What's My Line?

Season 6 Episode 33

EPISODE #254

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Aired Daily 12:00 AM Apr 17, 1955 on CBS
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EPISODE #254
AIRED:

NEW GAME RULES: MYSTERY GUEST QUESTIONING FORMAT CHANGE

NEW GAME RULES: NO FREE GUESS (BUT THE PANEL WALK-BY REMAINS)

Game 1: Mrs. V. Sedlmayr (Victoria Sedlmayr, her friends call her Vic, her professional name is Victoria Zacchini)(10/3/1914 - 12/1/1991) - "Human Cannon Ball" (self-employed; she is a member of the Flying Zacchinis; Arlene previously met her two brothers on the TV series Soldier Parade; from Tampa, FL; see notes below)

Game 2: Lt. Dean Axene (8/1/1923 - 12/19/2008) - "Executive Officer of Atomic Submarine (U.S.S. Nautilus)" (salaried; from Columbus, OH)

Game 3: Barbara Ann Scott (5/9/1928 - 9/30/2012) (as Mystery Guest) An overlay screen read "Famous Ice Skating Star"

Game 4: Miss Jean Little - "Makes False Eyelashes" (salaried; from Westbury, NY)
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SUBMIT REVIEW
    John Daly

    John Daly

    Moderator (1950-1967)

    Arlene Francis

    Arlene Francis

    Regular Panelist (1950-1967)

    Bennett Cerf

    Bennett Cerf

    Regular Panelist (1951-1967)

    Dorothy Kilgallen

    Dorothy Kilgallen

    Regular Panelist (1950-1965)

    Fred Allen

    Fred Allen

    Regular Panelist (1955-1956)

    Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions

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    • TRIVIA (0)

    • QUOTES (2)

      • John: It might be noted, for the record, that this all began with my saying that we had some occupations that would make it painful for the panel. I withdraw the statement.

      • John: Panel, as you know, in the case of our mystery challenger, we get right down to the general questioning, but we have something new and novel for you tonight because it's spring. We're going to change the rules of the game, just to see if we can't confuse you thoroughly. Tonight, we're going to play an entirely different way -- each panelist gets only one question at a time. Ten "no" answers and you still will have lost the game -- but you will only answer one question at a time. And beginning clockwise, let's see how we make out, with Bennett Cerf starting off.

    • NOTES (5)

      • BREADBOX WATCH: Since Steve Allen's departure as a regular panelist, the panel has seemed somewhat reluctant to use his trademark "breadbox" question. The question was finally heard again in this episode when Bennett Cerf asked the final contestant if her product was "larger than a breadbox." - agent_0042 (2008)

        FLIP REPORT: John flipped the remaining cards for the first contestant at just one down. Arlene seemed to have a "weenie" (to use Dorothy's word) about this contestant, whose brothers had appeared on Arlene's television show. However, to keep things honest, Arlene made it clear that the brothers never mentioned to her that they had a sister. - agent_0042 (2008)

      • (1) "WML?" SPONSOR WATCH: For this episode, which was one of several "turning points" over the course of the show's 17.5-year CBS run, the main sponsor is Remington electric shavers.
        (2) While the "wild/free guesses" have been dispensed with, the regular contestants at this point are still doing "panel walk-bys" prior to the start of their game. It will be a matter of time before their greeting of the panelists will come at the end of their game, in the manner of the mystery celebrities' exits.
        (3) MYSTERY GUEST NAMEPLATE AND OVERLAY FONT WATCH: The upper-third overlay screen reading "Famous Ice Skating Star," as used for mystery guest Barbara Ann Scott during her "sign-in," was professionally set in the then-customary overlay font of Kabel Heavy, as opposed to the then-usual practice of utilizing a font generally used for "last-minute" overlays. Her nameplate, meanwhile, was set in the usual Title Gothic Condensed No. 11, though her name all but filled up each end of said plaque. This was Miss Scott's only "WML?" appearance.
        (4) "WML?" CREDITS CRUNCH WATCH: Once again, largely due to the travel arrangements plug for American Airlines, the end credits cut off after the art card slide for production crew members Bob Bach and Frances Trocaine. To no one's surprise, all this was "crunched" in the same mind-numbing manner by GSN on its July 21, 2008 airing of this episode.
        (5) Immediately after the July 21, 2008 airing of tonight's show, GSN repeated the September 24, 1952 edition of "The Name's the Same," with host Robert Q. Lewis, the panel of Abe Burrows, Joan Alexander and Meredith Willson, and celebrity guest Corinne Calvet. - W-B (2008)

      • SPECIAL MENTION - FATES' LAW: This 1970 WML "law" was never instituted for the classic CBS WML, but it was instituted for the syndicated WML. This special rule applied during the mystery guest segment and was named for the long-time WML executive producer, Gil Fates. The syndicated rule stated that if one of the panel members made a specific guess at the mystery guest's name, and was wrong, then that panelist was disqualified for the rest of the game and was required to unmask. Fates' Law was used to prevent Soupy Sales from identifying the guest too quickly, since he was very adept at doing so. Gil Fates wrote about "Fates' Law" in his 1978 WML book, the hardbound version, on pages 171 & 172. - Suzanne (2005)

