Williamsburgh. The local jeweler made out like a bandit…I remember a similar run on see-through nylon blouses with a black velvet bow at the neck ( under which one wore a camisole) that dorothy collins popularized on “Your Hit Parade.”