I've Got a Secret was a simple show, but between the show's own production staff and the CBS employees and studio staff who handled most of the production elements, dozens of people were required to put it all together. Over the course of its fifteen year run, hundreds of people had a hand in its success. Still, only a very few of them would be credited at the end of the program each week.
We have compiled a pretty comprehensive list of the show's staff, both those credited at the end of the program and also a great many who were not. We know it's not nearly complete. Still, here is an alphabetical list of staff, their positions, and the years they worked on the show, as best as we've been able to determine. Episode numbers indicate shows in which they were seen or referenced on camera. Staffers frequently appeared on camera during anniversary shows.
Frank Abrahams (Program Staff 59-60)
Paul Alter (Director 56-67)
In a career spanning 50 years, Alter directed thousands upon thousands of episodes of various Goodson-Todman game shows. He is possibly best-remembered today as the director of The Price is Right from 1986 until 2001, but he was involved with practically every G-T show at one point or another in his long tenure. He would occasionally receive producer or executive producer credits on some of the shows he worked on. He also had a musical background and is credited as one of the composers of the theme song for the 1969-1977 syndicated version of To Tell the Truth (which, yes, he directed as well). His career at Goodson-Todman started in 1950 with Beat the Clock. He joined I’ve Got a Secret in 1956 and helmed many episodes from then until the end of the run.
Bob Anderson (Teleprompter Operator): 339, 442, 489
Hal Anderson (Lighting Director 63-67)
John Arnold (Studio Usher 65): 620
While still working as an usher, Arnold starred in the low-budget film Hot Rod Hullabaloo (1966). It would be his only significant credited role.
Ronald Baldwin (Set Designer 64-67)
Deanne Barkley (Program Staff 60-62): 442, 512
Bob Barry (Lighting Director 61-62)
George Bartholomew (Associate Director 58-59)
Sal Bonsignore (Lighting Director 58-62)
Jack Brown (Technical Director 57)
John Cannon (Announcer 52-67): 115, 192
Cannon has the distinction of being one of the very few individuals who was with the show for its entire run. He was the announcer for practically every episode, missing only a small handful that were produced outside New York. In addition to his announcing work for CBS (which included the prestigious Studio One) he was also for many years the narrator of the Fox Movietone News. From 1977 until his death in 2001, he served as the president of the East Coast-based National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.
Jay Chichon (Technical Director 65-66)
Joseph Chomyn (Associate Director 59-61)
Peter Colangelo (Program Staff 65-66)
Vernon Cook (Lighting Director 56-62)
Judy Crichton (Program Staff 57-60, 62-66, Feature Coordinator 66-67): 489, 550
Crichton served on the production staff for so long that for the last season, they came up with a new title for her and fellow vet Irma Reichert. After Secret, Crichton continued to find interesting people with interesting stories in her role as a documentary producer. She and fellow Secret staffer Chester Feldman produced the celebrated 1970 documentary about the making of the Company cast album. She worked as a producer on CBS Reports and ABC Close-Up, and from 1987 until 1996 was the executive producer of the PBS series American Experience. She won a slew of Emmy and Peabody Awards along the way, among a host of other honors.
AJ Cunningham (Technical Director 61)
Don Darcy (Stage Manager 62-67): 489
Herb Donley (Audio 65)
Marvin Duckler (Lighting Director 60-61)
William Egan (Production Manager 61-67)
Jay Fairman (Audio 62-64): 489
Gil Fates (Executive Producer 52-67)
Gil Fates was credited as Executive Producer for both I’ve Got a Secret and What’s My Line?, but as a practical matter, he focused his energies on WML? while serving in more of a supervisory capacity on Secret. He stayed with What’s My Line? for its entire 25 year run on CBS and in syndication, and literally wrote the book on the subject (Prentice-Hall 1978). That book devotes part of one chapter to Secret, from which we’ve culled some delightful behind-the scenes observations. Before making his mark with the G-T panel shows, Fates is credited with developing and hosting the CBS Television Quiz (1941-1943), one of several programs that lays claim to being the “first” television game show.
Chester Feldman (Program Staff 56-57, Associate Producer 57-58, Producer 58-67): 326, 383, 489
Another career Goodson-Todman man, Feldman would be producer or executive producer for many top G-T game shows of the 1970s and 1980s, including Family Feud, Card Sharks, Child’s Play and Classic Concentration. One notable credit outside the world of game shows was Original Cast Album: Company, the celebrated 1970 documentary he produced with fellow Secret veteran Judy Crichton.
