I’ve Got a Secret: you couldn’t make this stuff up

I've Got a Secret

The glamorous panelists on CBS’s I’ve Got a Secret, a hugely popular nationally (and internationally) televised show that ran from 1952 to 1967. (Can you tell who the sponsor was, by any chance?) The idea was to stump those panelists as they tried to guess your secret. And Mrs. Wilma Knapp of Sulphide, Ont., succeeded in doing just that!

A fresh edition of the Tweed News, hot off the presses, will be arriving in our mailbox at the Manse tomorrow, so I feel I must post this delightful tidbit from last week’s edition before it slips away and out of memory. It is a highly entertaining (verging on mind-boggling) bit from the weekly Days Gone By column, in which select news items from 50 years ago and 25 years ago are shared. I have to tell you that I thoroughly enjoyed this tidbit from the 50-years-ago section. (I have inserted links that will explain some of the references if you are puzzled by them. Sulphide, for you folks not from this area, is a tiny hamlet northeast of Tweed that was once a bustling mining community but now is even quieter than Queensborough.) Here goes:

50 Years Ago: January 29, 1964
Wilma’s secret baffles panelBonanza and Maverick may have lots of fans, but in Tweed and district, Monday night at 8, the solid ratings had to go to Channel 7 and Mrs. Wilma Knapp. Mrs. Knapp appeared on Garry Moore‘s “I’ve Got a Secret” program – and Monday afternoon TV dealer Cartha Cassidy had to stop taking service calls – he couldn’t handle any more. “Everyone wants to get their sets working before tonight,” he said. Mrs. Knapp, Garry Moore and the panel were all at their best for the first part of the program, and a sparkling bit of entertainment it was. The panel wasn’t able to guess her secret – that the dress she was wearing on the show was one she had made from 204 nylon stockings – but they were intrigued by the idea when they found out. Mrs. Knapp was able to put in a few good words for Sulphide, Allied Chemical and her fellow members of the Tweed Kinette Club, who helped gather up the stockings to make the dress. And from all comments since the program, everyone agreed with Garry’s summing up, that it was a pleasure to have had Mrs. Knapp on the program.

Now if that doesn’t beat all, I don’t know what does. I don’t know which part I like best: that a matron from tiny Sulphide, Ont., appeared on a wildly popular CBS-TV program (and stumped the celebrity panelists); or that the entire town of Tweed was calling the local TV dealer to get their sets in tip-top shape to watch her. And then there’s the business of the dress made of nylons. To that I can only say what I started this post with: you couldn’t make this stuff up.

8 thoughts on “I’ve Got a Secret: you couldn’t make this stuff up

  1. What a fascinating story! First of all, who has a dress that is made from stockings? But I guess that’s enough to attract the attention of the big-wig TV producers, and to bring in a lady from Sulphide. And the business about Cassidy’s is funny, too. It must have been a very interesting episode. I wish I could find it on the internet, but I can’t seem to track it. I’ve gone through the episodes listing of the show, but the dates are slightly off. So, perhaps the show was shown at different dates on some affiliate stations? And was the show aired live or was it pre-taped and, if so, when was it taped? Nothing that I’ve searched is coming up, although the closest that I got was when a Dr. Knapp had appeared on “What’s My Line” (another of those popular shows of the day), but she ran a nudist camp, and somehow or another I don’t think that applies to Sulphide ….

    • Sash, in my research last night I did actually find the program listing for when Wilma Knapp appeared on What’s My Line (the complete listings for almost all the episodes are here), and it shows that the program must have been presented live. Here’s the lineup for the program of Jan. 27, 1964 (where they erroneously list Mrs. Knapp as Mr. Napp):
      I’ve Got a Secret January 27, 1964
      Cullen, Palmer, Morgan, Myerson, Moore [KS: panelists and host]
      Mr. Napp (made dress out of 204 nylon stockings)
      Mr. Tux (Played golf in NY, IL & CA in one day)
      Alan King (UNIVAC computer chooses b-day gift for Garry)
      Garry given gift of Durward Kirby in Little Lord Fauntleroy type outfit & a flaming cake [KS: !!!]

      • Great! Thanks for sharing the link. I was looking at both IMDB and another site that had details about episodes. Also, I was searching for KNAPP, Sulphide, stockings and I can’t remember what all, but none of that seemed to matter. I wonder if anybody has this on tape and if it will ever make its way to YouTube. I don’t know if the series has been released to DVD. Furthermore, I hadn’t heard of this until you posted about it. Awfully funny that I don’t recall my grandmother talking about it; then again, maybe she did and I just didn’t know of it. But it’s fascinating, isn’t it — an odd scenario and from a woman who lived in a small place close to home.

      • Sash, I found quite a few episodes on I’ve Got a Secret on YouTube, but failed to find the one with Wilma Knapp. (Mind you, I didn’t have time to watch them all!)

  2. Or, in other words …

    There once was a lady from Sulphide
    whose nylon dress hid her bona fides.
    Her secret was safe
    till she went to the place
    where 200 stockings swished worldwide.

  3. Oh I remember I’ve Got a Secret! And Front Page Challenge. Both so sophisticated, for the adults. Both so black and white and a bit fuzzy!

    • And do you remember To Tell the Truth, Lindi? I think that was Garry Moore’s next project, and I have fond memories of watching that one (we must not have got the channel at the Manse) when we visited my grandparents. Ah, simpler times…

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