GOOF: Following the evening's mystery challenger segment, John stated, "Alright, panel. Will you sign in please, sir? We'll see what can do with a final panelist." No doubt he meant to say, "We'll see what we can do with a final contestant." John did not seem to notice his error and nobody commented on it. - agent_0042 (2008)
Wally: (to the final contestant) You're employed, then?
John: I give up! I know when I'm licked! Flip the cards!
Arlene: He has a picture, Wally. It has nothing to do with juvenile delinquency. That's all.
Wally: That's right, that's right.
Arlene: I'll tell you -- and, and he's not, uh, over six feet Wally. And it's not you.
(loud laughter from audience)
Arlene: Are you all right now?
Wally: I wish it were me.
Arlene:(correcting Wally's grammar) It were I, Wally.
(more loud laughter from audience)
Bennett: (during the mystery challenger segment, seeing through the "no audience applause" trick) Is the reason that they played this dirty trick on us that if they hadn't told them not to applaud, there would have been thunderous applause? Is that correct?
FLIP REPORT: John flipped six cards for the first contestant at two down. Bennett had correctly guessed this line, but perhaps John wanted to try his hand at flipping these new cards which featured a new-style Stopette bottle. John flipped all the remaining cards for the second contestant at three down because time was running short. Dorothy had suggested the line of "salesman" during the wild guess segment, but the panel never figured out the product, nor did they seem to figure out exactly what aspect of their wild guesses was correct. Finally, John flipped the remaining cards for the final contestant at three down because time ran out. Both the walk-by and wild guess segments were dispensed with for this final game. - agent_0042 (2008)
(1) "WML?" SPONSOR WATCH: While the panel desk billboard for main sponsor Stopette is still the same, the "Stopette" logo itself appears slightly different than it had been from EPISODE #155 of May 17, 1953 to EPISODE #249 of March 13, 1955.
(2) "WML?" PANEL WATCH: As if an omen of his bizarre behavior on the panel tonight, Wally Cox is attired in a regular business suit and straight tie, hearkening back to the earliest days of the show. And while this proved to be his "WML?" swan song, it wasn't totally the end for Mr. Cox as far as Goodson-Todman went, given his appearances on at least three of their other shows -- "I've Got a Secret," "Password" and the Bill Cullen version of "The Price Is Right" -- in the next decade, prior to his joining the panel lineup of "The Hollywood Squares." Bennett, meanwhile, uses the terms "news moderator and panel moderator" in introducing John.
(3) MYSTERY GUEST TYRONE POWER: In 1953, two years before his only "WML?" appearance tonight, Tyrone Power was a part of the cast of a staging of Stephen Vincent Benet's "John Brown's Body," produced by Paul Gregory and directed by Charles Laughton, and following on the heels of the previous year's "Don Juan in Hell" from the same individuals. Mr. Power's co-stars in this production initially consisted of Raymond Massey and Judith Anderson, and it was that cast that played at the New Century Theatre from February 14, 1953 to April 11, 1953 for a total of 65 performances. Later in the year, as the production went on the road, Dame Anderson was replaced by Anne Baxter. Publicity photos showed the cast attired in the kind of formal wear associated with "WML?": tuxedos for the men, gowns for the women. A recording of this production with the original cast was released as a two-record set on Columbia Masterworks (set SL-181, consisting of ML 4690 and ML 4691) in 1953. The musical director and "effects master" (in the words of Walter Kerr in his February 16, 1953 New York Herald Tribune review) was Walter Schumann, who is perhaps most famous for the "dum-de-dum-dum" theme from the 1952-1959 and 1967-1970 TV cop series "Dragnet." As for Mr. Power's mystery guest spot, which was as bizarre in its own way as Mr. Cox's guest panelist turn this evening, the nameplate which bore his name on the panel moderator's desk was set in the regular Title Gothic Condensed No. 11, while the "last-minute" font was used for the disclaimer, "TO FOOL THE PANEL THE GUEST REQUESTS NO APPLAUSE," that was shown prior to his signing in. As a side note, of his "John Brown's Body" co-stars, only Mr. Massey was a "WML?" mystery guest, appearing along with his co-star on the "Dr. Kildare" TV series, Richard Chamberlain, on EPISODE #624 of July 29, 1962; Dame Anderson made no appearances on "WML?" whatsoever.
