GOOF: The studio announcer accidently opened this show by reading from the cue sheet of the previous week that had been broadcast in CBS experimental color. More details under the "notes" section. - ymike (2005)
NEW FRIENDS, NAMEPLATES AND BLINDFOLDS: Fred Allen appears tonight as an alternating (for the next four months - with Robert Q. Lewis) guest panelist. Fred reads out loud a postcard that a reader had sent to a newspaper's TV columnist, asking if Fred were Steve Allen's father, but the two were, in fact, no relation. Fred got laughs when he said that the reason he was chosen was because the "WML?" producers didn't want to pay to replace the "Mr. Allen" nameplate that had previously been used for Steve Allen. In an apparent effort to speed things along, before the first contestant, Lilian J. Rowen, had even left the stage, the panel was asked to put on their blindfolds for the second game, which was the first of the program's two mystery guest segments for the evening. During the goodbyes, Fred Allen was seen jokingly holding his blindfold over his face. - agent_0042 (2008)
(1) FROM ONE ALLEN TO ANOTHER: For this first show of what has come to be called the "Fred Allen era," which will last about a year and a half, the opening sponsor is Stopette. Coincidentally, it was after Fred's death in 1956 that Jules Montenier, Inc. sold out to Helene Curtis Industries, Inc.
(2) "WML?" OVERLAY AND NAMEPLATE FONT WATCH: With Fred Allen taking Steve Allen's place on the "WML?" panel (every other week, for four months, until Fred becomes a permanent panelist) the "Mr. Allen" nameplate created when Steverino joined the panel is still in place. In terms of mystery guest nameplates, Roy Rogers and Dale Evans' are set on two lines in the higher size of plaque, with their names set in Title Gothic Condensed No. 11 and the "AND" next to Mr. Rogers' name set in a smaller size of Gothic No. 13; and Red Skelton's nameplate is set in the regular font. Meanwhile, the first (and only) regular contestant's overlay, "Manages Turkish Bath for Women," was set in the usual "last-minute" overlay font.
(3) "HAPPY TRAILS TO YOU": This was the only joint appearance of Roy Rogers and Dale Evans on the program. Mr. Rogers would make another "WML?" appearance, on EPISODE #434 of September 28, 1958 -- four years and two days from tonight's show -- but Miss Evans never appeared on the program again. At the time of this episode, they were starring together in "The Roy Rogers Show" which ran on NBC from 1951 to 1957. As with their films, Mr. Rogers and Miss Evans were accompanied on the TV series by such co-stars as Pat Brady and Roy's "golden palomino" Trigger.
(4) "GOD BLESS": This was the first of two appearances by Red Skelton, who at the time of tonight's show was in the second year of his run with CBS, which lasted until 1970 when he, Jackie Gleason and the rural sitcom "Petticoat Junction" were all given the heave-ho. Mr. Skelton will be on "WML?" again on EPISODE #532 of September 25, 1960 -- one day shy of six years from tonight's show.
(5) "WML?" END CREDITS AND CREDITS CRUNCH WATCH: Starting with this edition, the typeface used for the end credits is a variation of Futura Medium. While there were four different changes to the end credits over the next thirteen years, this font will be used for all end credits for the remainder of the show's CBS run. Regardless of the end credits graphics changing effective with tonight's show, it was still the "same old, same old" for GSN, vis-a-vis its objectionable "crunching" of the end credits on its June 23, 2008 airing of this episode.
(6) THE BEGINNING OF THE END FOR "IGAS": Following the June 23, 2008 airing of tonight's show, GSN ran an edition of "I've Got a Secret" which originated "from New York" on September 19, 1966. This was actually the second episode of "IGAS" to be telecast regularly in color (the first one, which originally aired on September 12, 1966 with celebrity guest Stephen Boyd, is tragically lost to history); unfortunately, however, as with "WML?" which, like "IGAS," was in its final season, the only existing episodes have been preserved as black-and-white kinescopes. Not coincidentally, Gil Fates was the executive producer of both shows, as well as of the nighttime "To Tell the Truth." At the outset, host Steve Allen's desk was missing, as the first contestants were a group of children whose grandmother (Dora Hall - on the Dot label) was a rock 'n roll singer. As with an earlier episode a few months back, the panel desk for Betsy Palmer, Bill Cullen, Bess Myerson and Henry Morgan stayed put for the entire episode, and Mr. Allen's desk was back in place from the second contestant's segment onwards. The celebrity guest was Edie Adams. A color publicity photo of Steve and Edie (no pun intended regarding Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme) from this show is on IMDb and can be found here; however, the photo is misdated and misidentified as emanating from a 1958 edition of "The Steve Allen Show." Still, that picture gives a hint of how the scene would have looked to GSN viewers if this final season, or at least a few episodes thereof, had been preserved on color videotape. This new season also saw a slight tweaking in the "IGAS" logo, with the blinking "SECRET" inside the "A" now set in what appeared to be Folio Bold Condensed, and a revamping of the end credits overlays with all credits now justified center, set in Folio Medium Extended, with no sponsor overlay, and the 1965-era Television Code insignia now seen below the "Telecast Enterprises" overlay. The 1959-era Seal of Good Practice variation had been on every "IGAS" installment from 1962 up to the prior episode. - W-B (2008)
MEANWHILE, ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE POND, IT'S BENNY HILL ON THE BBC "WHAT'S MY LINE?" - On this exact same night, September 26, 1954, on the British version of "WML?," making his only appearance as a "guest celebrity," which was the U.K. equivalent of "mystery guest," was beloved comedian Benny Hill, who was already making a name for himself on TV with his flair for impersonations and parodies. This 1951-1962 British version of "WML?" was transmitted on the BBC and was hosted by "chairman" Eamonn Andrews, who was also a frequent guest panelist, and a one-off guest "panel moderator" on the U.S. "WML?"
