What's My Line?

Season 4 Episode 39


Aired Daily 12:00 AM May 31, 1953 on CBS
out of 10
User Rating
4 votes

By TV.com Users

Episode Summary

Game 1: Miss Betty Cope (b. 12/20/1928) - "Television Director" (salaried; she works for WEWS, a Scripps Howard station; 3 years ago, Steve Allen appeared on a Heart Fund program she directed, but he did not remember her; from Cleveland, OH; see more notes below)

Game 2: Gil Woodworth - "Alligator Wrestler" (self-employed; the details of his job were not given; from Daytona Beach, FL)

Game 3: Leo Durocher (7/27/1905 - 10/7/1991) (as Mystery Guest)

Game 4: Alvin Hauser - "Teaches Knitting" (self-employed; the details of his job were not given; from Bayside, Long Island, NY)

Who was the Episode MVP ?

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    John Daly

    John Daly

    Moderator (1950-1967)

    Bennett Cerf

    Bennett Cerf

    Regular Panelist (1951-1967)

    Steve Allen

    Steve Allen

    Regular Panelist (1953-1954)

    Leo Durocher

    Leo Durocher

    Mystery Guest

    Guest Star

    Laraine Day

    Laraine Day

    Guest Panelist

    Guest Star

    Barbara Kelly

    Barbara Kelly

    Guest Panelist

    Guest Star

    Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


    • TRIVIA (0)

    • QUOTES (8)

      • Laraine: (taking a free guess at the line of the final contestant) Well, I think he's a prognosticator.
        John: Mr. Allen?
        Steve: Watch your language.

      • Steve: (taking a free guess at the line of the second contestant) I think Mr. Woodworth is a lumberman. I think... see, I think he decides how much wood is worth.

      • Bennett: (at the end of Miss Cope's game) John, I must say, Miss Cope is prettier than our Frank Heller.
        John: (saying farewell to the contestant) Thank you very much. (applause as contestant exits) Yeah, but our Frank Heller wears a hat inside.

      • Bennett: (closing line for the night, referencing the Stopette slogan) And poof! There goes Papa Daly!

      • Barbara: I think he's a saggermaker's bottom knocker.
        John: (standing up) I beg your pardon, Miss Kelly!
        Barbara: I could say it, I asked.
        John: (tongue-tied and getting it all wrong) A subtle, saddle maker's...
        Barbara: A saggermaker's bottom knocker.
        John: Well, that's grand! What's that?
        Barbara: I'll tell you after the show.

        (For the curious, a saggermaker works with pottery and a bottom-knocker is his apprentice.)

      • Barbara: (to Mr. Woodworth) Do you think I could see your shoes?
        Bennett: Shoes?! (Mr. Woodworth raises a foot so she and Bennett can take a look.)
        John: Ok, Mr. Woodworth, would you please come over here? Bring your shoes with you.

      • Steve: Is there any paperwork involved in what you do? Clerical work of any kind? Do you use hand towels or anything?

      • Bennett: (to Miss Cope) Well, Dorothy's not here tonight, so may I see your hands?

    • NOTES (5)

      • TODAY'S BASEBALL GAME: On May 31, 1953, the New York Giants (of which tonight's mystery guest, Leo Durocher, is the manager) had their afternoon game postponed due to rain in Philadelphia and could not play the hometown Philadelphia Phillies. Beginning on Monday, the Giants will be back home at the Polo Grounds to face the Cincinnati Reds in a series of games. - cerfnet (2009)

        MORE ABOUT BETTY COPE: As mentioned by John Daly, Betty Cope was a director at Cleveland's then-CBS affiliate, WEWS, and she had directed Steve Allen several years earlier when he appeared on the station on behalf of the heart fund. Betty Cope was one of the first employees of WEWS when it became Cleveland's first television station in 1947. I believe she initially was hired as a secretary, but was quickly and rapidly promoted through the ranks and became one of the station's in-house directors. Among the shows she directed were "The Paige Palmer Show" (an exercise show) and "The One O'Clock Club," featuring Cleveland's legendary interviewer Dorothy Fuldheim (a show that was finally cancelled in the early 1960s due to increased local competition from Mike Douglas). Cope stayed with the station in 1955 when WEWS switched from CBS to ABC and continued her directing duties for ten more years beyond that. She finally left the station in 1965 to become general manager of Cleveland's first UHF station, WVIZ Channel 25, which was also one of the nation's first NET stations (and in 1970, one of the nation's first PBS stations). For many years after that, she became an all-too-familiar face on-screen during pledge weeks! She finally retired in the early 1990s. - Gus Splittorf (2006)

