What's My Line?

Season 5 Episode 45

EPISODE #215

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Aired Daily 12:00 AM Jul 11, 1954 on CBS
9.3
out of 10
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EPISODE #215
AIRED:
Game 1: Mrs. Mary Jane Hagen - "Underwater Ballerina" (salaried; she performs at the Marlin Beach Hotel in her hometown of Ft. Lauderdale, FL)

Game 2: Arthur Valentine - "Racetrack Bookie" (self-employed; at Arlene's request, he gave a demonstration of his bookmaking hand/arm signals, but unfortunately the camera was not on him; from Wales, Great Britain)

Game 3: Willie Mays (b. 5/6/1931) (as Mystery Guest)

Game 4: Johnny Chick - "Makes Moth Balls" (salaried; from Jersey City, NJ) . .moreless

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SUBMIT REVIEW
    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)

    Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions

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    • TRIVIA (0)

    • QUOTES (1)

      • (Jack Paar makes his own joke by referring to Steve Allen's famous "is it bigger than a breadbox?" question.)

        Jack Paar: Sir, what you do, is it smaller than a Steve Allen?

    • NOTES (5)

      • TODAY'S BASEBALL GAMES: On Sunday, July 11, 1954, the Pittsburgh Pirates and the New York Giants played an afternoon doubleheader at the Polo Grounds. Tonight's mystery guest, Willie Mays, hit his league-leading 31st home run and also doubled in the first game, which was won by the Giants with a score of 13-7. He went 0 for 4 in the second game and the Pirates won with a score of 5-1. The Giants had a six and a half game lead over the Brooklyn Dodgers at the middle of the year break. - cerfnet (2009)

        WILLIE MAYS AND THE ALL STAR GAME: The All Star Game was held in Cleveland on Tuesday, July 13, 1954. (This was two days after Willie Mays' appearance on "WML?") Willie Mays came into the All Star Game in the fifth inning. He was 1 for 2 with a single and a run scored, playing for the National League who lost to the American League 11-9. This was a wild game where the two teams combined for 31 hits. - cerfnet (2009)

        THE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP: The Giants won the World Championship in October 1954 with a four-game sweep of the Cleveland Indians. This victory was sparked by Willie Mays' "over the shoulder" catch of Vic Wertz's drive in the eighth inning of Game 1. This catch, replayed many times, is considered one of the greatest in baseball history. - cerfnet (2009)

        WILLIE MAYS, MVP AWARD: In 1954, Willie Mays had a sizzling first half of the season. He hit 31 home runs with 73 runs batted in, producing a .328 batting average. Willie only hit 10 home runs in the second half of the year, but raised his batting average to .345 to become the National League's "Most Valuable Player" of 1954. - cerfnet (2009)

      • FLIP REPORT: John flipped all the cards for the second contestant at four down. Arlene had determined his line, but John said that they couldn't let somebody who had come all the way from Wales leave without the full prize. John flipped them all for the final contestant at two down because time ran out, but Dorothy had come up with moth balls before it was actually said by John. - agent_0042 (2006)

        (1) "WML?" SPONSOR AND PANEL NAMEPLATE WATCH: The main sponsor for this evening is Remington electric shavers. Also, the type size on guest panelist Jack Paar's nameplate is somewhat bigger than those of the regular panelists or Mr. Daly.
        (2) SPEAKING OF JACK PAAR: This is the first of four appearances by the future late night talk show pioneer. His only other guest panelist appearance was EPISODE #266 of July 10, 1955, one day shy of exactly one year from tonight's program, and his remaining two appearances on "WML?" -- on EPISODE #405 of March 9, 1958 and EPISODE #498 of January 24, 1960 -- were as a mystery guest. Around this time, Mr. Paar was only one of several hosts of an early attempt by CBS to compete with NBC's popular "Today" show on weekday mornings. The "eye network's" effort, "The Morning Show," had also been hosted at different points by Walter Cronkite and Dick Van Dyke. After "The Morning Show" was revamped as "Good Morning" from 1956 to 1957, Will Rogers, Jr., son of the famed humorist, was the host; alas, Mr. Rogers was the only one of these hosts never to have appeared on "WML?" in any way. Mr. Cronkite was a mystery guest twice, and Mr. Van Dyke a guest panelist once.
        (3) MYSTERY GUEST NAMEPLATE WATCH: Like that for Jack Paar, the nameplate for tonight's mystery guest Willie Mays, though set in Title Gothic Condensed No. 11, is slightly larger in type size than the panel moderator's nameplate. This was the first of two appearances the "Say Hey Kid" made during "WML?'s" CBS run, not counting another mystery guest appearance early on in the 1968-1975 syndicated version.
        (4) "WML?" CREDITS CRUNCH WATCH: When GSN aired this episode in its regular rotation on June 13, 2008 -- Friday the 13th! -- its sadly predictable predilection for "crunching" the end credits continued to send chills down the spines of the viewing audience.
        (5) Following GSN's June 13, 2008 airing of tonight's show, the cable and satellite channel ran the April 4, 1966 edition of "I've Got a Secret," hosted by Steve Allen. Future "Friday the 13th" co-star Betsy Palmer was off for this particular episode in 1966; filling in for her was Steverino's lovely wife Jayne Meadows (in another of "IGAS's" occasional "old home weeks," and her fifth guest panelist shot during the "Steve Allen era"), who sat in with the other regular panelists Bill Cullen, Bess Myerson and Henry Morgan. The celebrity guests were Phil Ford and Mimi Hines, who were appearing at the time on Broadway in "Funny Girl." During their segment, a fashion parade ran so far overtime that, in a situation not too dissimilar to the end of "WML?" EPISODE #804 of February 20, 1966, after Steve promised "We'll be back after this word," the show ended and GSN ran their usual top-of-the-hour I.D. - W-B (2008)

