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What's My Line?

Season 6 Episode 26


Aired Daily 12:00 AM Feb 27, 1955 on CBS
out of 10
User Rating
4 votes

By TV.com Users

Episode Summary

Game 1: Miss Dorothy Schoech - "Designs Bridges" (salaried; she works for the Missouri State Highway Commission; she donated her winnings to the Cerebral Palsy Association in care of Mrs. Doris A. Baxter; from Columbia, MO)

Game 2: Norman Ebinger - "Social Director in Resort For Honeymooners" (salaried; he works at the Honeymoon Haven Resort; from Dingmans Ferry, PA; see notes below)

Game 3: Portland Hoffa (1/25/1905 - 12/26/1990) (as Mystery Guest) The overlay screen read "Mrs. Fred Allen"

Game 4: Mrs. Mabel Doerfler - "Jail Matron" (salaried; from Joliet, IL)

Who was the Episode MVP ?

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    John Daly

    John Daly

    Moderator (1950-1967)

    Arlene Francis

    Arlene Francis

    Regular Panelist (1950-1967)

    Dorothy Kilgallen

    Dorothy Kilgallen

    Regular Panelist (1950-1965)

    Fred Allen

    Fred Allen

    Regular Panelist (1955-1956)

    Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


    • TRIVIA (0)

    • QUOTES (0)

    • NOTES (5)

      • FLIP REPORT: The panel may have struck out for the evening in trying to guess the lines of the regular contestants, but host John Daly was no doubt having a ball when it came to flipping five dollar cards to signify games that the panel had lost due to time. He happily flipped the cards for the first contestant, who had requested that her winnings be donated to the Cerebral Palsy Association, at eight down. He flipped them for the second contestant at seven down. The panel had not come close on either game. They never had much of a chance with the final game, in which John flipped the remaining cards at four down. Both the panel walk-by and free wild guess segments had been dispensed with for this final game, which John gave the panel only two minutes to play. - agent_0042 (2008)

      • (1) "WML?" SPONSOR WATCH: Tonight, Stopette is the main sponsor.
        (2) REGINALD GARDINER: This evening, debonair actor and guest panelist Reginald Gardiner made what turned out to be his only "WML?" appearance. Within a few weeks of this episode, on March 2, 1955, Mr. Gardiner appeared as "The Critic" in a production of "The Best of Broadway" called "The Guardsman." In 1966, he played "Uncle Ned Pruitt" in the short-lived "The Pruitts of Southampton" which would later be rated as among "The Worst TV Shows Ever" in the book of the same name, but he was hardly the only person connected with that program to be on "WML?"; Gypsy Rose Lee, who gained eternal infamy by her snide introduction of Bennett Cerf on EPISODE #854 of March 19, 1967, had played nosy neighbor "Regina Wentworth" on "Pruitts." And of course, that show's star, Phyllis Diller herself, was a mystery guest twice, in 1963 and again in 1964.
        (3) FRED ALLEN QUIP WATCH: In his introduction of Arlene tonight, Fred mentioned General Electric's then-new synthetic diamond and claimed Miss Francis couldn't wait to get her hands on their "40-watt ring." Then, as now, GE, which was founded by Thomas Edison, was known for their light bulbs. It should also be noted that the company was a competitor to RCA in the manufacture of equipment for the broadcast industry for many years. One of GE's black-and-white TV cameras was positioned in the Dallas, Texas courthouse on November 24, 1963 when, and where, Jack Ruby shot and killed President John F. Kennedy's assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald. With the explosion of color television in the mid-1960's, GE introduced a four-tube (red, green, blue and luminance) Plumbicon color camera, the PE-250, which was used in some of ABC's studios, as well as by numerous TV stations across the country. Subsequent color cameras made by GE included the PE-350 and PE-400. In addition, the company manufactured 3V (three-vidicon) and 4V (four-vidicon) color cameras for use in film and slide chains by TV stations, most notably CBS-owned outlets which were determined to bypass RCA-made equipment (RCA's film/slide color cameras included the TK-26 and TK-27). By the late 1970's, GE had sold its broadcast equipment division to the Harris Corporation, which also owned Intertype (a competitor to Linotype).
        (4) MYSTERY GUEST PORTLAND HOFFA: Tonight was also the only time Fred Allen's wife and longtime performing partner, Portland Hoffa, appeared on "WML?" When she signed in, there was an upper-third "MRS. FRED ALLEN" overlay, set in the "last-minute" type, while the bigger-in-height nameplate was in use on the panel moderator's desk, reading "PORTLAND HOFFA" on the top and "MRS. FRED ALLEN" on the bottom, both lines set in the regular Title Gothic Condensed No. 11 font.
        (5) "WML?" CREDITS CRUNCH WATCH: This time, the "WML?" closing credits only went so far as director Franklin Heller's art card before being cut off, after the plug for American Airlines. Given that the July 14, 2008 airing of this episode fell on Bastille Day, GSN's persistent "crunching" of the screen during that sequence was reminiscent, in their attitude towards their viewing audience, of French queen Marie Antoinette's "Let them eat cake" canard.
        (6) Immediately subsequent to the July 14, 2008 airing of tonight's show, GSN ran the earliest existing episode of the 1951-1955 ABC-TV series "The Name's the Same," which was originally broadcast on August 6, 1952. The host, as was the case up to 1954, was Robert Q. Lewis, the panel on this occasion consisted of Abe Burrows, Joan Alexander and Bill Cullen, and the celebrity guest was Barry Fitzgerald. It should be noted that while the panel lineup changed continuously throughout "TNTS's" nearly four-year run, only one panelist was constant: Joan Alexander, who was with the show from the beginning, in the wake of her lone "WML?" guest panelist appearance on the now-lost EPISODE #65 of August 26, 1951; Miss Alexander remained with "TNTS" to the very end in 1955. It was also around this time, in 1952, that Mr. Cullen first joined the panel of a then-new show called "I've Got a Secret" on "another network" (aka CBS), whose last episode of April 3, 1967 was aired by GSN the day before the cable and satellite channel repeated this "TNTS" edition. - W-B (2008)