        FLIP REPORT: John flipped all the cards at four down because time ran out. The panel went down the garden path by focusing on a product instead of a service. Of course, if it were a later episode, they would have been told in advance that Mr. Hauser primarily dealt in services. - agent_0042 (2006)

      • BASEBALL HALL OF FAME TRIBUTE: GSN aired this episode on July 21, 2006 as part of a month-long airing of "WML?" episodes with at least one game featuring a figure from the world of baseball, in honor of the 70th anniversary of the Baseball Hall of Fame. - W-B (2006)

        VIDA BLUE: Interestingly, the day before, on July 20, 2006, as part of the same Baseball Hall of Fame tribute, GSN aired an episode from Week #198 of the syndicated version of "WML?" that was taped on May 31, 1973 - exactly twenty years to the day after tonight's show first aired. Appearing on this later episode as mystery guest was Vida Blue, who at the time was pitching ace for the Oakland A's (Athletics). The host of the 1973 edition was Larry Blyden, and the panel consisted of Soupy Sales, Dana Valery, Gene Shalit and Arlene Francis. - W-B (2006)

        (1) GSN "REGULAR ROTATION" TALLY AS OF 2008: GSN aired tonight's show in its regular rotation on April 18, 2008. Previously, it had run in "regular rotation" on November 27, 2004, and before that, on October 20, 2002.
        (2) BAD PUN ALERT: This is one of the first cases of Bennett's providing lame puns in his introductions of the "news analyst and panel moderator." After announcing that John has been named "Television Father of the Year," Mr. Cerf mischievously mentions that John keeps "getting 'father' and 'father' every day." This was a play on the word "farther." Bennett would use this particular pun on more than one occasion in later years.
        (3) If guest panelist Barbara Kelly's accent doesn't sound all that British, despite her being a regular panelist on the U.K. "WML?" throughout its original 1951-1963 run, it may have something to do with her having been born in Canada. She was married to Bernard Braden, a fellow Canadian-born, British TV personality, from 1942 until his death in 1993. Prior to the British "WML?'s" debut, they hosted a programme (in the British spelling) called "An Evening with Bernard Braden and Barbara Kelly." They also appeared together, along with their daughter Kim Braden (who went on to become an actress herself), in a short-lived 1968 British sitcom called "B-and-B." The sitcom's title was a double-reference: chiefly, to the first initials of the two stars (Bernard and Barbara); and secondarily, to the term "bed and breakfast," which is a type of lodging establishment in England and other countries. In addition, Miss Kelly was the host of "Criss Cross Quiz," a British game show, from 1964 to its cancellation in 1967; she replaced the first host, Jeremy Hawk, who had been with the show from its 1957 debut.
        (4) MYSTERY GUEST: Besides managing the Brooklyn Dodgers and, as of tonight's show, the New York Giants, Leo "The Lip" Durocher's managerial career also included stints with the Chicago Cubs from 1966 to 1972 and the Houston Astros from 1972 to 1973. At the time Durocher was named manager of the Cubs, he replaced the infamous "College of Coaches" which had been in place from 1961 to 1965. Though the team finished in last place in 1966 -- even finishing lower than prior perennial cellar-dwellers the New York Mets -- after the Cubs acquired pitcher Ferguson Jenkins later that year, the team finished no lower than third during the rest of Durocher's run at the helm. The Cubs very nearly captured the first Eastern Division title of the National League in 1969, and were 8½ games ahead in the standings as of mid-August, but a massive slump thereafter plunged them to second place (8 games back) and allowed the Mets, once the laughing stock of the league (and 9½ games behind as of that same mid-August 1969 period), to finish atop the standings for the first time in its history, and eventually defeat the Baltimore Orioles four games to one to win the World Series. That same year, 1969, Leo married Lynne Walker Goldblatt; that marriage, like his previous two (including his union with Miss Day), subsequently ended in divorce. For Mr. Durocher's mystery guest appearance tonight, there was no nameplate.
        (5) "WML?" CREDITS CRUNCH WATCH: Once again qualifying itself for entry into the "Am I Annoying?" website -- with the answer to that question in the affirmative -- GSN pushed full speed ahead with its continuing practice of "crunching" the end credits on the most recent airing of this episode on April 18, 2008.
        (6) Following GSN's April 18, 2008 airing of tonight's show, the cable and satellite channel ran an edition of "I've Got a Secret," hosted by Steve Allen, which emanated "live from New York" on November 16, 1964. The panel, in the same order as laid out since Mr. Allen assumed the hosting duties, was comprised of Betsy Palmer, Bill Cullen, Bess Myerson and Henry Morgan. Steverino led off the show by introducing the celebrity guests, crooner Robert Goulet and singing group The Shangri-Las, to induce the kind of screams from teenage fans that were a regular occurrence on shows like Ed Sullivan's during this period when groups like The Beatles were on; during their segment, Mr. Goulet and The Shangri-Las collaborated on a "dramatic" reading of the group's chart-topping hit "Leader of the Pack." - W-B (2008)

