What's My Line?

Season 5 Episode 20


Aired Daily 12:00 AM Jan 17, 1954 on CBS
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Episode Summary

Game 1: Mrs. Janet May - "Lingerie Model" (salaried; she receives a lot of whistles from the audience; from Mission, KS) Game 2: Charles Morris - "Sells Worms" (self-employed; he orders 1000 mudworms from Maine, sells them and reorders; from Brigantine, NJ) Game 3: Joan Fontaine (b. 10/22/1917) (as Mystery Guest) Game 4: Ed Cunniffe - "Salami Stuffer" (salaried; comments are made about his colorful clothes, even though he is wearing a suit; from Jackson Heights, NY) MYSTERY IN 2005: In an unusual move, John stated that there was no time for the next scheduled guest and named him. It sounded like John said Mr. Bernaise Johnson or perhaps Mr. Bernays Johnson. Maybe it was even Bern "Ace" Johnson - the spelling is unknown. - Suzanne (2005) MYSTERY SOLVED IN 2010: I believe that the contestant who wasn't able to appear on this episode of the show was Mr. Bernays Johnson, an inventor. He was a neighbor of my mother's as I was growing up in Wayne, New Jersey. If you Google his name, you will find links to some of his inventions. - SusanDeYoungB (2010) . .moreless

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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 (8)

    • Arlene: Good night Bennett, we'll miss you. You're one of the nicest two-legged animals I've ever met.
      Bennett: Thank you, Arlene, and goodbye for awhile. Next weekend, in this very spot... (stops and speaks to Arlene) And don't you be too nice to him, now. (continues his goodbye) ...will be one of the most famous mustaches in America, Mr. Cesar Romero! Good night, John.

      (Unfortunately, next week's kinescope is mostly damaged and lost, and won't be broadcast at all by GSN)

    • Bennett: (regarding the animal associated with the final contestant's product) Is this a large-ish creature?
      John: A whaaaaat?
      Bennett: (laughing) Is it bigger than two breadboxes?

    • Bennett: (regarding the final contestant's product) Is this a four-legged animal?
      (Audience laughs since it's obvious that it would be.)
      Steve: No kangaroo meat being served here.

    • Arlene: Is he too an actor?
      Joan Fontaine: No sir -- ma'am!
      Arlene: Let me make myself clear!

    • Arlene: Is it alive?
      Charles Morris: Yes.
      Arlene: Is it, uh, wiggly?
      Bennett: Piggly Wiggly.
      John: It has been so described.
      Arlene: It can wiggle?
      John: Yes, it can wiggle.
      Arlene: And that's its main mode of locomotion, wiggling?

    • Steve: (taking a free guess at the line of the second contestant, making a reference to Brooks Brothers, an upscale men's clothier) To me, he looks burly, yet distinguished. I think he's a bouncer at Brooks Brothers.

    • Bennett: Could it be worn at all times during the day?
      Mrs. Janet May: It could be.
      Bennett: Could it also be worn at night?
      Mrs. Janet May: Um hum.
      Bennett: Could it be worn when the lady slips between the sheets for a good night's rest?
      John: (laughing) Conference! I'm not an expert. I gotta find out.
      (John and Mrs. May talk.)
      John: Yes!
      Bennett: Well, is it some kind of nightgown, then? Oh no, if it's worn in the daytime - is it something you'd consider a slip? I don't know what you'd call these things. I better pass to Dorothy, I don't...
      John: Bennett, you're wonderful! Cause there's one word I know. I thought you'd come on it. It's the only word we men have to go to when we get into this area.
      Bennett: Lingerie?
      John: Lingerie is right! Now what does Mrs. May have to do with lingerie?
      Bennett: Well I'm sure she wears it, but...
      (loud laughter from audience)

    • Steve: (taking a wild guess at the first contestant's line, borrowing a style of gag commonly used by former panelist Hal Block) I think she's a gym teacher and I wish I were Jim.

  • NOTES (3)

    • FLIP REPORT: John flipped the remaining cards for the final contestant at just one down because time ran short. - agent_0042 (2008)

      (1) "WML?" SPONSOR WATCH: Tonight, Stopette/Finesse is the sponsor whose wares are displayed at various points in the "WML?" set.
      (2) In a switch, during his introduction of Arlene, Steve mentions that she has "her own program on ABC-TV." This is a twist on the usual introduction during this period; the title of the program she was hosting at the time, "Talent Patrol," is not even mentioned, but the "other network" certainly is.
      (3) MYSTERY GUEST: Tonight is the first of two appearances by actress Joan Fontaine in the course of "WML?'s" CBS run. Her second, as a guest panelist on EPISODE #800 of January 23, 1966, is among the sixteen post-1952 episodes that have joined the 100-plus 1950-1952 shows in being lost to history. Only one other appearance by Miss Fontaine on "WML?" survives today: from the 1968-1975 syndicated run, during Week #226 which was taped on December 13, 1973. The host at that point was Larry Blyden, the panel consisted that week of Soupy Sales, Dana Valery, Gene Shalit and Arlene Francis, and that episode was notable for an appearance by then-Georgia governor (and later President) Jimmy Carter. On that 1973 show, the series had come full circle in one aspect: During her mystery guest spot, Miss Fontaine had a nameplate on the host's desk, just as on this evening's episode, although the syndicated episode also had her name for a few seconds on the overlay screen after she signed in, just as on the 1955-1967 episodes from the CBS run. This later episode was last shown by GSN in August of 2006 during a retrospective of the greatest game shows ever. As for her appearance tonight, Miss Fontaine's nameplate on the panel moderator's desk is set in the usual Title Gothic Condensed No. 11. At this point, besides "The Bigamist" which she was promoting this evening, Joan was just a few months away from co-starring as "Francesca Bruni" in the 1954 Bob Hope film "Casanova's Big Night." As a side note, Miss Fontaine's co-star in "The Bigamist," Ida Lupino, never appeared at all on "WML?," but was a guest on the January 2, 1957 edition of "I've Got a Secret."
      (4) "WML?" CREDITS CRUNCH WATCH: As customary for GSN on its May 21, 2008 airing of this episode, the end credits were "crunched" in their usual nattering, nagging and nauseating fashion.
      (5) Immediately after the May 21, 2008 airing of tonight's show, GSN ran the September 20, 1965 edition of "I've Got a Secret." Host Steve Allen began the show by "swimming" in the bottom of an empty Doughboy swimming pool (which was connected with the "water theft victim" contestant in the first game). Steve then called attention to the water shortage that was gripping New York City during that period, before introducing the panel of Betsy Palmer, Bill Cullen, Bess Myerson and Henry Morgan. The celebrity guest was Soupy Sales, who brought along a six-member African Watusi tribe who was performing at the "African Pavilion" of the 1964-1965 World's Fair; the secret was that they were learning the American "Watusi" dance which was one of the major dance crazes at the time. - W-B (2008)

