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Regular Panelist (1950-1967)
Regular Panelist (1951-1967)
Regular Panelist (1950-1965)
Regular Panelist (1950-1953)
Arlene: And on my left, a gentleman just back from North Carolina, where he did a new show called What's My Mason-Dixon Line?, it's Colonel Hal 'Dimples' Block.
Hal: (said off-camera, after July Broder's chalk breaks while he is signing in) Boy! What's your name again?
Hal: after the final contestant, Orren South, signs in and is revealed to be from Ohio) He's from the North?
John: Yes, he's from the North, but named South. (to Mr. South) Well, would you go a little due East over there and take a look at the panel, and let the panel take a look at you.
IN REMEMBRANCE: On Sunday, November 30, 1952, Sister Elizabeth Kenny died. She had been the mystery guest on the now lost EPISODE #109 of June 29, 1952. She was the first former mystery guest to pass away. - cerfnet (2009)
(1) MYSTERY GUEST: This was the first of two appearances by famed crooner Vic Damone. His second would be as part of a mystery guest duo with his then-wife, actress Pier Angeli, on EPISODE #315 of June 17, 1956. On tonight's show, there is an accompanying nameplate, set in Title Gothic Condensed No. 11, for Mr. Damone's mystery guest spot. Given the fact that he was serving as corporal in the Army at the point of this episode, his appearance comes only six weeks after that of another bobbysoxer idol, Eddie Fisher, who served in another Army rank, PFC (Private First Class), at the time.
(2) "WML?" CREDITS CRUNCH WATCH: Once again, GSN proceeded to ruin the viewing experience on March 25, 2008 with their insolent, insulting, incredulous and incomprehensible "crunching" of the end credit sequence.
(3) GARRY MOORE "IGAS" COUNTDOWN WATCH - 16 SHOWS TO GO: The March 25, 2008 airing of tonight's show by GSN was followed by an edition of "I've Got a Secret," hosted by Garry Moore, which first emanated "live from New York" on March 2, 1964. As always during these years, the panel consisted of Bill Cullen, Betsy Palmer, Henry Morgan and Bess Myerson. Woody Allen was the celebrity guest. - W-B (2008)
Title: "PECK'S BAD BOY OF TV"
This article appeared in TV DIAL 6 December 1952 and is transcribed as follows:
When famed strip-teaser Gypsy Rose Lee appeared on "What's My Line?" blindfolded panelist Hal Block flexed his dimples and innocently asked "Are you famous for being well-dressed?" The audience went into hysterics. But many viewers' eyebrows were raised. Was the show becoming rigged?
"What's My Line?" is unquestionably the most popular quiz show on television. By milking the audience laughs at the expense of the seemingly in-the-dark panel it has kept its rating high. But its polished formula was running into a snag. And the major cause of the trouble was ample-dimpled Hal Block.
As former gagman for such bosom-conscious comics as Ken Murray and Olsen & Johnson, Hal knows well the value of a double-edged joke. Looking as if butter wouldn't melt in his mouth, Hal launches questions at the show's guests that are dripping with suggestions.
While this practice has endeared Hal to the fans, it has also alarmed the sponsors. Moderator John Daly was called upon to blunt Hal's double-edged sword. Each time Hal bordered on the blue-line, John would pull his ear signifying the Hal should pass to the next panelist. This process backfired when the other panelists decided to get into the act. Daly began to look like a man with a defective ear.
As chief offender Hal Block became a liability. The sponsors tried to ease him out. When viewers found Hal's chair occupied by a new panelist, a storm of mail flooded CBS threatening to boycott the show if Hal wasn't returned. But citizen groups threatened to boycott the show if off-color suggestions weren't dropped. After a few week's penance, Hal came back on the show with the caution: "Keep it clean."
The curly-haired center of this storm is an amiable well-groomed bachelor of 37 who majored in law at the University of Chicago, but also found time to dabble in dramatics and Captain the track team.
Upon graduation in 1935, Hal talked to the then-popular comic Phil Baker into hiring him as a gag writer. For three years, Hal sweated out the famous Baker, Beetle and Bottle routines. When Baker's popularity waned, Hal departed for greener pastures. He has since written gags for most of the top comedians in the business.
While writing the Saturday night Ken Murray show, Hal was tapped for the job as panelist on "What's My Line?" Then his former employers found that they had a competitor.
Typical of the block-busters that have kept the sponsors in a frenzy is Hal's query of a lobster salesman. "Would I take it to bed with me on a cold night?" What products he would take to bed he didn't say but this double meaning question was unusually singular.
Giving weight to the charge that the show is rigged are some of the other panelists questionable questions. When a Pullman berth manufacturer appeared on the show, ex-panelist Garry Moore asked "Could an unmarried man and an unmarried woman be entertained in it?" While John Daly tugged frantically at his ear, sets all over the country were snapped off.
Despite all the furor over Hal Block, he is easily one of the best reasons why the show is popular. His nimble wit, his pixie charm, and his twinkling smile add up to one of television's most winning personalities.
