What's My Line?

Season 5 Episode 5


Aired Daily 12:00 AM Oct 04, 1953 on CBS
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Episode Summary

Game 1: Ed Hurley (he signed in as "John Doe" to avoid name recognition)(9/20/1908 - 11/12/1969) - "World Series Umpire" (salaried; he is the umpire behind second base; no game was played because Dorothy guessed his occupation during the free guess segment; from Holyoke, MA)

Game 2: Mrs. Blanche Hays - "Smokes Fish" (self-employed; from Fort Pierce, FL)

Game 3: Gene Autry (9/29/1907 - 10/2/1998) (as Mystery Guest) He wore a white cowboy hat.

Game 4: Miss Mitzie LaForm (b. 8/30/1922) - "Flying Trapeze Artist" (salaried; she is a member of The Flying LaForms and works with her parents Joe and Lilly; although not stated, she is with the Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Circus; from San Gabriel, CA; see notes below)

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John Daly

John Daly

Moderator (1950-1967)

Arlene Francis

Arlene Francis

Regular Panelist (1950-1967)

Bennett Cerf

Bennett Cerf

Regular Panelist (1951-1967)

Dorothy Kilgallen

Dorothy Kilgallen

Regular Panelist (1950-1965)

Steve Allen

Steve Allen

Regular Panelist (1953-1954)

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (0)

  • QUOTES (2)

  • NOTES (5)

    • (1) THE BEGINNING OF THE "ROTATING SPONSOR" ERA ON "WML?": Beginning with tonight's episode, "WML?" has entered the "rotating sponsor" phase of its long run. This means that one company sponsors the program on one week while the other company sponsors the show the next week, and so forth. From now until 1956, the "rotating sponsors" will be Remington Rand (making its debut tonight) and Stopette. Over the next several years, "WML?" will have different rotating sponsors until, after 1964 prior to the end of Kellogg's run as co-sponsor, the series will have what is referred to as "participating advertisers."
      (2) "WML?" NAMEPLATE FONT WATCH: With Remington co-sponsoring the show for the first time tonight, Dorothy and Arlene once again have newer nameplates set in the Title Gothic Condensed No. 11 font, thus keeping them in the same typeface as the male panelists, Mr. Daly, and this evening's mystery guest, Gene Autry. The ladies last had these newer nameplates on the panel desk on EPISODE #156 of May 24, 1953 -- a stretch of four and a half months.
      (3) "THE SINGING COWBOY" - PART I: Making his only "WML?" appearance tonight, Gene Autry, in later years, was known for more than just his ownership of the Los Angeles (later California) Angels baseball team. From 1957 to 1958, he co-owned the Challenge record label, which was famous for three major hits: "Tequila" by The Champs" (1958), "Primrose Lane" by Jerry Wallace (1959), and "Lies" by The Knickerbockers (1965). In addition, Mr. Autry had his hand in broadcasting; his company, Golden West Broadcasters, ran independent Los Angeles television station KTLA (Channel 5) from 1964 to 1985 (not coincidentally, in those years, the station carried Angels baseball games, and would continue to do so until 1995). Additionally, for several years, Golden West Broadcasters also controlled KMPC radio (710 AM) which was famous for such personalities as Gary Owens (of "Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In" fame) and future game show hosts Jim Lange ("The Dating Game"), Geoff Edwards ("The New Treasure Hunt"), and Wink Martindale.
      (3) "THE SINGING COWBOY" - PART II: Gene Autry also had a long recording career, in addition to his career in films and television. His most famous numbers include "Back in the Saddle Again" and two Christmas standards, "Here Comes Santa Claus (Down Santa Claus Lane)" and "Rudolph, The Red-Nosed Reindeer." One of his key sidekicks, Pat Buttram, would go on to greater fame as unscrupulous huckster "Mr. Eustace Haney" on the 1965-1971 CBS sitcom "Green Acres" -- but alas, Mr. Buttram never made any appearances of any kind on "WML?"
      (4) "WML?" END CREDITS AND CREDITS CRUNCH WATCH: Probably due to the plug for Stopette at the end of the show, the end credits cut off after listing executive producer Gil Fates. But while "WML?'s" sponsor status changed with tonight's show, GSN's deservedly controversial and highly scandalous practice of "crunching" the end credits unfortunately did not, as of the May 6, 2008 airing of this episode.
      (5) "IGAS" OLD HOME WEEK: Right after the May 6, 2008 airing of tonight's show, GSN ran the April 5, 1965 edition of "I've Got a Secret," with host Steve Allen and the panel consisting this time out of his lovely wife Jayne Meadows (sitting in for Betsy Palmer), Bill Cullen, Bess Myerson and Henry Morgan. The celebrity guest was Durward Kirby. Both Miss Meadows and Mr. Kirby, of course, were synonymous with previous "IGAS" host Garry Moore, albeit in different venues -- in Durward's case, on the various incarnations and time slots of "The Garry Moore Show." In addition, this "IGAS" episode, plus the March 8, 1965 edition, were sort of a foreshadowing of Jayne's status as a recurring panelist on the short-lived 1972-1973 weekly syndicated version which Mr. Allen also hosted. - W-B (2008)