John G Fuller (Program Staff 57)
Vernon Gamble (Technical Director 55-67): 339, 489
Mike Gargiulo (Director 61, 66)
A couple of 1961 Secret episodes are among the earliest directing credits for the prolific Gargiulo, who was a fixture on various Goodson-Todman game shows throughout the 1960s. Among game show fans, he is probably best known for producer Bob Stewart’s original version of The $10,000 Pyramid (1973-1980), for which he won four of his seven Daytime Emmy Awards. He was also for many years the go-to guy at CBS for directing live coverage of parades and other large special events.
Elliot Gordon (Audio 64-65)
Budd Gourmen (Set Decorator 66-67)
Charles Grenier (Technical Director 61)
AJ Gulino (Audio 65-66)
Franklin Heller (Director 54-63): 339, 489
Heller was the show's primary director in 1961 and 1962, and filled in on other occasions. Still, the hundred or so episodes he directed of Secret is nothing compared to the more than six hundred episodes he directed of What's My Line? over the course of its 17-year prime-time run.
Gil Herman (Production Supervisor 62)
Doris Hibbard (Program Staff 63-65)
Oscar Hobman (Production Supervisor 64-65)
Diane Hoffacker (Program Staff 60-62): 442, 489
Dick Holbrook (Lighting Director 61, 63)
Ralph Holmes (Lighting Director 61-65): 489
Blanche Hunter (Wardrobe 52-57): 176, 192
Blanche Hunter is a forgotten television pioneer. In the earliest days of the medium (we’re talking the 1940s here) she was responsible for makeup for every person who appeared in front of a television camera for every CBS show in New York. From Lucille Ball and Ed Sullivan to the lowliest chorus girl, everybody got “the Hunter treatment.” Originally hired as a wardrobe mistress, a job she continued to perform simultaneous with her makeup duties, she experimented with techniques and products to find what worked the best in the new medium of television. Some of her approaches are undoubtedly still being used today. As one of the few Black women working in television in those early days, her success is even more remarkable. She appears to never have been credited for her makeup work, but contemporary magazine and newspaper articles confirm her contributions. For more about Hunter’s pioneering career, see this blog entry on Hillary Belzer’s remarkable website The Makeup Museum .
Julian Judell (Audio 67)
Irwin Kostal (Music Director 1963 California Shows)
Adraia Koe (Program Staff 56-58): 148, 192
Sam Laine (Audio 64)
Mitchell R Leiser (Production Manager 56-61): 71, 117, 342
Leiser's three on-camera appearances were to serve as interpreter for the French-Canadian contestant Heliodore Cyr, who appeared on the show after the births of his 25th, 26th and 27th child.
Peter Levin (Associate Director 66)
Robert Rowe Paddock (Set Designer 52-55)
A 1953 TV column said “The television show What’s My Line? gives a special credit to Robert Rowe Paddock as scenic designer. The ‘scenery’ is six chairs, a table and a desk.” Nevertheless, Paddock is one of the very few people credited in the earliest episodes of Secret. It’s likely he designed the “courtroom” set that was trashed after the show’s debut. He also gets credit for the original To Tell the Truth set. (Eight chairs!) He would later serve as president of the United Scenic Artists union.
Joe Papp (Stage Manager 54-58): 115, 192, 240, 245, 253
Legendary theatrical producer Joe Papp is remembered for his Shakespeare in the Park series and for The Public Theater, both of which are still going strong today, and both of which he developed in the 1950s while working as a stage manager for various CBS television shows. In addition to I’ve Got a Secret, Papp worked on the acclaimed anthology series Studio One, and was also the stage manager for the live 1957 musical production of Cinderella starring Julie Andrews. During the “Red Scare” of the 1950s, CBS briefly fired Papp for not “naming names” when he testified before the House Un-American Activities Committee in 1958. With the help of his union, Papp was reinstated at CBS a few months later, but his relationship with the network had soured. He quit soon after to devote his full attention to his theater projects.
Norman Paris (Music Director 56-67): Many onscreen appearances
Norman Paris claimed that his quartet played the first live music on television in 1948. As with a lot of TV “firsts”, that’s a difficult thing to prove. He was not involved with Secret in its early years. Who would have thought a panel show would need a musical director? Still, his expertise, and especially his willingness to embrace the wacky and unusual made him a perfect fit for the show. Whether he was demonstrating the latest exotic electronic instrument or accompanying a man who played music with his head, Paris was there, serenely smiling, unfazed by whatever nonsense surrounded him. He and actress Dorothy Loudon (the woman who replaced Carol Burnett on The Garry Moore Show) were a couple starting in 1955, eventually marrying in 1971. Paris died in 1977, just weeks after Loudon won a Tony for her role as Miss Hannigan in Annie.
