What's My Line?

Season 6 Episode 20


Aired Daily 12:00 AM Jan 16, 1955 on CBS



  • Trivia

    • GOOF: The announcer makes a slight mistake in Dorothy's introduction, saying, "The popular columnist whose column on Hollywood personalities appears each week - or each month - in 'Motion Picture Magazine,' Miss Dorothy Kilgallen. - Garrison Skunk (2005)

  • Quotes

    • John: I'm going to let you in on a secret that tickles me. Robert Q. Lewis carefully made out a list of everyone who was in town who might be the guest tonight, and right on the top was Esther Williams, but he didn't even think about it! Well, til next week, this is John Daly saying, good night Miss Dorothy.
      Dorothy: Good night, next week bring the right list, will you, Bob?
      Robert Q. Lewis: (tearing up the list) Yeah, good night Arlene...uh, Dorothy...or everybody.

    • (Swanson Chicken was the alternate sponsor with Johnson Wax, and then later, Clorets Breath Mints, on Robert Q.'s show "The Name's the Same")

      Robert Q. Lewis: Well, I know a lot about chickens, I've worked for a chicken sponsor, let me see now...

    • Bennett: (punning about Arlene, who just returned from San Francisco) It's too bad Arlene is sitting down or we'd show you her San Francisco cable scar.

  • Notes

    • FLIP REPORT: John flipped the remaining cards for the second contestant at five down. Arlene had identified that she was a "doctor," but time was running short because John had allotted only three-and-a-half minutes for game play, so the panel wasn't made to fish for the contestant's exact line. John flipped the remaining cards for mystery challenger Esther Williams at three down, but not before Bennett correctly guessed who she was. - agent_0042 (2008)

      (1) "WML?" SPONSOR WATCH: This evening's main sponsor is Stopette.
      (2) ESTHER WILLIAMS - PART I: The popular swimming star of MGM musicals since the 1940's makes the first of a total of four appearances tonight; for this maiden mystery guest spot, Miss Williams' nameplate on the panel moderator's desk is set, as usual, in Title Gothic Condensed No. 11. Esther's next appearance, four days shy of three years from this evening, was on the special West Coast EPISODE #397 of January 12, 1958 on which she made her only guest panelist appearance. Mickey Rooney, with whom Miss Williams had co-starred in 1942's "Andy Hardy's Double Life," likewise appeared on the panel for the only time on that California show. Of the rest of that special panel, Laraine Day had been on in the past on the regular New York shows, and then-first timer Jack Lemmon made a few subsequent panel appearances with the "regular" crew of Dorothy, Arlene and Bennett. Less than a month from tonight's show, on February 11, 1955, Esther was a guest on Edward R. Murrow's "Person to Person," along with New York restaurateur Toots Shor.
      (3) ESTHER WILLIAMS - PART II: Of special note is that one of Miss Williams' more famous films, "Dangerous When Wet" (1953), was parodied by Carol Burnett in an episode of her 1967-1978 variety show as "Slippery When Wet." In this spoof -- one of the few on "The Carol Burnett Show" to have been filmed outdoors instead of videotaped in the studio -- Miss Burnett performed an underwater number in a swimming pool which was covered with plants and seemed to suffer from neglect and lack of maintenance. Carol, of course, was an occasional mystery guest on "WML?" between 1961 and 1966. Also of note, the July 8, 2008 airing of tonight's "WML?" episode fell exactly one month prior to Miss Williams' upcoming 87th birthday on August 8, 2008.
      (4) "WML?" CREDITS CRUNCH WATCH: In the spirit of tonight's aquatic mystery guest, GSN took a nose-dive and came out all wet (but utterly failed to make a splash) with its continuing proclivity for "crunching" the end credits on its July 8, 2008 airing of this episode.
      (5) ANOTHER DOUBLE-DOSE OF "WML?'S" PANEL MODERATOR (FIVE MORE EXTANT "IGAS" SHOWS TO GO): Following the July 8, 2008 airing of tonight's show, GSN repeated the February 6, 1967 edition of "I've Got a Secret," hosted by Steve Allen and featuring the panel regulars Betsy Palmer, Bill Cullen, Bess Myerson and Henry Morgan. The celebrity guest was "WML?'s" own John Daly (as he introduced himself at the opening), and once again he quizzed the panel on vintage newspaper headlines. It should be mentioned that on the opening titles following Mr. Daly's entrance, there appeared to be an "off" arrangement of the theme music prior to announcer John Cannon leading off with his "From New York, here is..." intro. This editing was most likely attributable to GSN, as the way it was cut was not on the kinescope film, and hints to the original opening sponsor of this "IGAS" episode being a cigarette brand (in all probability, Tempo cigarettes), in the context of the cable and satellite channel's self-styled prohibition on vintage cigarette advertising. - W-B (2008)