    • BASEBALL - A NOTE OF COINCIDENCE: It was an interesting coincidence that World Series Baseball Umpire Ed Hurley appeared as the first guest this evening and that Gene Autry appeared as the mystery guest. It is interesting not so much in 1953 terms as it is in Summer 2006 terms during the "GSN Baseball Preemption Schedule," because the justification for the "flashback" to this particular show, EPISODE #175 of October 4, 1953, was said to be solely for the appearance of World Series Umpire Ed Hurley. But, 7 years after tonight's October 1953 WML? episode, that is, by the summer or fall of 1960, Gene Autry had acquired the rights and became the owner of the then-expansion team "Los Angeles Angels." The Angels would open their inaugural season in April of 1961 and they would win their first and only World Series in 2002, against the San Francisco Giants. Unfortunately, the 2002 World Series Championship was not the accomplishment of Gene Autry. By then, the "Singing Cowboy" had passed away, unrewarded, as it were. During the '70's, '80's and 90's, one of, if not, the primary dream of Gene Autry, was to reach and win the World Series with his Angels team. He spent a lot of money on free agents for that reason, but sadly always fell short, sometimes just a tad short. It was so frustrating, that several theories were advanced that the Angels team was "cursed," as they still say about the Cubs, and as they used to say about the Red Sox. The Angels players, however, year-in and year-out, loved their owner, Gene Autry. In fact, of all of the owners of major league baseball teams, Autry may have been the most-beloved by players. This is because of Autry's unquestionable devotion to and love of the game, and his love of the players, and because of his efforts to build a competitive team. He died on October 2, 1998, never realizing his World Series dream. - Tom Ruja (2006)

      BASEBALL HALL OF FAME TRIBUTE: GSN aired this episode on August 11, 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 connection with the 70th anniversary of the Baseball Hall of Fame. Previously, this episode had aired in regular rotation on GSN on December 15, 2004. - W-B (2006)

      FLIP REPORT: John flipped all the cards for the first contestant after Dorothy's correct free guess. John also flipped all of the cards for the final contestant at six down because time ran out. - agent_0042

    • My cousin, Mitzie LaForm, was a contestant on this episode. We have never met, although our fathers are brothers. I recently discovered this episode of What's My Line? that GSN aired on December 15, 2004, after I was contacted by Suzanne Astorino. My father has a very limited amount of photos of his family. This is very strange, considering the size of the family. My grandfather (and Mitzie's) had, I believe, 9 children. As I am finding out, each went out on their own way and rarely kept contact with another. Some family members were very reclusive. Yet others, like Mitzie, were very colorful. Their lives stretched across the lands of Canada, the U.S. and Mexico. Mitzie was part of the "Flying LaForms" along with her parents, Joe and Lillie, and her brother "Buddy." They traveled the world with the Barnum & Bailey Circus. I believe her parents were well into their 60s or early 70s when they retired from the circus. They did live in southern California, but also lived in Florida, which is where Mitzie's father passed away in 1990 at the age of 97. Mitzie's mother passed away in Virginia in 1995 at the age of 80. We have a common cousin living in Texas who believes that Mitzie is still alive and living in Florida. - Carol Battle (Carol LaForm Battle) - December 2004