        (1) BASEBALL HALL OF FAME TRIBUTE: GSN aired this episode on July 30, 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 commemoration of the Baseball Hall of Fame's 70th anniversary. This was this episode's fourth GSN broadcast since 2002, including the regular rotation airings in 2002 and 2004 plus an airing during a Jack Paar tribute in 2004.
        (2) WILLIE MAYS TRIBUTE RECORD: In this year of 1954 which was Willie Mays' breakout as a ball player, he would take part in a tribute song which was released on Epic single #(5-)9066 on July 26, 1954. This number, credited to "Willie Mays of The New York Giants with The Treniers," was called "Say Hey (The Willie Mays Song)." It was recorded in New York City on July 15, 1954, just four days after tonight's show. Of note here was that the musical director was one Quincy Jones, who would go on to greater fame in the music business, mainly as a record producer and/or arranger, in the years and decades ahead. The Treniers were an R&B (rhythm and blues) vocal group fronted by identical twin brothers Claude and Cliff Trenier; they had recorded since the early 1950's for the OKeh label (both OKeh and Epic were subsidiaries of Columbia Records), but like many R&B groups of the era, were not able to achieve "crossover" success on the charts. This preceded by two years Mickey Mantle's participation in the 1956 Teresa Brewer single "I Love Mickey" (Coral single #(9-)61700, credited to "The Voice of Mickey Mantle and Teresa Brewer"), which was a tribute to the Yankee slugger. Mr. Mays (and Mr. Mantle) would go on to be featured in the title of Terry Cashman's tribute song "Willie, Mickey and 'The Duke' (Talkin' Baseball)" which first came out in 1981 ("The Duke," of course, being the Dodgers' Duke Snider; all three had appeared as "WML?" mystery guests over the years). - W-B (2006)

      • TECHNICAL NOTE: In this day and age, we all take zoom lenses for granted. They're on digital cameras, camcorders, binoculars and cell phone cameras. Used judiciously by a cinematographer or cameraman, a zoom lens can provide incredibly dramatic shots for a movie or TV show. Although zoom lenses were invented in the late 1800s, early models were crude and zoom lenses weren't in general use in the television industry until the mid 1950s. This episode is a good example of the pre-zoom lens era at CBS. For example, the camera could either give us a two-shot of the guest and the moderator, or pan back and forth between close-ups of the two, but it could not zoom from a two-shot to a close-up or vice versa. Cameras in this era were frequently outfitted with three lenses on a turret: a wide angle lens, a long (telephoto) lens, and a medium lens. The turret arrangement made the "business end" of the camera look a little bit like a three-legged milking stool turned on its side. The cameraman could rotate the turret to bring any of the lenses in front of the cathode ray tube, but this would cause the picture to go dark if done while the camera was live. The zoom lens, which we see used on later episodes, gave the director and cameraman much more flexibility in setting up their shots. I'm not sure exactly when CBS began using zoom lenses to broadcast "What's My Line?," but it is some time after this mid-1954 episode. You'll know, when you see zoom effects in the broadcast. Keep an eye open for them! - Lee McIntyre (2006)

        Daly wishes Mays luck as he tries to "struggle" over the 60 home-run mark, and Willie says it seems a far ways off. They are referring to the single-season home run record of 60 set by Babe Ruth in 1927. Curiously, on the day of this show, 31 home runs for the season puts Mays at 55 home runs for his career, so he was still short of 60 for his career, but "60" to baseball fans always referred to Ruth in '27. The 60 for a season was broken by the Yankees' Roger Maris in 1961. It is generally accepted that had Mays not played in windy Candlestick Park for more than a decade, he would have easily beaten Babe Ruth's career record of 714 home runs. I lived in San Francisco for 12 years, and after having frozen at many Giants games, I can attest to the difficulty of playing in that stadium. Of course, had previous mystery guest Ted Williams not lost some of the most potentially productive years of his career to WWII, etc, etc; the arguments go on forever, and that's one of the things that keep these great players in our collective memory. I loved Arlene's reactions to having Willie on the show, both as she was figuring it out and after the mask came off. She obviously was a huge fan and her adoration of Willie is palpable. The only other recent guest who got so much love from the panel was Jimmy Durante. - Scott V. (2005)

