What's My Line?

Season 5 Episode 50


Aired Daily 12:00 AM Aug 15, 1954 on CBS
out of 10
User Rating
8 votes

By TV.com Users

Episode Summary

Game 1: Major Daniel James, Jr. (2/11/1920 - 2/25/1978) - "Jet Fighter Pilot (U. S. Air Force)" (salaried; African-American; he is the commander of the 437th fighter interceptor squadron based at Otis Field; he flew 101 combat missions in Korea; from Pensacola, FL)

Game 2: Benjamin Keeney (pronounced as Kinney) - "Operates Skirt-Blowing Machine (Amusement Park)" (salaried; he works at the Rockaways' Playland Amusement Park at Rockaway Beach, Queens, NY; from Richmond Hill, Long Island, NY)

Game 3: Bob Smith (11/27/1917 - 7/30/1998) & Howdy Doody (as Mystery Guest Duo)

Game 4: Mrs. Rozana Ruehrmund - "Bill Collector" (salaried; her time was limited and John failed to ask the name of her hometown, however, Gil Fates' logs indicate she was from Ohio) . .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)

    Bob Smith

    Bob Smith

    Mystery Guest Duo

    Guest Star

    Fred Allen

    Fred Allen

    Guest Panelist

    Guest Star

    Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


    • TRIVIA (0)

    • QUOTES (2)

      • Fred Allen: Mr. James, this is your first appearance on this show, is it not?
        Mr. James: Yes it is.
        Fred Allen: Well, this is my first appearance, too. So you'll save us a lot of time if you'll just tell me what you do.

      • Fred Allen: (to first contestant) Mr. James, this is your first appearance on this show, is it not?
        Mr. James: Yes it is
        Fred Allen: Well this is my first appearance, too. So you'll save us a lot of trouble if you'll just tell me what you

    • NOTES (6)

      • Major Daniel James Jr. had a highly distinguished military career. This included service in Vietnam, command of Wheelus Air Force Base at the time that Mu'ammar Khadafy was pressing the United States military to leave Libya. His career culminated with his appointment as head of NORAD/ADCOM in 1975. He was the first African American to reach the rank of four-star rank in any branch of the US military. He died three weeks after retiring from the Air Force.

      • FLIP REPORT: John flipped the remaining cards for the first contestant at four down, in spite of the fact that Bennett had correctly guessed his line. John flipped the remaining card for the second contestant at nine down because time was running a bit short. In the final game, in an unusual move, John made a motion to flip the remaining cards for the final contestant when her line was guessed at five down. Rather than doing so, however, he simply made a comment as to the value of having fun on the show. - agent_0042 (2008)

