Frank Zappa’s 1971 Appearance on What’s My Line Surfaces

Frank Zappa stuck his foot into the mainstream in 1971 when he appeared as a mystery guest on syndicated game show What’s My Line. The episode aired on September 23rd and featured celebrity panelists Soupy Sales, Arlene Francis, Gene Rayburn and June Lockhart. Zappa emerges to a huge applause from the studio audience before Sales guesses who he is with surprising ease.

Zappa, a longtime Southern California resident, had a few run ins with the more commercial end of showbiz starting with a 1963 appearance on the Steve Allen Show. He even had a cameo in an episode of The Monkees and also appeared in their Head movie. However FZ’s spot on What’s My Line was the rare instance where he traded upon his fame to help promote a project. In this case the guitarist/composer was shilling for his 200 Motels film. Crystal-clear footage of Zappa’s appearance on What’s My Line has emerged on YouTube thanks to tomtiddler1

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