What's My Line?

Season 5 Episode 14


Aired Sunday 10:30 PM Dec 06, 1953 on CBS



  • Trivia

    • This gaff happens in the blink of an eye. During the game with William Hall, Bennett asks the guest if his product might be used in any way in or about the water. John Daly says, "Three down and seven to go, Miss Kilgallen." Now, watch closely and don't blink: As the shot switches to Dorothy Kilgallen and John says, "I'm going to give you one more minute," Dorothy's relatively large left earring (on the viewer's right, closest to Steve Allen) falls off her ear - as if on cue! It either drops down the front of her gown or into her lap, it is impossible to tell which. She gamely tries to catch it in mid-fall, as she grabs toward her bosom. Failing to catch it (her hand remains open, not closed around anything), she asks her question and absolutely does not miss a beat; the perfect, unruffled pro! Her only acknowledgement of the mishap is that she keeps her head turned to the left for the rest of her turn, so that the camera cannot see her naked ear. The round ends with Dorothy's question, we go to a commercial, and by the end of the break, the earring is safely back where it belongs. - Lee McIntyre (2004)

  • Quotes

    • Nat "King" Cole is whistling his yes's and no's, because his voice is so recognizable. After a while, Steve Allen offers this aside about Julius LaRosa, who was the lately fired-on-the-air singer from the television show Arthur Godfrey and His Friends.

      Steve: I haven't heard this much whistling since this afternoon when I heard Julius LaRosa's record of Eh Cumpari!

    • Bennett Cerf: (introducing John Daly with a pun on the sponsor of this episode, Jules Montenier, Inc.) And now, on my left, is our peerless, and practically incorruptible panel moderator - the man who makes "Monteniers" out of molehills, Mr. John Charles Daly.

    • A rare personal aside by Arlene, almost lost in the applause, in response to Steve Allen's introduction:

      Steve: Thank you, Dorothy. Thank you very much. Thank you. And on my left, one of the lovely ladies of radio and television, and also the Broadway stage, with her new hit show, Late Love, and seen on another network in her own show, Talent Patrol - does a great many things, Arlene Francis. (loud applause from audience)
      Arlene: (grinning, over applause) How about that! How exhausting.

  • Notes

    • FLIP REPORT: John flipped the remaining cards for the second contestant at three down because time was running short. - agent_0042 (2008)

    • (1) "WML?" SPONSOR AND SET DESIGN WATCH: Tonight, Stopette is the sponsor which is on display throughout the set. Speaking of which, it appears that the glittery, bold "WHAT'S MY LINE?" sign as seen over the panel members, that debuted on EPISODE #164 of July 19, 1953, has disappeared -- or, to quote a famous sponsor phrase, "Poof! There goes the 'WHAT'S MY LINE?' sign."
      (2) BAD PUN ALERT: Bennett makes another advertising-related play on words when introducing John as "the man who makes Monteniers out of molehills." This pun on the phrase "a mountain out of a molehill" made mention of Stopette manufacturer, Dr. Jules Montenier.
      (3) "NAT 'KING' COLE WAS A MERRY OLD SOUL...": Tonight was the first of two appearances by legendary crooner and pianist Nat "King" Cole. He will appear again, also as a mystery guest, on EPISODE #556 of March 19, 1961, by which time the quotes that properly enveloped the "King" part of his name disappeared from his records, so that by the time of his last big hits -- "Ramblin' Rose" (1962), "Those Lazy-Hazy-Crazy Days of Summer" (1963) and "L-O-V-E" (1964) -- he was credited on the label as Nat King Cole. As if to anticipate this future, his nameplate on the panel moderator's desk -- set, as always, in Title Gothic Condensed No. 11, albeit with the letters spaced very close together -- reads "NAT KING COLE," sans the quotes around his nickname.
      (3) NAT "KING" COLE - PART II: Three years from tonight's show, Nat "King" Cole became the first African-American celebrity to host a television variety series with "The Nat 'King' Cole Show," which ran on NBC from November 5, 1956 to December 17, 1957. From the start, the show had trouble attracting advertisers, and essentially aired almost commercial-free; in addition, many of NBC's Southern affiliates refused to carry the program. Of note is that "The Nat 'King' Cole Show's" announcer was Bill Hanrahan (d. 1996), who, within a few years, became better known as the "Voice of NBC News," announcing for "The Huntley-Brinkley Report" up to Chet Huntley's retirement in 1970, and the successor "NBC Nightly News" until Mr. Hanrahan's own retirement in 1983; as well as for special coverage programs of space shots, political conventions, and assassinations. As a side note, it wasn't until Flip Wilson got his own variety show on NBC in 1970 that an African-American performer finally succeeded as a variety show host; Sammy Davis, Jr.'s 1966 variety show lasted only a few months.
      (4) "WML?" CREDITS CRUNCH WATCH: In the "What Else Is New?" department, the sinfully sickening "crunching" of the end credits continued apace when aired by GSN on May 15, 2008.
      (5) The May 15, 2008 airing of tonight's show was followed by a repeat of the June 7, 1965 edition of "I've Got a Secret," with host Steve Allen and the panel of Betsy Palmer, Bill Cullen, Bess Myerson and Henry Morgan. The celebrity guest was Fritz Weaver, who was then appearing on Broadway in "Baker Street" as "Sherlock Holmes," and in fact made his "IGAS" appearance in the Holmes costume. As usual, the "IGAS" opening is truncated; heard over the closing credits, promoting the next shows to air on CBS, was former (1955-1961) "WML?" announcer Hal Simms. - W-B (2008)

