What's My Line?

Season 5 Episode 8


Aired Daily 12:00 AM Oct 25, 1953 on CBS
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Episode Summary

Game 1: Miss Sunee Parker - "Men's Barber" (salaried; she is employed at the historic Sheraton Belvedere Hotel in Baltimore; Bennett uses the word "tonsorial" and confuses both John and the contestant; the word tonsorial is an adjective meaning "of or relating to barbers and barbering" such as "tonsorial work"; from Baltimore, MD)

Game 2: Mr. J. D. Myers (Jess D. Myers) - "Manages Burlesque Theatre" (salaried; he runs the Empire Theatre in his home town of Newark, NJ; see link below)

Game 3: Greer Garson (9/29/1903 - 4/6/1996) (as Mystery Guest)

Game 4: Fred Elsea - "Makes Halloween False Faces" (salaried; from Findlay, OH)

Who was the Episode MVP ?

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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)

    • GREER GARSON: MGM didn't showcase Greer Garson's talents properly. I believe she could have produced an excellent Polish accent in "Madame Curie" (1943). She was extremely intelligent and well-read, and would have done wonderfully on game shows such as "Trivial Pursuit." She loved and honored her mother, she loved children and orphans, she loved dogs, her husband, Texas, New Mexico, ranching, history, anthropology, skeet shooting and entertaining. She had a zest for life and a keen sense of humor. She took care of her friendships and often, through handwritten notes, reached out to people she did not know. She was a very interesting, lively person I wish I could have known. - GreerGarson / Hannah (2008)

      FLIP REPORT: John flipped the single remaining card for the final contestant at nine down because time ran out. - agent_0042 (2008)

    • (1) DOROTHY AGAIN INTRODUCES JOHN: Tonight's show was the second time among the surviving kinescopes that Miss Kilgallen introduced Mr. Daly. The first time that she -- or, for that matter, any female panelist -- introduced John was EPISODE #3 of March 2, 1950, on which Dolly Mae sat in the "anchor" position of the panel desk.
      (2) NOT JUST DOROTHY: Because of the "reverse," counterclockwise order in which the panelists were introduced -- which, among extant "WML?" kinescopes, was the first time this has happened since EPISODE #2 of February 16, 1950 -- it was also the first time Bennett introduced Arlene. Arlene, in turn, introduced Steve, for the first time since EPISODE #138 of January 18, 1953. For that matter, it was the first time in "WML?'s" history, but by no means the last, that Bennett was introduced first.
      (3) "WML?" SPONSOR WATCH: Tonight, Stopette is the opening sponsor whose billboard is displayed on the panel desk, and Remington Rand has an "ending" plug.
      (4) MYSTERY GUEST: Tonight's show was the first of three appearances by legendary actress Greer Garson, whose nameplate on the panel moderator's desk is set in the usual Title Gothic Condensed No. 11. Miss Garson's final "WML?" appearance, again as a mystery guest, was on EPISODE #409 of April 6, 1958. In between, Greer was a guest panelist on EPISODE #362 of May 12, 1957, ably filling in for Miss Francis.
      (5) "WML?" END CREDITS AND CREDITS CRUNCH WATCH: Once more, with the ending Remington Rand plug, the end credits don't go past the "In Association with the CBS Television Network" slide. All this made no difference to GSN which, on its May 9, 2008, airing of this episode, continued its atrociously asinine and gruesomely gag-inducing "crunching" of the screen.
      (6) Following GSN's May 9, 2008 airing of tonight's show, the cable and satellite channel ran the April 26, 1965 edition of "I've Got a Secret" which, like every other episode of late, came in at the point where announcer John Cannon intoned "Live, from New York..." or, in the case of this prerecorded episode, "From New York..." -- which would indicate at first glance that a cigarette manufacturer alternated with Toni home permanents in sponsoring "IGAS" during this period; and this, in turn, would seem to indicate that the point where such episodes came in was GSN's doing, due to its prohibition of the showing of vintage cigarette advertising. However, General Foods' Dream Whip brand of whipped cream topping is shown on the overlay on the bottom left of the screen during the end credits. Host Steve Allen made a joke about which show it was (and who he was) by calling attention to the recent change from Standard to Daylight Saving Time, before introducing the panel of Betsy Palmer, Bill Cullen, Bess Myerson and Henry Morgan. The celebrity guest was Edie Adams. - W-B (2008)