When Hal was served the sponsor's ultimatum, it cut down on his effectiveness. All his questions are now minutely examined for off-color implications. And as television's "Peck's Bad Boy," he's often misunderstood.
Well, Hal's going to be in Cincinnati this weekend and playing the role of anything but Peck's Bad Boy. The occasion for the long trek is the WKRC Telethon Celebrity Parade, which gets under way Saturday night at 10:00. Hal will head a list of stars that have volunteered their services in behalf of the fight against Cerebral Palsy. So prepare for an all-night stand in front of your TV set when the big drive gets underway featuring Hal Block in an entirely different role.
"What's My Line?" is seen on channels (10) (12) (13) Sunday at 10:30 p.m.
The article also is strangely cartooned with various articles of lingerie, as well as a cartoon of Daly stretching his ear lobe about three feet. Block's visage graces the cover of this magazine, but next to his photo, the caption,"HAL BLOCK - Axe for Dimples?" indicates at that moment, (end of November 1952 to the beginning of December 1952) It was very much a talked about, perhaps known in advance, item that Hal was not going to be around long. Frustratingly, there is no follow-up to that question inside, just the article above. "TV DIAL" was a midwestern forerunner to TV GUIDE. The one cited is a central Ohio edition. - stopette (2004)
Dorothy's Wide Horizons: On this episode, Hal Block states that Dorothy will be leaving the next day for a visit to Wilmington, Delaware. It was part of her Good Housekeeping magazine series on small cities visited by few tourists of the time. In addition to Wilmington, Dorothy also profiled Bangor, Maine; Altoona, Pennsylvania; Augusta, Georgia; Butte, Montana; San Antonio, Texas and Phoenix, Arizona. In his 1978 WML book, Gil Fates called the series "a gem," but he mistakenly said it mainly focused on the "nightlife" in each city. It was more than that. If you find old Good Housekeeping magazines from 1952-1953 at your library, you will learn about the prevailing career opportunities in each location and how the workers let off steam to relax. Dorothy's horizons were much wider than those of most "cosmopolitan" New Yorkers of that era. In fairness to them, we must remember that they lacked interstate highways and that an expense account allowed her to reach the remote parts of America, especially Butte. She became pregnant (about June 1953) with her third child, Kerry Kollmar, shortly after finishing her travels for Good Housekeeping. - Jan Simonson (2004)
REVIEW: This was a very exceptional night for the panel, especially for Bennett and Arlene. Bennett was able to guess that the first contestant pickled herring, especially after Dorothy, who was a little ahead of her time by wearing flowers in her hair, blew the door wide open for him. Dorothy had discovered that the guest had something to do with herring, but she hadn't narrowed it down properly. Next, it was Arlene's turn to score for the panel. With assists from Bennett and Dorothy, she was able to correctly guess that the second contestant was a knife thrower. Arlene also, with help from Hal and the others, was able to guess that the mystery guest was Vic Damone. A few weeks earlier, Dorothy made a major error when she was so sure that Eddie Fisher was Vic Damone, that she blurted out Damone's name and got a big fat "no." Of course, Vic humorously pointed out that he was a corporal and that Eddie was a private first class. Vic took it all in stride though and thanked Dorothy for thinking of him. In appreciation, he gave her a nice kiss on the cheek. However, the thing that really made this night special was the fact that the panel ended their streak of not being able to guess the final contestant in time! After the door was once again blown open by Dolly Mae, Bennett correctly guessed that the final contestant made dog houses. This truly was a special night. - Sargebri (2004)
Hal says, "Dorothy has a weenie" during the "Herring Pickler" conference. It could also be somewhat of a pun, since they were discussing the possibility that this was a fish or meat product. - Garrison Skunk (2004)
In two days, on December 2, 1952, Hal Block will be a guest panelist on another Goodson-Todman game show, "The Name's the Same," hosted by Robert Q. Lewis. Unwittingly, Hal makes a very ironic statement at the end of that show. See EPISODE #117 for details. - Garrison Skunk (2004)
The same male contestant preview picture is used that was shown as the preview photo for both EPISODES #124 and #130. Either this guy keeps canceling or they just use phoney pictures at the end, never dreaming that people would remember them from week to week. One thing is certain, they never imagined people would be looking at them nearly 52 years in the future! (As it turned out, this mysterious person was not on EPISODE #132 either!) - Garrison Skunk (2004)
Tidbits: Dorothy has possibly appeared in refrigerator advertisements, per Bennett's comment of, "Dorothy's one of the two girls in the county that could sell more iceboxes than Betty Furness. The other one is, of course, the lady on my left, Miss Arlene Francis." Actress Betty Furness was a spokesperson for Westinghouse. Most likely, Bennett's entire comment was a joke. - Suzanne (2004)
Panel: Dorothy Kilgallen, Bennett Cerf, Arlene Francis, Hal Block.
Click "All Episode Notes" to see all the notes, as they don't all show up on the summary overview page.
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