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Prison architect plays a 1950s game show

Watch a prison architect’s 1957 appearance on the TV game show What’s My Line?

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Prison architect plays a 1950s game show

Check out this 1957 segment from the television quiz program What’s My Line?

It features the show’s panelists—with their witty, postwar Manhattan-after-8 p.m. patterttrying to guess the profession of guest Clarence B. Litchfield. Litchfield designed houses. As in “The Big House.” He was a prison architect.

Litchfield designed federal penitentiaries in Terre Haute, Indiana and Lewisburg, Penn; the midrise Brooklyn House of Detention; and state and county hoosegows across the country. He designed prisons with places for recreation and education and believed—according to one interview—that the correctional system should rehabilitate inmates rather than simply punishing them.

When he died in 1981 at the age of 78, a New York Times obituary said Litchfield “was widely regarded as the country’s leading prison architect.”

The What’s My Line? panel never guessed Litchfield’s occupation. But the questions are entertaining nonetheless. The video was posted on YouTube by a user who has other interesting uploads there too.

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