    • This episode was broadcast by GSN on January 4, 2005. On January 8, 2005, GSN presented a special July 1, 1969 Wally Bruner hosted WML syndicated episode as part of a tribute to the late Jerry Orbach who had passed away on December 28, 2004. Coincidentally, the tribute syndicated episode also - as it so happened - featured another "Salami Stuffer," Mr. Robert Clark. He stumped the panel which consisted of Soupy Sales, Joanna Barnes, Jack Cassidy and Arlene Francis. Another coincidence is that the first contestant was Mrs. John Daley who was a "Demolition Car Driver." Even though the surnames were spelled differently, Wally asked her if she was related to John Daly, but she wasn't. - Garrison Skunk and Suzanne (2005)

      REVIEW: The panel had a nearly perfect evening and a pretty fun one as well. The fun started when Bennett, who would be going on a well-deserved (albeit "working") vacation after this broadcast, correctly guessed that the very attractive first contestant was a lingerie model. Of course, what really made it fun what the number of private conferences John called for, and the panel's comments as he was doing so. Next up, Arlene correctly guessed that the second contestant was a worm salesman. Dorothy then scored for the panel as she correctly guessed that this evening's mystery guest was Joan Fontaine, sister of Olivia de Havilland. Joan was on the show to promote her new film, "The Bigamist." Within the next decade, Joan would become somewhat of a fixture on panel shows, especially the daytime version of "To Tell the Truth," on which she was a regular panelist from 1962 to 1965. Unfortunately, the panel's bid for a perfect night was spoiled as they ran out of time and the salami stuffer won the full prize by default. - Sargebri (2005)

      During the free guesses for the second game, Bennett mentioned something from the current events of the day - Godfrey buzzing an airport. This was in reference to an incident involving Arthur Godfrey and his DC-3 aircraft. A couple of days ago, Godfrey had buzzed (flew low above) an airport control tower. The fallout from this incident resulted in Godfrey having his pilot's license temporarily suspended while the incident was investigated by the flight authorities. Of course, this was a few months after his controversial firing of Julius LaRosa and he was still suffering negative press as a result of that incident. Needless to say, the press had a field day with his aerobatic stunt as well. Read more detail about this tower buzz under "Cultural References" below. - Sargebri (2005)

      BREADBOX WATCH!!! During the final game, Bennett asked if the animal product that the salami stuffer dealt with was larger than two of Steverino's breadboxes. - Sargebri (2005)

    • DOROTHY MATERNITY WATCH 8 of 10: Dorothy Kilgallen is now seven months pregnant. No announcement has been made on WML yet - at least, not that we GSN viewers are aware of. Amazingly, she is not showing yet, but she has not stood up lately. Her son Kerry Kollmar will be born on March 19, 1954. - Suzanne (2005)

      WEENIE WATCH: We have a weenie sighting! After Steve says, "Dorothy's thinking a lot better than I am." Dorothy softly mentions having weenies about the worm seller. - Garrison Skunk (2005)

      PLUG: For the past few weeks, Steve Allen plugged Arlene's show by name but said it aired "on another network." On this episode, he mentions the network, ABC, but doesn't name the show's title, which is "Talent Patrol." - Garrison Skunk (2005)

      Joan Fontaine promoted her 1953 film, "The Bigamist," in which she co-stars with Edmond O'Brien and Ida Lupino. - Suzanne (2005)

      Tidbits: Dorothy has a current article in Screenland Magazine. Steve has his "life story" in the current Pageant Magazine. Bennett will be leaving on a lecture tour for 6 weeks. He'll be in California, and Mr. Daly said Bennett will be vacationing, also! - Suzanne (2005)

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


    • Bennett Cerf: "Well, Mr. Morris comes from New Jersey. I think maybe he runs that airport that Godfrey buzzed the other day."

      In making his free guess about the occupation of the worm seller from New Jersey, Bennett is making reference to the audacious and dangerous low flight that comedian/singer/impresario/"ukuleleist" red-haired Arthur Godfrey made over the tower of Teterboro Airport, just outside Teterboro, New Jersey. Godfrey's infamous "buzzing" of this airport was an incident that made national headlines. This was the airport where Godfrey kept the retired United DC3 he had purchased from the Air Force. He personally piloted the old clunker around the country in his pursuit of fame and happiness. Godfrey, despite his celebrity status, was cited and fined for his unauthorized fly by. Never one to pass up an opportunity, Godfrey then recorded a song which became a flash-in-the-pan hit, called "Teterboro Tower." - Lee McIntyre (2005)