    • In reference to Steve Allen's 1953-1957 television series "Tonight!" - As of the date of this episode, October 18, 1953, "Tonight!" had yet to be picked up by the national NBC network. From June 1953 until September 27, 1954, "Tonight!" was only aired locally over the NBC affiliate WNBT in NYC. The name of the show probably was not mentioned so those watching WML outside of the NYC area wouldn't check their listings for a show they couldn't see. - Gus Splittorf (2004)

      It's interesting, puzzling, that during the weekly introductions, Steve Allen is free to mention Arlene Francis' television program by name, "Talent Patrol," "on another network," but not once has Dorothy Kilgallen been able to mention Steve's ground-breaking precedent-setting new show, "Tonight!" by name. One wonders why. - Lee McIntyre (2004)

      Bennett consistently demonstrates a knowledge of activities and landmarks in the hometowns of the guests, particularly when making his free guess. For example, if someone is from Atlanta, he'll guess that they work for Coca-Cola there. Tonight he may have missed the mark. He guessed that William Hall worked at the "Lord Talton Hotel" in Miami. However, a cursory online search of the Miami area fails to turn up a "Lord Talton Hotel." There is, however, a hotel currently known as the "Wave Hotel," built in the 1940s and originally named the "Lord Balfour Hotel." Perhaps "Lord Balfour Hotel" was Bennett's intended reference, but he clearly said "Lord Talton Hotel." - Lee McIntyre (2004)

      The round with Nat "King" Cole has to be one of the most enjoyable this longtime observer of WML has seen. Mr. Cole didn't enclose his middle name "King" in quotes when he signed in, but it properly should be written this way, as it is a nickname given to him by a club owner in 1937. Nat very obviously enjoyed his appearance, the panel had great fun with his whistling answers (see the quotes section below), and everyone obviously adored the man. Leader of the King Cole Trio, he was one of the most beloved jazz pianists and balladeers of all time, with hit records spanning the years from 1940 to his 1962 hit, "Ramblin' Rose." His untimely death from lung cancer in February 1965 marked the end of an incredibly varied and successful musical career. - Lee McIntyre (2004)

    • REVIEW: Congratulations were in order for the panel this particular night as this past week they were awarded the Sylvania Television Award for best panel show. Also, Bennett was jokingly named one of the ten best known pipe smokers in America. However, this was one night the panel probably would have wanted to forget. The panel was totally stumped by the first contestant, an American who was a matador in Mexico. Things got worse in the second game when the panel ran out of time as they were questioning the second contestant, a flea powder salesman, and he wound up winning the full prize by default. However, Arlene saved the day when she correctly guessed that the mystery guest was the legendary Nat "King" Cole, who answered the majority of his questions by whistling them due to the fact that the panel probably would have recognized that "Unforgettable" voice. He had used two whistles to mean "no," and one whistle to mean "yes." After Nat left the stage, the panel said they really liked Nat's whistling of the answers. In fact, Arlene commented that it was better than the kazoo. This was, of course, in reference to Walter Winchell's appearance, when he used a kazoo to answer the panel's questions. - Sargebri (2004)

      BREADBOX WATCH!!! The popular breadbox question wasn't used this particular evening. - Sargebri (2004)

    • Tidbits: Shown at the beginning of this episode is the Sylvania TV Award won by What's My Line? For the second consecutive year, they won the "Outstanding Panel Show on Television" award. We also learn that Steve Allen is allergic to dogs, after he sneezes and tells us about his canine allergy. Later on, watch as Dorothy's left earring falls off. More notes about that below, in the "Trivia" section. - Suzanne (2004)

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

  • Allusions