What's My Line?

Season 4 Episode 16


Aired Daily 12:00 AM Dec 21, 1952 on CBS



  • Trivia

    • THE WONDERS OF LIVE TELEVISION: During John's calling for the final contestant, a shadow of the boom microphone is noticeably visible behind him, and is seen being moved around. - W-B (2008)

  • Quotes

    • Bennett: And on my left, we're unveiling for the first time tonight, fully equipped with all kinds of fascinating new gadgets - the 1953 model of Arlene Francis.
      Arlene: Oh dear, wait 'til they find it's just the same as the old model!

  • Notes

    • AGE BEFORE BEAUTY: The lovely Jeanette MacDonald winced slightly and softly cooed "yes" when Dorothy asked if she was under 50. The likely reason is because, having been born on June 18, 1903, Jeanette's 50th birthday was a mere six months away from this appearance! - BuzzDawg (2008)

      FLIP REPORT: John flipped all the cards for the final contestant at six down because time ran out. - agent_0042 (2008)

    • (1) Both male panelists this evening are wearing regular suits with straight ties; only Mr. Daly is dressed in what could pass for formal wear. Robert Q. Lewis' nameplate, like Bennett's, is set in Gothic No. 13, apparently a holdover from one or more of his now-lost previous three guest panelist appearances; and this same font was also used for mystery guest Jeanette MacDonald's nameplate. The "TV Guide Gold Medal Award for Best Quiz Show" plaque which John holds at the program opening was actually given by a regional magazine which, at the point of tonight's show, was published in at least two areas, New York and Washington-Baltimore. This was one of several local and regional TV listing magazines that, by early 1953, were acquired by Walter Annenberg's Philadelphia-based Triangle Publications and combined into the single national edition of TV Guide (with pertinent local editions for various regions of the country) which was launched one month after the Hal Block era ended on "WML?" Also, a noticeable hair was stuck in the gate of the projector through which the kinescope was transmitted, and it is seen in the bottom center left portion of the screen throughout this episode.
      (2) MYSTERY GUEST: This was the only "WML?" appearance of legendary soprano Jeanette MacDonald. However, her most famous singing partner, Nelson Eddy, was a mystery guest twice, on EPISODE #158 of June 7, 1953 and EPISODE #499 or January 31, 1960. After their string of "operetta" films in the 1930's and 1940's, Miss MacDonald and Mr. Eddy would pair again in 1958 to re-record their old standards for a new album, issued by RCA Victor in mono and stereo under a different title for each: "Favorites in Hi-Fi" (LPM-1738)/"Favorites in Stereo" (LSP-1738). One of their movies, "New Moon" (1940), had been listed among "The Fifty Worst Films of All Time" in Harry Medved and Randy Dreyfuss' 1978 book of the same name.
      (3) "WML?" CREDITS CRUNCH WATCH: The end credits cut off for tonight's show after the card for coordinator of production Bob Bach and program manager Frances Trocaine. All this was seen most recently on March 28, 2008 through GSN's torturous, trying, tedious and tiresome "crunching" of the screen.
      (4) GARRY MOORE "IGAS" COUNTDOWN WATCH - 13 SHOWS TO GO: Following the March 28, 2008 airing of tonight's show, GSN ran an edition of "I've Got a Secret," with host Garry Moore and panelists Bill Cullen, Betsy Palmer, Henry Morgan and Bess Myerson, which was first broadcast "live from New York" on March 23, 1964. E.G. Marshall, then co-starring in the courtroom drama "The Defenders," was the celebrity guest. - W-B (2008)

    • ROBERT Q. LEWIS: This is the oldest surviving WML episode with Robert Q. Lewis, as his first two appearances are on episodes which are lost to history. According to an article about Robert Q. Lewis published in the August 10, 1947 New York Times, Lewis added the middle initial Q. to his name at the age of 22. Lewis said, "The Q doesn't signify anything definite. It's an attention getter. Something to make people notice me." In addition, in a 1951 interview, Lewis said the Q stood for "anything you want!" - Suzanne (2004)

      THE WEB: John Daly said that prior to tonight's telecast of What's My Line?, a television series called "The Web" had been broadcast, and that the final contestant, Robert Mott, had produced the sound effects for this show. "The Web" was a rare Goodson-Todman Productions television series that was not a quiz or panel show. It was a dramatic anthology which was broadcast on CBS television from July 1950 through September 1954 and then on NBC television for four months in 1957. The live dramas, 30-minutes in length, were based on stories written by members of the Mystery Writers of America. Several accomplished actors and actresses performed for this series. - Suzanne (2004)

    • REVIEW: This was a pretty fun night as far as the show was concerned and it featured a pretty good performance by the panel as well. Arlene got things rolling when she was able to guess that the first contestant was a race horse trainer. Bennett probably would have had it sooner, but made the mistake of guessing that she was a dog trainer. Guest panelist Robert Q. Lewis, who at the time of this WML appearance was also hosting another Goodson-Todman panel show over on ABC called "The Name's The Same," also got a correct guess after a Bennett boo-boo. Bennett thought that the second contestant made gold jewelry, but the guest actually made gold bars. Luckily, Robert made the save. Dorothy, who once again looked like an early 1950s version of a "flower child," except with plastic flowers in her hair, successfully guessed that the mystery guest was Jeanette MacDonald. Ironically, a few nights earlier, GSN showed her appearance on the aforementioned "The Name's the Same." She was on that show to promote her upcoming Carnegie Hall appearance in January 1953, which was a few weeks after her WML appearance. Unfortunately, they went back to form on the final contestant, sound effects man Robert Mott, when they couldn't figure out his occupation due to a shortage of time. The contestant then won the game by default. - Sargebri (2004)

    • Jeanette MacDonald promoted her upcoming January 16, 1953 recital at Carnegie Hall in New York City. - Suzanne (2004)

      Tidbits: After the introductions, John held up an award plaque. He proudly announced that What's My Line? had been awarded the TV Guide [Magazine] Gold Medal Award for Best Quiz Show. - Suzanne (2004)

      Panel: Dorothy Kilgallen, Bennett Cerf, Arlene Francis, Robert Q. Lewis. Hal Block had the night off.

  • Allusions