      • During the course of tonight's show, guest panelist Barbara Kelly, who was a regular panelist on the British version of "WML?," made reference to a "saggar maker's bottom knocker." This was as frequent a reference on the U.K. "WML?" as the question "Is it bigger than a breadbox?" was on the U.S. version. The background behind the profession and its ties to the U.K. "WML?" can be found on the URL below. - W-B (2006)


        Miss Kelly is one of several people who have appeared on both the U.S. and U.K. versions of "WML?" On the nights that Miss Kelly appeared on the U.S. version, Arlene Francis took her place on the U.K. version. Later, on EPISODE #309, we learn that Bennett will soon be making an appearance on the U.K. version. Another person who appeared on both shows was the U.K. version's "chairman," Eamonn Andrews, who was a frequent U.S. guest panelist from 1956 to 1963. On EPISODE #470 of June 28, 1959, Eamonn was the last person to substitute for John Charles Daly as panel moderator. Also, an early regular U.K. panelist, the beautiful Ghislaine Alexander, made an appearance on the American version. In addition, over the years, several regular contestants made appearances on both versions. - Suzanne (2004)


        IT DIDN'T HAPPEN HERE - From the "VIDEO VIGNETTES" column of TV DIGEST (Philadelphia) 24 November 1951:

        "The producers of the "What's My Line?" show are considering exchanging panels with Britain's version of the same show, for one telecast. The British cast would be brought here for one appearance while the American panel tried their luck overseas." (The vintage article is unsigned.)

        Needless to say, this never came off, though it might have been a lot of fun. - stopette (2004)

      • On November 27, 2004, GSN aired a July 1953 episode of "The Name's the Same" which featured a young man, age 9, whose name was Steve Allen. It was eventually narrowed down to his namesake appearing as a regular panelist on a panel show, but WML was not yet mentioned by name at this time. Host Robert Q. Lewis announced that the elder Steve Allen would start a brand new show on local NBC affiliate WNBT on next Monday, July 27, 1953 from 11:20 PM to midnight. The new show was called "Tonight!" and it was first shown in New York only. Later, it became one of the longest running shows - "The Tonight Show." (IMDb lists a June 1953 premiere, so they are possibly incorrect.) After his name was guessed, Robert Q. Lewis asked if young Steve Allen had ever met his namesake. The boy replied, "Yes, he's my father." "Television's Brightest Comic, Steve Allen" then came on stage to join his son and Robert to play the "I'd Like to Be" portion of this show, pretending that he'd like to be Gene Autry. His son sat on his lap. After the commercial, panelist Meredith Willson thinks something is missing and lends his glasses temporarily to Steve, Jr. Interestingly, Robert mangles Steve's WML catchphrase by stating "He's bigger than a breadbasket" instead of "bigger than a breadbox." At the end of the game, Robert Q. mentions both the new show and What's My Line? - Garrison Skunk (2004)