    • John mentions Robert Q. Lewis making a list of potential mystery guests of people in NYC. According to Gil Fates in his 1978 WML? book, Bennett's weekly use of this same practice lead to a change in the mystery guest round rules with just one question per panelist, correct or not. - Garrison Skunk (2005)

      REVIEW: This was a rather poor night for the panel. In the first round they were completely stumped and with good reason. Who in their right mind would have thought anyone would have made eyeglasses for chickens? Fortunately, in the second game, Robert Q. was credited with the correct guess when he figured out that the lovely lady from Italy was a medical doctor. However, even though he did get credit for the a correct guess, he failed to mention that she was an anesthesiologist at Bellevue. This may have been the reason John flipped all the cards after Q-sie's guess. The beautiful Esther Williams showed off her singing talents as she answered the panel. She pretty much had them on the run for most of her game. They were running low on time when Bennett made the last-second correct guess. And so, once again, even though the panel provided a lackluster performance, it was nevertheless a fun night. - Sargebri (2005)

      TNTS: Prior to the February 2005 airing of this WML episode, GSN showed "The Name's the Same" hosted by Robert Q. Lewis. It was an interesting episode because it was the final episode of TNTS to be hosted by Q-sie. The show went on hiatus for two or three months, and when it came back in the fall of 1954, Lewis had been replaced by Dennis James. The new sponsor was Ralston Purina. Later, TNTS was hosted by the comic duo of Bob Elliott and Ray Goulding (aka Bob and Ray). Unfortunately, the show was cancelled a few months later in 1955. - Sargebri (2005)

      HUSBANDS: Ironically, three months before Esther appeared on the show, her future husband Fernando Lamas also appeared on What's My Line? At the time of this appearance, Esther was married to Ben Gage, her husband from 1945 to 1959. Esther and Fernando were married from 1969 until his death in 1982. - Sargebri (2005)

    • Esther Williams promoted her 1955 film "Jupiter's Darling." She stated that it is a musical version of "The Road to Rome," which is a play written by Robert E. Sherwood. - Suzanne (2005)

      Mystery Guest Esther Williams (b. 1922) was a swimming sensation from her youth, and in 1940 was discovered by legendary showman Billy Rose and cast opposite Olympian and screen star Johnny Weissmuller (1904-1984) in his San Francisco Aquacade review. In tonight's round, Arlene asks if she was a star from the very beginning of her motion picture career, and her affirmative answer is indeed accurate. MGM officials saw her in the Aquacade and offered her a screen test paired with none other than Clark Gable (1901-1960). Gable liked her, the studio liked her, and she made her film debut opposite Mickey Rooney (b. 1920) in "Andy Hardy's Double Life" in 1942. Midway through filming 1944's "Mr. Coed" with Red Skelton, MGM changed the name of the movie to "Bathing Beauty," Hollywood's first swimming movie, and made Esther Williams the star, demoting Skelton to supporting lead. Esther Williams' life to date has included the roles of athlete, movie star, mother, businesswoman, and spokesperson for various causes. But the one thing that binds it all together, the one thing that keeps her going, she says, is her connection to water and to swimming. "I think the joy that showed through in my swimming movies comes from my lifelong love of the water," she explained in 1994. "No matter what I was doing, the best I felt all day was when I was swimming." Esther Williams, as of February 22, 2005, is 82 years old. Her movie memorabilia are still widely offered on Internet auction sites. - Lee McIntyre (2005)

    • Tidbits: It was announced that this week, WML won the 1954 "Radio & Television Daily" award as the "Quiz Show of the Year." The 1954 award certificate was shown on the screen. Arlene Francis is back from her trip to San Francisco, California. Decades later, that "City by the Bay" will become her home. - Suzanne (2005)

      Panel: Dorothy Kilgallen, Robert Q. Lewis, Arlene Francis, Bennett Cerf.

  • Allusions

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