(1) "STEVE ALLEN ERA" WATCH: This is the last extant "WML?" episode of what has come to be known as the "Steve Allen era," though the man himself, just as last week, was off tonight. Unfortunately, Mr. Allen's final appearance as a regular panelist, on the experimental color EPISODE #225 of September 19, 1954, no longer exists, whether in color or black-and-white, so therefore the last extant show on which Steverino appeared as a regular panelist was EPISODE #222 of August 29, 1954.
(2) "WML?" SPONSOR AND OPENING WATCH: Tonight's main sponsor as displayed on the panel desk was Stopette. In the transition from the opening titles to the off-screen announcer's introduction of the panel, there was no audience applause, although they were heard after the introduction for Miss Kilgallen.
(3) MYSTERY GUEST NAMEPLATE WATCH: The nameplates for both mystery guests were set in the usual Title Gothic Condensed No. 11, with that for Miss America 1955 Lee Meriwether reading "Miss America" and the plaque for Alfred Hitchcock displaying his full name. Also, the "Miss America 1955" overlay as seen while Miss Meriwether signed in was the usual "last-minute" font.
(4) "THERE SHE IS...": The Miss America Pageant on which Lee Meriwether was crowned on September 11, 1954 made history as the first nationally televised pageant, with ABC initially airing the program. It wasn't until the following year's telecast in 1955 that Bert Parks, who would become forever synonymous with Miss America, first hosted the proceedings, up to his controversial firing in 1979 when the pageant organizers deemed him, at 65 years of age, to be "too old." It was also in 1955 that "There She Is, Miss America" became the theme song for the pageant. The annual ceremony moved to CBS in 1957, NBC in 1966 (with the exception of the 1977 edition which was on CBS), and back to ABC from 1996 until 2004. Since then, the pageant has aired on cable and satellite TV, and in recent years, its base of operations was moved from Atlantic City, NJ to Las Vegas, Nevada. As a side note, Bert Parks -- who himself once had a Goodson-Todman connection, via the 1948-1952 radio series "Stop the Music" whose massive popularity caused a precipitous decline in the ratings for the long-running radio series of soon-to-be (in four months) "WML?" regular panelist Fred Allen -- never made any appearances on "WML?" at any time in its 17.5-year CBS run, but was a mystery guest on the syndicated "WML?" in 1969 and again within the final 1974-1975 season, the latter appearance on a week in which Miss America 1971, Phyllis George, was a guest panelist.
(5) "GOOD EV-E-NING": While famed director Alfred Hitchcock made his only "WML?" appearance tonight, this would not be the last time his visage would be seen on the small screen. Only a year later, beginning on October 2, 1955, Mr. Hitchcock became host and executive producer of the half-hour filmed anthology series "Alfred Hitchcock Presents." In its ten years (1955-1965) on the air -- the last three, from 1962 on, as "The Alfred Hitchcock Hour" -- the program had two runs apiece on CBS (1955-1960 and 1962-1964) and NBC (1960-1962 and 1964-1965). One of the producers during the show's history was Norman Lloyd, who started out as an associate producer, and by the end of its run, was executive producer. Mr. Lloyd went on to play "Dr. Daniel Auschlander" on the 1982-1988 series "St. Elsewhere." Among the many directors who worked on "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" was John Newland, who himself garnered fame as host of the 1959-1960 anthology series "One Step Beyond." As for Mr. Hitchcock, 1954 was a busy year, with two films -- "Dial M for Murder" and "Rear Window" having been released, and "To Catch a Thief" only several months from hitting the theatres. As he signed in, the director also drew his caricature profile which would go on to become the trademark of his aforementioned television series.
(6) "WML?" END CREDITS AND CREDITS CRUNCH WATCH: Tonight's show was the last to feature the end credits in the "old-style" typesetting (Franklin Gothic Condensed and Gillies Gothic Bold, with the "CBS" part of the "In Association with the CBS Television Network" slide card set in Alternate Gothic No. 1) that, in this form, had been in use since at least 1952, if not earlier. As next week's experimental color episode is lost to history, we do not know which end credit slides are used on that show; but two weeks from now, new end credit graphics with illustrations by artist Roy Doty will take their place. Alas, none of this mattered in the least to GSN, which on its June 22, 2008 airing of this episode carried on as usual with its boorish, monotonous and tiresome maligned "crunching" of the end credits.
(7) "IGAS" OLD HOME WEEK - AND THE END OF AN ERA: GSN's June 22, 2008 airing of tonight's "WML?" episode was followed by a rerun of the September 5, 1966 edition of "I've Got a Secret" which was the last episode of the series to be telecast in black-and-white. Host Steve Allen and the panel of Betsy Palmer, Bill Cullen, Bess Myerson and Henry Morgan were back in harness after two and a half months of reruns. The celebrity guest was former "IGAS" host Garry Moore, who was promoting his upcoming new variety show which ran on CBS from September 11, 1966 to January 8, 1967, one of a long list of CBS shows since 1961 (a list that also included "The Real McCoys," "The Judy Garland Show," future "WML?" guest panelist William Shatner's "For the People," and "Perry Mason") that fell victim to the "Bonanza" onslaught on Sundays at 9:00 PM. Mr. Moore's longtime sidekick, Durward Kirby, came back to join him on the new show, leading Durward to leave "Candid Camera" which he co-hosted with Allen Funt since 1961; Mr. Kirby would be replaced for what would be "Candid's" final 1966-1967 season by "IGAS's" own Bess Myerson. Also of note is that among the regulars of Mr. Moore's ill-fated 1966-1967 comeback attempt were John Byner and then-New York-based children's show host, and later comic actor, Chuck McCann. During the opening, Mr. Moore came out to thunderous applause which lasted about 30 seconds; the opening titles were interrupted midway by GSN on its 2008 airing in favor of its own new ad break, owing to this "IGAS" episode's sponsor being Tempo cigarettes, coupled with the cable and satellite channel's prohibition on cigarette advertising on vintage shows. - W-B (2008)
HALLOWEEN WEEKEND: GSN aired this episode on November 1, 2005 as part of a "Halloween Weekend" of horror-related stars appearing on Goodson-Todman shows. This show was preceded by an airing of "WML?" EPISODE #405 of March 9, 1958 on which Vincent Price was a guest panelist. This "WML?" episode had previously been shown in regular rotation on February 5, 2005. - W-B (2005)
NEXT WEEK IN COLOR: At the end of this episode, John Daly announced that next week's episode would be shown in color. Unfortunately, that early experimental color episode is lost to history. However, the names of the mystery guests and the occupations of the regular contestants have been filled in from Gil Fates' logs. Also noted in the logs is that the special episode was broadcast from CBS Studio 72. - Suzanne (2005)