        Leo "The Lip" Durocher was famous for having coined the phrase "Nice Guys Finish Last." Tonight, though, he was a winner, because the fiery manager was all smiles during his appearance on the show. It was just two seasons ago that his New York Giants staged a remarkable comeback during the 1951 baseball season and tied the Brooklyn Dodgers to force a "best of three" playoff series for the National League Pennant, which they wound up winning 2 games to 1. However, several years later, the Giants were accused of winning by less than ethical means. In later years, old Leo was accused of having spies in the outfield. During games, those spies would use binoculars to see what pitches the opposing catchers were calling for. With this information, Leo's batters would then have an unfair advantage. This chicanery helped the Giants to win the pennant that year. - Sargebri (2004)

        The 1952 playoff series between the Brooklyn Dodgers and the New York Giants produced one of the most dramatic moments in the 100+ year history of baseball. It is part of the "Golden Years of Baseball" in New York, the so-called "Boys of Summer," when New York often had the 3 best teams in the Major Leagues. This is also one of the most referred-to series and final games ever, and to this day, dramatic and exciting and emotional roller-coaster stories continue to be told about it. Giants' Hall of Fame announcer Russ Hodges' very famous call is played and heard over and over again: "The Giants win the pennant ... the Giants win the pennant ... the Giants win the pennant ... the Giants win the pennant." They won it, famously, thanks to ..."the shot heard 'round the world" when Bobby Thompson hit a 3-run homer in the bottom of the ninth inning, in game 3 of a best of 3, against the historically scarred and forever sad character, Ralph Branca, to win the special 3-game playoff against the Dodgers, and advance to the World Series. Durocher was seen famously and exuberantly escorting Bobby Thompson from Third Base to Home Plate, ending the season for the hated Dodgers whom Durocher had managed just a few years before and in whose organization he grew up as a player and a coach and manager. However, the Giants advanced to face the red-hot New York Yankees, who were in the middle of 5 consecutive World Series Championships, led by the idiosyncratic, charismatic and Hall of Fame Manager, Casey Stengel. - Tom Ruja (2006)

        CONGRATULATIONS JOHN CHARLES DALY!!! During his introduction of John, Bennett mentioned that John was named "Television Father of the Year." Knowing Bennett, this was probably a joke! As for the game, the panel had a so-so night this particular episode. The panel was totally stumped by the first contestant, a female television director. Ironically, she and Steve worked together on a heart fund telethon three years earlier. However, Bennett did figure out that the second contestant was an alligator wrestler. It was then Steve's turn to make a successful guess as he correctly identified that the mystery guest was New York Giants manager Leo Durocher (aka Leo the Lip). Unfortunately, the panel ran out of time and the knitting instructor won the full prize by default. Perhaps if they asked if he performed a service instead of concentrating on the product, they might have had a chance. - Sargebri (2004)

        BREADBOX WATCH!!! The breadbox question was not asked this particular evening. However, as was mentioned earlier, a rerun of "The Name's the Same" featuring Steverino as a guest celebrity was shown prior to this episode on GSN, and the question was mentioned then. - Sargebri (2004)

      • Leo Durocher is the first "repeat" mystery guest on WML. He had been a mystery guest previously on EPISODE #35 which was aired on January 28, 1951. This fact is also mentioned in Gil Fates' 1978 WML book. Unfortunately, Durocher's first appearance is on an episode which is lost to history. - cpdelta (2004)

        Leo Durocher and Laraine Day are husband and wife. They were married from 1947 until their divorce in 1960. - Suzanne (2004)

        Tidbits: Arlene Francis and Dorothy Kilgallen had gone to Queen Elizabeth II's coronation on June 2, 1953, in London, England. In addition, while Barbara Kelly is filling in for Arlene, Arlene will be sitting on the U.K. WML panel while she is in England. - Suzanne (2004)

        Barbara Kelly was a regular panelist on the U.K. What's My Line? shown in England. She was an effervescent Canadian comedienne and actress. - Suzanne (2004)

        Laraine Day (10/13/1920 - 11/10/2007)

        Barbara Kelly (10/5/1924 - 1/15/2007)

        Panel: Laraine Day, Steve Allen, Barbara Kelly, Bennett Cerf. Dorothy Kilgallen and Arlene Francis had the night off.

    • ALLUSIONS (0)