    • GENE AUTRY: As Gene Autry briefly mentioned before he left the stage, before he became a singing cowboy and even before he became a rodeo star, he was a baseball player. However, his involvement in baseball didn't end there. In 1960, he became owner of the expansion Los Angeles (later, California, and even later, Anaheim) Angels. Part of the reason he bought the team was the fact that he wanted a baseball team to replace the Dodgers, who were at one time being broadcast on his television and radio stations (KTLA channel 5 and KMPC radio 710). Ironically, for the first few years of their existence, the Angels played in Dodger Stadium. They later would move to Anaheim and would change their name to the California Angels, playing in Anaheim (later Angel) Stadium. The team would experience several lean years until they finally made the playoffs in 1979, but they were defeated in the American League Championship Series by the Baltimore Orioles, 3 games to 1. They returned to the playoffs in 1982, but were defeated by the Milwaukee Brewers, 3 games to 2. Their best shot to make the World Series under Autry's ownership was in 1986 when they were up 3 games 1 and were one strike away from winning the American League pennant. However, disaster struck in the ninth inning when manager Gene Mauch pulled pitcher Mike Witt in favor of reliever Donnie Moore. Moore got the first two batters out and was one pitch away from striking Dave Henderson out and clinching the series when Henderson hit a home run to put the Red Sox ahead. However, the Angels rallied to tie it up, but wound up losing in extra innings. Unfortunately, this loss seemed to take all the momentum away from the Angels and they wound up losing the series 4 games to 3. It was also unfortunate that Autry passed away before he could finally see his team not only make it to the series, but also win it, which they did in 2002 when they defeated the San Francisco Giants 4 games to 3. Also, after the Angels accepted their trophy, they dedicated the game to their late owner, who probably was smiling down on them that night. - Sargebri (2004)

      REVIEW: After Dorothy won the wild guess, the panel had to work hard to try to top her, and even though they didn't win any more free guesses that night, they did do a great job. Bennett proved this when he correctly guessed that the second contestant smoked fish. Next, Arlene correctly guessed that the mystery guest was Gene Autry. Ironically, a few years later after Steve's run as host of the "Tonight!" show, he would go to work for "The Cowboy" at his television station in Los Angeles, KTLA channel 5. Unfortunately, the panel ran out of time and the female trapeze artist won the full prize by default. - Sargebri (2004)

      TODAY'S BASEBALL GAME - 10/4/1953: Ed Hurley was a respected American League umpire from 1947 to 1965. He did indeed work second base at the World Series game today on October 4, 1953. The game was won by the Yankees, 11-7 in a wild game at Ebbets Field in Brooklyn, New York. Four different Yankees and two Dodgers hit home runs, including Mickey Mantle's grand slam. This win gave the Yankees a 3-2 lead in the Series. Mr. Hurley worked first base the next day, when the Yankees clinched the series with a thrilling 4-3 win at Yankee Stadium, with Billy Martin driving in the winning run in the bottom of the ninth inning. - lds1999 (2004)

    • THE LOOK OF THINGS: This is the first episode sponsored by Remington Rand. The featured item is their men's shaver. Remington and Stopette are now co-sponsors of WML, and will alternate weeks of sponsorship. What's My Line? was becoming so popular, and so huge, that the advertising fees were rapidly increasing. Jules Montenier, Inc. was unable to handle the financial burden of being the sole sponsor, so What's My Line? added a second sponsor with Remington Rand. The studio set boasts several new advertisements: 1. Remington Rand appears on the front of the panel's desk. 2. Remington Rand appears on the banner over the sign-in board. 3. Remington Rand shavers appear on the flip cards. During the end credits, there is an advertisement for Stopette, Finesse and Poof!, which will sponsor the following episode. - Suzanne (2004)

      WOW! Dorothy Kilgallen wins a free wild guess on the first game with her guess of "Umpire." The ump didn't seem disappointed at all! He and John chatted about what happened on the baseball field today. John was very curious about a commotion that had taken place at the back of the field. Umpire Hurley said he had just read an account of it in the Daily News, but they had gotten the facts wrong. He explained that it was discovered that a man in an apartment house on Bedford Avenue had been using a mirror to shine the reflection of the sun in the batter's eyes! Hurley said that it seemed like every time the Yankees were up, that's when it happened. The ballgame had been stopped while a policeman went over to the apartments and investigated this strange occurrence. John then flipped all the cards over, giving Hurley the full $50 prize. - Suzanne (2004)

      For a list of the episode numbers and dates that the 1950 to 1955 "Wild Guesses" or "Free Guesses" were won, see EPISODE #253. - Suzanne (2004)

      Tidbits: Arlene's play "Late Love" is now in Boston, MA. Arlene again plugs Bennett's column "Cerf Board" which appears in "This Week" magazine. - Suzanne (2004)

      Panel: Dorothy Kilgallen, Steve Allen, Arlene Francis, Bennett Cerf.