      • (1) SAD IRONY: There was an irony to GSN's June 18, 2008 airing of Fred Allen's debut as a guest panelist on "WML?," coming as it did several hours after news of the death of actress/dancer Cyd Charisse on June 17, 2008 at age 86. This was because Miss Charisse was a mystery guest on the very first "post-Fred Allen" edition, EPISODE #302 of March 18, 1956 -- which was her only "WML?" appearance.
        (2) "WML?" SPONSOR WATCH: For this portent of the immediate future of the series, Stopette is the main sponsor.
        (3) "WML?" PANEL WATCH: In a variation on a joke which would be something of a "running gag" on Steve Allen's first "old home week" guest panelist appearance on EPISODE #295 of January 29, 1956, Dorothy introduces first-time guest panelist Fred Allen as one of the "boys" Steve says good night to at the close of every "WML?" episode. Fred, in turn, introduces Arlene as "the only lady who knows whatever became of Wendy Barrie." This comment was ironic in and of itself, given Miss Barrie's having made her only "WML?" appearance as a guest panelist on the long-lost EPISODE #4 of March 16, 1950 -- filling in for Miss Francis. As for Bennett, he is wearing the same light jacket he wore two weeks ago.
        (4) "IT'S HOWDY DOODY TIME!" - PART 1: The nameplate for the mystery guests tonight is set on two lines in a smaller Gothic No. 13, reading "BOB SMITH & HOWDY DOODY" -- leaving out the "BUFFALO" part of the former's moniker for space considerations. This is the first instance of a nameplate being higher than normal to accommodate two lines of type. While they make their only "WML?" appearance tonight, Mr. Smith and Mr. Doody were not the only cast members associated with the "Howdy Doody" program in any of its incarnations to appear. On the fifteenth-season "WML?" premiere, EPISODE #680 of September 8, 1963, Marilyn Patch, then a child TV personality who hosted a weekly Saturday morning kid's show on Boston's then-CBS affiliate, WHDH-TV (Channel 5, now ABC affiliate WCVB), was a contestant. She went on to play "Happy Harmony" on the short-lived 1976-1978 syndicated revival "The New Howdy Doody Show." One important early regular, however, made no appearances of any kind on "WML?" in its CBS run: Bob Keeshan, who played "Clarabell the Clown" from 1948 to 1953, and later went on to greater fame as "Captain Kangaroo" on the long-running CBS weekday morning children's show of the same name, which ran on the network from 1955 to 1984. He did, however, appear as a mystery guest on the syndicated version of "WML?" in 1969, 1972 and 1973.
        (5) "IT'S HOWDY DOODY TIME!" - PART 2: Beginning in 1955, "Howdy Doody" started airing regularly in color, as it would up to the show's demise in 1960. A few later episodes, including the series finale, were fortuitously preserved on color videotape. It should be noted that from 1954 to 1959, a Canadian version of "Howdy Doody" aired on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC). Among the cast members of the Canadian version were future "WML?" mystery guest Robert Goulet as "Trapper Pierre"; and a future guest panelist, William Shatner, who briefly played "Ranger Bob" early in the CBC show's run. Ironically, Mr. Shatner was hired after his future "Star Trek" co-star, James Doohan, who was to play "Timber Tom," wanted more money than CBC was willing to pay. (The role of "Timber Tom" eventually went to Peter Mews.) One of the voices of "Heidi Doody" in the CBC version was Norma Macmillan, who later took part in "The First Family" album in 1962, as well as voicing "Sweet Polly Purebred" on the cartoon series "Underdog."
        (6) "WML?" CREDITS CRUNCH WATCH: GSN's dubious and dismal record of callously "crunching" the end credits remained unremittingly and unabashedly unbroken as of the June 18, 2008 airing of this episode.
        (7) Immediately subsequent to the airing of tonight's show on June 18, 2008, GSN reran the May 30, 1966 edition of "I've Got a Secret" with host Steve Allen, the panel of Betsy Palmer, Bill Cullen, Bess Myerson and Henry Morgan, and celebrity guest Shelley Winters. This "IGAS" episode was last shown by GSN on January 21, 2006 as part of a tribute to Miss Winters, who died on January 14, 2006 at age 85. - W-B (2008)

      • IT'S HOWDY DOODY TIME! During his mystery guest game, Bob Smith performed a cute impersonation of Fred Allen, mentioning Fred's wife, Portland Hoffa, in the process. In September 1954, Bob suffered a near-fatal heart attack that took him off his 1947-1960 "Howdy Doody" "Puppet Playhouse" series for a year while he recuperated. Allen Swift filled in for him until Bob returned. - Suzanne (2005)

        THE SHAPE OF THINGS TO COME!!! This was a particularly historic occasion for What's My Line? this evening. Fred Allen was a guest panelist, sitting in for Steve Allen, so tonight we see - for the first time - what many people consider to be the classic panel grouping of Dorothy Kilgallen, Fred Allen, Arlene Francis and Bennett Cerf. In a few months, Fred would permanently take Steve's seat as Steve would go on to bigger and better things. As for the games themselves, the panel had a pretty decent evening. Bennett correctly guessed that the first contestant was a pilot for the United States Air Force. Unfortunately, they were totally stumped by the man who operated the skirt blower. They did have better luck with mystery guests Buffalo Bob and Howdy, especially after Bennett asked if his sons had been guests on Bob's famous gallery, the "Peanut Gallery" of the "Howdy Doody" show. Dolly Mae capped the evening when she correctly guessed that the final contestant was a bill collector. And so ended a very historic evening for the panel. - Sargebri (2005)

      • During intense questioning by the blindfolded panel, as Bennett Cerf zeroes in on the identity of Buffalo Bob and his famous puppet Howdy, Howdy humorously exclaims, "Oh, oh, we're dead, Buffalo Bob!" - Jim's TV Collectables (2005)

      • WELCOME GUEST PANELIST FRED ALLEN: Tonight's show, EPISODE #220 of August 15, 1954, is Fred Allen's debut episode as a guest panelist. He has been a former mystery guest on EPISODE #168 of August 16, 1953. After Steve Allen leaves the "WML?" panel (Steve's final show as a regular panelist is on EPISODE #225 of September 19, 1954), Fred Allen will alternate weekly, as a guest panelist, with Robert Q. Lewis for about four months. Fred will then become a regular panelist on EPISODE #242 of January 23, 1955 and will continue in this role until his untimely death in March 1956. - Suzanne (2005)

        Tidbits: Arlene announced that in the September 1954 issue of Esquire magazine, Bennett has published an article that tells the inside story on the Miss America contest. Bennett announced - probably to John's chagrin - that John had purchased an Austin Healey sports car. - Suzanne (2005)

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

    • ALLUSIONS (0)