    • LA ROSA FIRED: When Greer Garson came onstage to thunderous applause, Bennett made the comment, "Goodness, I thought only Julius LaRosa would have gotten a hand like that!" Bennett was referring to an incident earlier in the week. On October 19, 1953, Arthur Godfrey fired Mr. LaRosa from his television show live on the air. The press had a field day with the story, and public opinion was almost totally on Mr. LaRosa's side. Interestingly enough, this was the second reference to the incident on the same evening. On December 18, 2004, GSN presented an episode of "The Name's the Same" which also originally aired that same week in 1953. After it was revealed that the first contestant had the shared the name "Julie LaRosa," Robert Q. Lewis mentioned that the producers tried to find someone named "Arthur Godfrey" to also have on the show, but couldn't find one. Julius LaRosa's nickname was Julie, and Godfrey's statement as he fired him on the air was, "That was Julie's swan song." LaRosa had just finished singing the song "Manhattan." He wasn't fired over a lack of talent, he was fired because Godfrey though LaRosa lacked humility because LaRosa had found an agent or manager. Godfrey wanted to retain control over LaRosa's career, since Godfrey had discovered him. - Garrison Skunk (2004)

      MORE ABOUT THE LA ROSA FIRING: Forgotten today and mentioned very little at the time, the true reason Arthur Godfrey fired Julius LaRosa was because LaRosa was having an affair with one of the other Godfrey regulars (the married Dorothy McGuire of The McGuire Sisters). Godfrey, a family man, had warned LaRosa to end the affair and when LaRosa would not, Godfrey felt he had to fire him. Godfrey took a terrific negative public relations hit but due to the naive 1950's TV audience, choose not to disclose his true reason for the firing. More detail on EPISODE #194. - dubchi (2004)

    • REVIEW: After a rather confusing opening, the panel had a really good showing this night. Bennett correctly guessed that the bubbly and flirtatious first contestant was a lady barber. Unfortunately, they were pretty much stumped by the second contestant who ran a burlesque theater. They did get close when they figured out that he had something to do with entertainment. Also, 1953 was still more of an innocent time when striptease was nothing near what the more explicit exotic dancers do today. Bennett also figured out that the mystery guest was Greer Garson. However, he decided to let Dorothy get the credit and she made the correct guess without getting even one "no." Dorothy also figured out that the final contestant made Halloween masks, which was appropriate since that coming Friday was Halloween. - Sargebri (2004)


      EMPIRE THEATRE: For a history of Newark's 1912 Empire Theatre, visit this web site:


      The theatre closed on February 14, 1957 and was torn down the next year. - Suzanne (2004)


      The first contestant, a female barber who cuts men's hair, was really nutty! I don't think I'd trust her with a pair of scissors in her hands! For the second contestant, a gruff bald guy, Bennett made the wild guess that he was a gynecologist! I didn't know they could refer to that on 1953 TV! The second contestant managed a burlesque house. Dorothy got tons of laughs when she asked him, "Is anything for rent or for hire at this place?" - JohnXXVII (2004)

      From Lee McIntyre (2004): During Steve Allen's goodbye, he twisted Jimmy Durante's trademark phrase. "Good night, Mrs. Calabash, wherever you are," was Jimmy Durante's signature sign-off for his radio shows from the 1940s on. For one of the many fascinating theories on the meaning of the mysterious phrase, visit this web site:

      Mrs. Calabash where are you?


    • PANEL INTRODUCED BACKWARDS! - What was hysterical about this show was the beginning, where the announcer accidently introduced Bennett Cerf first! Mr. Cerf got into the spirit and everyone had to introduce the panelist to their right! Steve Allen twisted himself around backwards, facing the wall, so he could say, "And on my left..."! John Daly got into the spirit too by saying, "Good Night!" Funny stuff! At the end, Daly starts the goodbyes with Dorothy. She then totally confuses the director and cameramen by saying, "Good night, Bennett." But, Steve then said his good night and the rest of the goodbyes were as usual. PLUGS: Arlene is still plugging her Broadway show, "Late Love." Steve Allen is plugging a song he wrote called "Cool Yule" which was recorded by Louis Armstrong. Bennett is apparently on his way to Chicago for something or another. Arlene tells him to say, "Hello to Adlai," meaning Adlai Stevenson, who was a U.S. Senator from Illinois, and was the unsuccessful Democratic nominee for President in 1952. Greer Garson was an important actress of the 1940s and 1950s. She won the Best Actress Academy Award in 1942 for the film "Mrs. Miniver." - Johnny Olson Fan (2004)

      Tidbits: Jules Montenier, Inc. evidently could not decide which spelling they preferred for the description of their shampoo, Finesse. Some photos of Finesse show "Flowing Cream Shampoo" while other photos show "Flowing Creme Shampoo" printed on the plastic bottle. - Suzanne (2004)

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


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