      • BAD PUN ALERT: This episode has a classic awful pun that was said by John during Porty's mystery guest spot. Since she was answering partly with a bell, he said she had a "voice like a Bell(e)," "that line comes right out of Cyrano!" (DeBergerac) Yeowch! - stopette (2005)

        FIRST DIAMOND SYNTHESIS: On this episode, Fred referred to General Electric making diamonds. GE had announced on February 15, 1955 that they had produced a synthetic diamond made of pressurized graphite. This was of industrial quality only, but won fame for the GE labratory research team that invented it; Francis Bundy; Robert Henry Wentorf, Jr; Tracy Hall and Herbert Strong. Well, they were in the news at that moment in history. - stopette (2005)

        REVIEW: This is another one of those nights the panel probably would have loved to have forgotten. In the first game, they were totally stumped by the female bridge designer. Of course, this was at a time when the number of female engineers could probably be counted on one hand. After the game, she requested that her winnings be donated to United Cerebral Palsy. The panel was also stumped by the social director for honeymooners. However, they redeemed themselves when Arlene correctly guessed that the mystery guest was Fred's lovely wife Portland Hoffa. In lieu of using her voice, she used a bell to answer in the affirmative, due to the fact that she felt that her voice would be very recognizable to the panel, especially her loving husband Fred. She did disguise her voice to say a few "no" answers. Unfortunately, the panel reverted to form and were totally stumped by the jail matron. This definitely was a night the panel should have stayed in. - Sargebri (2005)

        In a touch of irony, GSN aired this episode on February 28, 2005, almost 50 years to the day that it originally aired on CBS. - Sargebri (2005)

        Portland Hoffa is "Mrs. Fred Allen." They were married from 1928 until Fred's March 1956 death. She displayed a lovely demeanor tonight, full of smiles. It was not Fred who guessed who the mystery guest was, it was Arlene. The camera zoomed in on Fred as Arlene was making her identification. When it dawned on Fred that it might be Portland, he smiled the sweetest smile! He later jokingly said that you can't trust anybody these days! Portland stated that she and Fred usually walk home from WML. Fred quipped that with her game winnings, they could take a taxi tonight! - Suzanne (2005)

        HONEYMOON HAVEN RESORT: The former site of the Honeymoon Haven Resort, located off Route 209 south of Dingmans Falls, Pennsylvania, has been the home of the Pocono Environmental Education Center (PEEC) since 1972. The 52 rustic cabins with their heart-shaped tubs are now the property of the National Park Service. - Suzanne (2005)

      • John welcomed the new CBS affiliate, Channel 19 WXIX in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Notice the Roman numeral nineteen "XIX" in the call letters. - Suzanne (2005)

        As WXIX was a UHF station, and very few TV stations in the 1950's could get UHF channels, CBS in 1959 switched the network affiliation for the Milwaukee area to a VHF station, WITI Channel 6, on April 1 of that year. However, in 1961 WITI swapped network affiliations with WISN, Channel 12, which had been an ABC affiliate up to that point, then swapped back in 1977. WISN remains an ABC affiliate to this day, but WITI switched affiliations to Fox in 1994, after which WDJT, Channel 58, became the CBS affiliate. As for WXIX, it was off the air for three months in 1959, then returned to the air in July of that year on Channel 18, changed its call letters to WUHF in 1963, and then again to its current calls of WVTV in 1966. The station had secondary affiliations with all three networks for several years beginning in 1960. Today it is the affiliate of the "CW" television network. The WXIX calls now reside with a Fox-affiliated television station, Channel 19, in Cincinnati, Ohio (licensed to Newport, Kentucky), which went on the air in 1968 and was known by these call letters since 1971. It is of no relation to the WXIX that John Daly referred to in his CBS affiliate's welcome on tonight's show. - W-B (2007)

      • Tidbits: Reginald Gardiner will be appearing Wednesday night on CBS television in the 1954-1955 series "The Best of Broadway." He will play the role of "The Critic" in the episode "The Guardsman" on March 2, 1955. Also, it just so happens that today is his 52nd birthday! Unlike last week, no songs were sung, though! - Suzanne (2005)

        Reginald Gardiner (2/27/1903 - 7/7/1980)

        Panel: Dorothy Kilgallen, Fred Allen, Arlene Francis, Reginald Gardiner. Bennett Cerf has the night off, he is vacationing in Hawaii.

    • ALLUSIONS (0)