        MORE ABOUT Victoria Zacchini from Fetch Free Reports: Few Circus events require the daring and poise of the stunt which has come to be known as "The Human Cannonball." This act employs lots of phony noise and smoke, and then jets a human being into space from the mouth of a cannon. Despite the hoopla, the successful completion of this act depends on exact coordination between the person who is being shot, the huge spring that catapults him, and the assistants in charge of the mechanism. The "cannonball" must maintain his poise while traveling through the air and he travels faster than a speeding automobile. He is supposed to land in a net some distance away, but if the propulsion is weak or there is some other flaw, he can fall short of that distance with disastrous results. Over 30 human "bullets" have died during the 20th century. During April of 1943, in New York's Polo Grounds, Victoria Zacchini was shot from the barrel of the 22-foot silver cannon at a speed of well over 100 miles an hour. The 110 pound human projectile climbed to a height of over 100 feet and then fell safely into a net 200 feet away - a record shot! - Suzanne (2005)

        EPISODE #773 of July 18, 1965 featured another member of the Flying Zacchini Family, Nancy Zacchini, who was also known as Nancy Moses. Later, she was known as Nancy Hart. See that episode guide for more notes. - Suzanne (2006)

      • REVIEW: Despite the new rules, the panel achieved something they hadn't achieved in a long time, a perfect night. Arlene got things rolling when she correctly guessed that Mrs. Sedlmayr was part of the Zacchini family of human cannon balls. After the game, Arlene mentioned that Mrs. Sedlmayr's two brothers had previoulsy been on her TV show, but they never told her that they had a sister. Also, John, feeling sorry that she only won $5, flipped over all the cards and gave her the full amount anyway. In the second game, Bennett correctly figured out that Mr. Axene was actually Lt. Axene of the USS Nautilus, the world's first nuclear submarine, which had just finished its testing a short time earlier. In the mystery guest round, the panel had a little trouble adjusting to the new "one question only" rule, but Fred was able to correctly identify figure skating star Barbara Ann Scott, who was absolutely cute with little Pierre. The perfecto was completed when Bennett, after Dorothy blew the doors right off the hinges, figured out that the final contestant made false eyelashes. And so ended a grand night in the history of What's My Line? - Sargebri (2005)

        "CANADA'S SWEETHEART" Barbara Ann Scott: Born in 1928, a native of Ottawa, Canada, Barbara Ann Scott won the gold medal in women's figure skating at the 1948 Winter Olympics in St. Moritz, Switzerland. An honor to be sure, but what made it all the more spectacular was that she achieved it in the poorest of conditions. The night before she competed, the Canadian hockey team defeated the then Czechoslovakian team on the very same ice. This left the outdoor rink in poor condition, so it was decided to flood it in hopes of improving the surface of the ice. Unfortunately, the ice became slushy and difficult to compete on. Also, just as she started her routine, the music stopped. She then had to wait as they fixed the problem. She then restarted and as she was about to do a difficult jump, a plane passed overhead and cast a shadow on the rink, causing her to almost lose her rhythm. Fortunately, she was able to complete the jump and from there it was smooth sailing as she became the first non-European to win an Olympic gold in women's figure skating, duplicating the feat when she became the first non-European woman to win the world championship the previous year. Also, in an almost humorous incident, Barbara almost didn't make it to St. Moritz. After her world championship win, a local car dealer in her hometown of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada presented her with a car. Unfortunately, this was against amateur rules so she was forced to return the car or she would be deemed a professional. A few months after her appearance on WML, in September 1955, she married publicity agent Thomas Van Dyke King, a United States citizen, and moved to Chicago, Illinois. She was inducted into Canada's Olympic Hall of Fame in 1955 and became an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1991. - Sargebri (2005)

        ICE SKATER BARBARA ANN SCOTT brought a canine companion, her cute miniature-breed French poodle named Pierre! She carried him in, and he sat in her lap during her game. Pierre was a light color, either white or apricot. His coat was groomed in the typical "poodle clip" and wore a rhinestone collar. He was very well behaved. We were informed that his toenails were painted red. He is also part of Barbara's ice skating act! - Suzanne (2005)

      • NEW GAME RULES: MYSTERY GUEST QUESTIONING - This is the first episode where the panelists rotate questioning of the mystery guest after only one question each, whether they receive a "yes" or "no" answer. Previously, the panelists rotated after a "no" from the mystery guest. John Daly will now tell the panel to ask, "One question, in turn, rotating clockwise." Before the mystery guest round tonight, John explained the new rules to the panel. For more detail, see the notes to the previous episode. - Suzanne (2005)

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        NEW GAME RULES: NO FREE GUESS - This is the first episode with no panelist "Free Guess" or "Wild Guess" at the contestant's occupation before the start of game play. John does not specifically state that this segment has been discontinued permanently. The producers may have been "testing the waters" to gauge public opinion. As he has done in the past, he simply states that this part of the game is being skipped tonight. For more detail, see the notes to the previous episode. - Suzanne (2005)

        Tidbits: The announcer stated that Dorothy's articles on Hollywood personalities are seen each month in Motion Picture magazine. - Suzanne (2005)

        Panel: Dorothy Kilgallen, Fred Allen, Arlene Francis, Bennett Cerf.

    • ALLUSIONS (0)

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