      • REVIEW: This turned out to be a pretty decent night for the panel, especially for the Mt. Kisco Connection of Arlene and Bennett. Bennett got things rolling when he figured out that the first contestant performed underwater. However, he didn't say what she actually did, which was perform an underwater ballerina act, but he got credit due to the fact that he got close. In the second game, Arlene made the correct guess when she figured out that the second contestant was a bookie based in Wales. In fact, the audience gasped as she tried to get guest panelist and future "Tonight Show" host, Jack Paar, to make the correct guess. However, he passed to her and she got the credit for the guess. Arlene also correctly guessed that the mystery guest was the "Say Hey" kid Willie Mays. In fact, she proved that Martin wasn't the only sports fan in the Gabel household. Unfortunately, the panel ran out of time as they were questioning the final contestant, who made moth balls, and he wound up winning the full prize by default. - Sargebri (2005)

        It was very ironic to see Dorothy sitting next to Jack Paar on this particular episode. A few years later, she would become involved in a very bitter feud with him that often got as vicious as the one she had with Frank Sinatra. What is believed to have started this feud was the fact that Paar was a big supporter of Fidel Castro. Of course, Dolly Mae, being the big anti-communist that she was, took great exception to this and criticized Paar, which eventually led to their feud. Also, just like Sinatra, Paar would often take time in his monologue to make very unflattering comments about Dorothy - Sargebri (2005)

        Another irony about this broadcast is the fact that Paar was filling in for Steve Allen this particular evening. A few years later, Paar would take over as host of the "Tonight Show" and he would take it to a whole new level. Of course, when Paar left the show in 1962, he was replaced by Johnny Carson. One very ironic thing was that a few days before this episode was shown on GSN on January 27, 2005, Carson had passed away on January 23, 2005 at the age of 79. Also, three of the four men who hosted the "Tonight Show" appeared at various times on WML. Steve was still a regular panelist when this episode was first broadcast, Paar would appear a couple more times as a mystery guest and Johnny would appear as both a guest panelist and as a mystery guest. Also, Arlene would appear regularly on the Paar version of the talk show and also would become a guest hostess. Later, WML guest panelist Phyllis Newman would not only become a frequent guest of Johnny's, but she would become the first female guest host of the Carson era. - Sargebri (2005)

      • New York Giants (from 1951-1957) baseball outfielder Willie Mays (Willie Howard Mays, Jr.) had made his 31st home run of the season earlier today, Arlene Francis noted. She also stated that she was a huge Willie Mays & Giants fan. It was adorable the way she sat bolt upright in her chair and clapped! She then asked Willie to say "Say Hey," which he did, during his explanation. John Daly asked Willie about his "Say Hey" nickname. Willie responded that in the past, when he was coming up in the ranks, he used to use it when he did not know a person's name, but now that he knows everybody, he does not use this phrase anymore. 1954 was a stellar year for Willie Mays. After serving in the U.S. Army for two years, Mays returned at the start of the 1954 season at the age of 23 and led the major leagues with a .345 batting average, led the league with 41 homers, scored 119 times with 110 RBI's, was voted the National League's "Most Valuable Player" and led the N.Y. Giants to another pennant. His great defensive plays in the World Series enabled the Giants to sweep the Indians and become the 1954 World Champions. The Associated Press gave Mays their "Athlete of the Year" award. The Giants moved from New York to San Francisco in 1958, and Willie quickly "won over" the state of California. I saw Willie make his 516th home run at Candlestick Stadium in San Francisco. When Willie Mays retired after the 1973 season, he had hit 660 career home runs, only Babe Ruth had more. Mays was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1979. - Suzanne (2005)

        JACK PAAR TRIBUTE FROM GSN: Jack Paar passed away on January 27, 2004 at age 85. On February 1, 2004, as part one of a two-night special tribute, GSN aired this episode. Also seen as part of the tribute were appearances on Password and WML EPISODE #405 of March 9, 1958. GSN next aired this episode on January 27, 2004, exactly one year after Paar's death. - Suzanne (2004)

        ENGAGED: On July 31, 1954, Steve Allen will wed Jayne Meadows. Bennett mentioned the "future Mrs. Allen" tonight. - Suzanne (2004)

        Tidbits: During the introductions, Jack Paar held up the current issue of TV Guide Magazine which featured Arlene Francis on the cover! The issue covers the week of July 9-16, 1954, and had an original cost of 15 cents. - Suzanne (2004)

        Jack Paar (5/1/1917 - 1/27/2004)

        Panel: Dorothy Kilgallen, Jack Paar, Arlene Francis, Bennett Cerf. Steve Allen had the night off.

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