Two months before tonight's episode aired, on the June 21, 1954 episode of "Showcase" which Benny hosted at the time, Benny made headlines across Britain with a parody of "WML?" in which he played all the British version panelists: Barbara Kelly, Gilbert Harding, Lady Isobel Barnett and David Nixon. As all TV in those days was live, Benny had only 30 seconds to change into each character. The results were hilarious.
Benny Hill would go on to worldwide international fame after 1979 when his show was syndicated in a half-hour version in the U.S., boasting a repertory company that would become as well known as those of such famous American comedians as Sid Caesar, Jackie Gleason, Steve Allen, Red Skelton (tonight's American "WML?" mystery guest), and Carol Burnett. Ironically enough, given who appeared on each version of "WML?" tonight, Hill in later years would be compared to Skelton; also, in 1967 Hill hosted two editions of a British-American co-produced show called "Spotlight" which, in the U.S., was aired as a summer replacement for Skelton's show. - W-B (2006)
MYSTERY SPLOTCH 1: Starting with this episode, the nameplate that holds the mystery guest's name has acquired a dark, splatter-like stain to the viewer's right. - stopette (2005)
MYSTERY SPLOTCH 2: The dark mark on the wood in front of the guest's chair won't disappear until EPISODE #283 of November 6, 1955, when the use of mystery guest name plaques is given up in favor of the use of overlay screens. - Suzanne (2005)
ROY ROGERS & DALE EVANS: Mystery guests Roy Rogers and Dale Evans were popular during the Westerns heyday of the late 40s and 50s. Roy Rogers, "King of the Cowboys," and his wife Dale Evans, "Queen of the Cowgirls," played opposite one another with their equally famous mounts, Trigger and Buttermilk. The handsome couple appeared in 27 Western movies, always playing the good guys, and always bringing the villains to justice. Somehow, though, no matter how rough and tumble the fight between Roy and the villains, he never lost his hat. They successfully made the move to television and cranked out seven years' worth of weekly shows for NBC, which then ran in reruns for nearly four years on CBS. Roy Rogers was the first TV hero for many a baby boomer. His 1951-1957 television series, "The Roy Rogers Show," was set on the Double R Bar Ranch where Roy continued his simple fight for law and order in the contemporary West. Also featured were Roy's bumbling sidekick, Pat Brady and Pat's cantankerous jeep, Nellybelle; and Roy's dog, Bullet. Their TV theme song, "Happy Trails To You," was written by Dale Evans. - Lee McIntyre (2005)
RED SKELTON: When greeting Red Skelton after identifying the great comedian, Fred Allen comments, "I was waiting for Clem Kadiddlehopper." Country boy Clem was one of Red's many characterizations which were first developed for radio and worked equally well on television. His stable of characters also included Junior the Mean Widdle Kid (who was famous for his expression, "I Dood It"), Sheriff Deadeye, boxer Cauliflower McPugg, drunkard Willy Lump-Lump, and con man San Fernando Red. The only television addition to his repertoire of characters was Freddie the Freeloader, a hobo who never spoke. "The Red Skelton Show" ran on CBS from 1951-1971, and each show began with Skelton performing a monologue based on topical material, followed by a musical interlude. He would then perform in a series of blackout sketches featuring one or more of his characters. The sketches were a mixture of new material and old routines (including his popular "Guzzler's Gin") perfected over the years in vaudeville and in nightclubs. At the end of the program, Skelton would become serious and express his gratitude to his audience for their love and laughter. His signature closing line became "Good night and may God bless." - Lee McIntyre (2005)
REVIEW: On this somewhat "all-star" edition of "What's My Line?," the panel had something that they hadn't had in a long time, a perfect night. Dorothy got things rolling when she correctly guessed that the first contestant managed a ladies' Turkish bath. Next, it was Arlene's turn as she correctly guessed that the first mystery guests of the evening were Roy Rogers and his lovely wife Dale Evans. They were in town to promote the annual rodeo that took place at Madison Square Garden. Fred provided the coup de gras as he correctly figured out that the final mystery guest was Red Skelton, who sounded as if he was trying to imitate John Charles Daly himself. What made it all the more impressive was the fact that Fred did it unassisted, namely, that he made the guess without getting a single no. This definitely was a night to remember. - Sargebri (2005)
OOPS! The studio announcer opened this show by saying, "And now let's meet our award-winning What's My Line? panel, which tonight (long pause) is broadcasting to you." (dead stop and then he immediately starts again) "First, the popular columnist...etc." Probably, he was reading the introductory cue sheet from the previous week that was broadcast in color. He evidently noticed his mistake and immediately stopped. - ymike & Suzanne (2005)
THE LOOK OF THINGS: This episode features new cards for the closing credits. (It is unknown if they were used in the previous lost color episode.) They feature cartoon drawings of people with different occupations, drawn shoulder-to-shoulder along the bottom of the cards. - Suzanne (2005)
ROY DOTY: The artist who drew the "crowd" in the new closing credits was Roy Doty. - stopette (2005)
GINA: When Bennett makes a reference to "Miss Lollapalooza," he is referring to Gina Lollobrigida, who was a mystery guest on the previous episode which is lost to history. - Suzanne (2005)
MYSTERY GUESTS: Roy and Dale discuss their upcoming appearance at the New York City Rodeo. Red Skelton also shows up as a second mystery guest, and ends up trading barbs with panelist Fred Allen. - Jim's TV Collectables (2005)
Tidbits: During the introductions, we learn from Bennett that John plays poker with Dorothy's father, Jim Kilgallen. John states that they are old colleagues. - Suzanne (2005)
Panel: Dorothy Kilgallen, Fred Allen, Arlene Francis, Bennett Cerf.