Tom Parkins (Audio 1964)
Roger Peterson (Program Staff 56-58, Associate Producer 58-67): 240, 339, 442
Roger Peterson expertly climbed the corporate ladder in his career at Goodson-Todman. Originally hired in 1955 to be Allan Sherman’s secretary (Sherman says he was imagining someone “blonde, silky and curvaceous”), among his original duties was to be Bill Cullen’s stand-in at rehearsals. He was quickly promoted to the program staff, and when Chester Feldman became producer after Allen Sherman’s 1958 firing, Peterson became the associate producer. After Secret ended, he served a similar role for the syndicated version of To Tell the Truth (1969-1978). In the late seventies, he moved to the west coast and became production manager for virtually all of the Goodson-Todman shows based there.
John Pickette (Set Decorator 67)
Ralph Pugliese (Program Staff 66-67)
Mary Dean Pulver (Assistant Director 52-55): 161
Irma Reichert (Program Staff 60-66, Feature Coordinator 66-67): 442, 489, 582
In addition to her long tenure on Secret, Reichert wrote the 1978 ABC Afterschool Specials episode "Mom and Dad Can't Hear Me" starring a teenaged Rosanna Arquette.
Charles Reinhard (Lighting Director 58-61)
Sidney Reznick (Program Staff 62-63)
I’ve Got a Secret was an odd midpoint in the career of Sidney Reznick, whose career as a comedy writer started in early 1940s radio. He wrote for Jimmy Durante, Al Jolson and Ed Wynn, among many others. In 1957, he created a radio game show called Sez Who? hosted by Henry Morgan. After his time on Secret, he wrote for The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson . There, he was an attendant at the 1969 on air marriage of Tiny Tim and Miss Vicky. He later penned episodes of Love American Style, The Love Boat and The Odd Couple.
Harry Rogue (Stage Manager 66-67)
Frank Satenstein (Director 52-56): 161
Satenstein was a long-time CBS director whose other credits include The Jackie Gleason Show and Gleason’s classic original 39 episodes of The Honeymooners, both of which he worked on concurrently with Secret. In Allan Sherman’s memoirs, he tells of Mark Goodson wanting to get rid of Satenstein in favor of a Goodson-Todman staff director, purely for financial reasons. In Sherman’s anecdote Goodson is unsuccessful, but by late 1956 Satenstein had been replaced in favor of Goodson’s Paul Alter.
Clarence Schimmel (Director 62-65)
Larry Schneider (Audio 64-66)
Steven Seligman (Film Editor, 1961 9th Anniversary Show)
David Seltzer (Program Staff 63-66)
Seltzer would become a screenwriter. His best known credit is The Omen (1976), but he also provided substantial though uncredited rewrites to Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971).
Alan J Shalleck (Associate Director 60-61)
Allan Sherman (Program Supervision 52-53, Associate Producer 53-55, Producer 55-58)
See our BIOGRAPHIES section for information about Allan Sherman.
Paul Shiers (Production Supervisor 63)
Ira Skutch (Director 59): 332
Ira Skutch directed only one episode of Secret (filling in for the vacationing Franklin Heller and appearing on camera as a contestant!) but he worked for Goodson-Todman as a producer or director from 1957 until 1983. His most lasting role would be as the producer (and judge) of the fondly remembered 70s version of Match Game. He also directed the Bill Cullen game show Child’s Play and is credited with creating the G-T show Tattletales. Skutch would write several books about the early years of live television.
Dan F Smith (Associate Director 64-67)
George Spilich (Audio 67)
Andre St Laurent (Associate Director 63-64)
Robert R Stone (Technical Director 1963 Hollywood and Lake Tahoe Shows)
Billy A Taylor (Audio 59-66)
Dwight Temple (Technical Director 62)
Gene Ulrich (Lighting Director 67)
Walter Urban (Lighting Director 65)
Sally Warinner (Program Staff 66-67)
Hal Warner (Technical Director 63)
Orville White (Sound Effects 52-64): 115, 183, 246, 485, 555
White was a sound effects man for CBS in the days of classic radio dramas, where that skill was even more valued. His duty on Secret was only to sound the buzzer indicating a panelist's turn was over, but he also appeared on the show a few times whenever a secret involved radio-style sound effects. Remarkably, though he appeared several times on Secret, the show is his only notable television credit.
Justin Ziles (Special Effects 66-67)