(4) "WML?" CREDITS CRUNCH WATCH: This was another rare instance of the end credit sequence accounting for all production crew members after the American Airlines travel arrangements plug; all these subtleties seemed lost on GSN which continued, completely devoid of concern or sympathy, with its "crunching" of the screen during such segment on its July 18, 2008 airing of this episode, as if nothing had ever changed.
(5) Following the July 18, 2008 airing of tonight's show, GSN ran the September 3, 1952 edition of "The Name's the Same," with host Robert Q. Lewis, the panel of Abe Burrows, Joan Alexander and Bill Cullen, and legendary singer and songwriter Johnny Mercer as the celebrity guest. - W-B (2008)
REVIEW: Between Wally Cox's seemingly disinterested behavior and Tyrone Power's request that there be no applause as he walked on stage to sign in, this had to be one of the most surrealistic episodes ever. These oddities seemed to negatively affect the panel, as they batted .500 this particular evening. Bennett correctly guessed that the first contestant was a skunk breeder. This occupation elicited plenty of laughs from the studio audience. In the second game, Wally's strange, slow behavior caused the panel to lose valuable time. As a result, time did run out, so the toothpick salesman won the full prize by default. Tyrone Power added more strangeness to this episode when he requested that the audience not cheer for his entrance. However, his behavior was explained by the fact that he truly wanted to see how sharp the panel was, by seeing how they would perform if there was no audience reaction. Unfortunately, the experiment failed and Arlene correctly guessed his identity. As usual, the panel ran out of time in the final game and the tuxedo renter won the $50 prize by default. And so ended what probably was one the worst - or maybe even one of the strangest - editions of "What's My Line?" - Sargebri (2005)
STRANGE GUEST PANELISTS: Wally Cox's bizarre, unsure guest panelist behavior would be topped 12 years later by Pamela Tiffin in 1967. Miss Tiffin co-starred with Arlene in the 1961 film "One, Two, Three," as well as the Broadway play "Dinner at Eight." Much like the fog Wally was lost in this particular evening, Miss Tiffin also seemed to be lost and disinterested in the game. Her performance got off to a bad start from the very beginning. As she was introducing Bennett, she just stood there for several seconds, seemingly dazed, before she made her introduction. However, unlike Miss Tiffin, Wally would become a fixture on many quiz shows during the 60's and 70's, culminating in his long run as a regular on the original "Hollywood Squares" until his death in 1974. This is Wally's third and final appearance on WML. His first appearance was as a mystery challenger, whereas his second and third appearances were as a guest panelist. - Sargebri (2005)
MORE ON TYRONE POWER: As was mentioned earlier, Power would die in 1958. The tragic circumstances surrounding his death are well chronicled. During filming of a rather strenuous dueling scene with George Sanders, for the 1959 Biblical epic film "Solomon and Sheba," Power suffered a massive heart attack. He was immediately rushed to a nearby hospital in Madrid, Spain, where filming was taking place. Unfortunately, he died before he reached the hospital. After a few weeks, Power was replaced in the film by Yul Brynner, who refilmed all of Power's scenes. Although uncredited in the film, Power can still be seen in long shots. The film was completed a few months later and released on Christmas Day 1959. Also, at the time of his death, Power's wife Debbie Ann Minardos was pregnant with his son, Tyrone Power, IV. Using Tyrone Power, Jr. as his professional name, he would eventually follow into his father's footsteps and become an actor in his own right. - Sargebri (2005)
"POWER" FAILURE: When Tyrone Power walks on stage, an overlay screen reads, "To fool the panel, the guest requests no applause." The gimmick failed. The panel immediately sensed this was why there was no audience applause. After Tyrone's game, John explained that this was Tyrone's idea. The handsome Tyrone Power promoted his 1955 film, "The Long Gray Line." Unfortunately, Tyrone dies of a heart attack at the young age of 45 in 1958. - Suzanne (2005)
Tidbits: Arlene tells us that Dr. Seuss (Theodore Geisel) is in the audience, and that Bennett publishes his books. - Suzanne (2005)
Panel: Dorothy Kilgallen, Wally Cox, Arlene Francis, Bennett Cerf. Fred Allen had the night off.