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Regular Panelist (1950-1967)
Regular Panelist (1951-1967)
Regular Panelist (1950-1965)
Regular Panelist (1950-1953)
Bennett Cerf: (guessing mystery guest Francis the Talking Mule, while making Hal the butt of the joke) Would this be an animal that -- begging Hal Block's pardon -- is sort of a jackass or mule?
Bennett Cerf: And on my left, the greatest thing to ride out of Boston since Paul Revere, Miss Arlene Francis.
John Daly: (to Bennett, when he figures out that the loud noise upon the entrance of the mystery guest was from Francis) I was hoping you would think it was me!
Hal Block: (taking a wild guess at the line of the garbage truck driver) I think she probably works in a food store, she's quite a peach.
Hal Block: (taking a wild guess at the line of the country doctor) Looks like she probably cuts the holes out of LifeSavers and probably makes a mint.
FLIP REPORT: The final contestant stated that she wanted to donate her prize to a polio fund. John stated the full prize of $50 would be donated, but flipped the cards, which were at two down, back to $0. - agent_0042 (2008)
(1) "WML?" ANNOUNCER WATCH: For the third straight week among the surviving kinescopes since they started being saved on a weekly basis beginning two episodes ago, Hal Simms is yet again the announcer.
(2) "WML?" PANEL INTRO WATCH: For Hal Block's introductions of John, he usually introduced the soon-to-be-called "panel moderator" as "my favorite news commentator" or "my favorite news analyst." It wasn't until a few years later, long after Bennett assumed the "anchor" position of the panel desk, that the "panel moderator" phrase came to be applied to Mr. Daly. This was also a little over a year before John became the anchor of "other network" ABC's evening newscast, a position he would hold from 1953 to 1960, concurrent with his long-running "WML?" gig.
(3) THE LOOKS OF THINGS: The attire of the male panelists and Mr. Daly is the same as the previous week. Once again, the typesetting on the occupation overlay screens are hand-painted. And for this unusual mystery guest appearance of Francis the Talking Mule, there was no nameplate, but the words "Francis the Talking Army Mule" were displayed on his saddle as seen on his left side. He was most likely the only truly "non-human" mystery guest (as opposed to an animal puppet) in "WML?'s" history.
(3) "SIGN IN" WATCH: In these early episodes, including tonight, John's introductions to regular contestants varied, sometimes within the same show, from "Will you sign in, please, sir (or madam)?" to "Will you come in and sign in, please?" On a few occasions, particularly with mystery challengers, he sometimes used the phrase "come out" instead of "come in" during said intro. Around 1955, Mr. Daly would settle on the "Will you come in..." wording, up to the fall of 1960 when it was largely replaced with the far more polished "Will you enter and sign in, please?"
(4) "WML?" CREDITS CRUNCH WATCH: The March 8, 2008 GSN airing of tonight's show continued the detestable, disdainful and very dubious "tradition" of "crunching" the screen during the end credit sequence, which is the same as the last two episodes.
(5) Following GSN's March 8, 2008 airing of tonight's show, the cable and satellite channel ran an edition of "I've Got a Secret" which first originated "live from New York" on October 14, 1963. Host Garry Moore gave a "musical" introduction (by playing the chimes) for his panel of Bill Cullen, Betsy Palmer, Henry Morgan and Bess Myerson. The second-most prolific male guest panelist in "WML?'s" history, Tony Randall, was the celebrity guest on this "IGAS" episode. - W-B (2008)
For Francis The Talking Mule's appearance, the curtain behind John opened, and the mule and his trainer walked on stage. Francis didn't have far to walk, but still made quite a large clumping sound, as one would expect from an animal that weighs about a thousand pounds! Later, Bennett mentions that he heard the noise, which was a clue to him that something out of the ordinary was going on. For his "What's My Line?" debut, Francis wore a horse blanket with his name embroidered on the side. Showing good horse-sense, he promoted his 1952 Universal film, "Francis Goes to West Point," in which he co-starred with Donald O'Connor. In total, Francis made seven movies from 1950 to 1956. In reality, more than one mule played the role of Francis. In six of the movies, Francis' co-star was Donald O'Connor. In the final movie, Francis' co-star was Mickey Rooney. Actor Chill Wills was the original voice of Francis, and Paul Frees performed the mule's voice in the final movie. The films were based on a popular book about a military man who meets a mule who can talk. Francis was extremely popular in his day, and earned several awards. After his game, the trainer walked Francis over to the panel for a quick visit. Arlene talked to Francis and told him that he was up for an Oscar. She looked so lovingly at him! (In her autobiography, Arlene speaks of her love of horses!) Francis was trained by Will Rogers and his apprentice Lester Hilton, who was also Mister Ed's trainer. It is unknown whether the man who appeared tonight with Francis was Les Hilton, or another assistant. He was unfortunately not introduced. While we're horsing around, Mister Ed was actually a palomino horse named Bamboo Harvester. He played all his own roles, but did have a "stunt double" horse and stable mate named Pumpkin. - Suzanne (2004)
REVIEW: This was a great night for the panel, especially for Arlene, who managed to guess that the first contestant was a lady garbage collector. She did this, despite the fact that the panel concentrated on her "product" rather than her service. Arlene also, with Bennett's help, managed to guess that the second contestant was a snuff salesman. The fun really picked up when Francis the Talking Mule walked out on the stage. Bennett prevented Arlene from making a clean sweep when he was able to guess that Francis was the mystery guest. Francis was on to "promote" his latest film, "Francis Goes to West Point." Produced by Universal Studios, this was the third film in the popular series about a talking mule, voiced by character actor Chill Wills, and his best friend, former Army lieutenant "Peter Stirling," played by Donald O'Connor. The two appeared in five films from 1950 to 1955. Their final film together was "Francis in the Navy," which also featured future WML guest panelist Jim Backus, David Janssen, who would go on to star in the popular 1963-1967 series "The Fugitive," and a young "pre-Dirty Harry" Clint Eastwood. The final film in the series was "Francis in the Haunted House" featuring Mickey Rooney. Also of note about this film was the fact that Francis was not voiced by Chill Wills, but by noted voiceover artist Paul Frees. Riding high on Francis' success, five years after the "Francis" series ceased production, a 1961-1966 television series featuring a talking horse premiered on CBS. That show was "Mister Ed," starring Alan Young. - Sargebri (2004)
Tidbits: The WML introductions and goodbyes are still very short at this point in time. - Suzanne (2004)
Panel: Dorothy Kilgallen, Bennett Cerf, Arlene Francis, Hal Block.
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