What's My Line?

Season 6 Episode 41


Aired Daily 12:00 AM Jun 12, 1955 on CBS



  • Trivia

  • Quotes

  • Notes

    • FLIP REPORT: John flipped the remaining cards for the first contestant at eight down because time was running short. The panel was generally stumped as to this contestant's line, figuring out only that she was involved with entertainment. John flipped the remaining cards for the second contestant at six down, again due to a shortage of time. There was some objection by the panel following the game, as they felt they had been misled when it was said the contestant was not involved in detecting. Finally, John flipped the remaining cards for the final contestant at four down because time ran out. The panel had not come anywhere near this contestant's product. They had very little time for this final game, in which John dispensed with the opening walk-by, as has been the regular practice on these short final games for a fair while now. - agent_0042 (2008)

    • (1) "WML?" SPONSOR WATCH: The main sponsor this evening is Remington electric shavers.
      (2) FRED ALLEN QUIP WATCH: In his introduction of Arlene, he asserted that she told him the weather outside was so foggy that she saw Superman walking through midtown Manhattan.
      (3) "WML?" OVERLAY FONT WATCH: For the first contestant Mrs. Ella Carver, her overlay of "High Diver - Dives 90 Ft. Into Flaming Pool" was set in the customary "last-minute" font; the other two regular contestants had their overlays set in Kabel Heavy. In the case of the last contestant for this evening, Owen Deane, Mr. Daly removed the nameplate for mystery guest Tom Ewell after Mr. Deane's occupation was shown on the screen.
      (4) MYSTERY GUEST TOM EWELL: The veteran film, stage and TV actor made his only "WML?" appearance tonight, for which his nameplate on the panel moderator's desk appears to be set in two different typefaces -- Title Gothic Condensed No. 11 for his first name and Franklin Gothic Extra Condensed for his last name. In 1960, Mr. Ewell co-starred with future "To Tell the Truth" panelist Peggy Cass, former "Phil Silvers Show" (aka "Sergeant Bilko") co-star Paul Ford, John McGiver and future "Bewitched" co-star Alice Ghostley on Broadway in "A Thurber Carnival," based on the works of James Thurber and directed by Burgess Meredith. It played at the ANTA Theatre (now the Neil Simon Theatre) from February 26, 1960 to November 26, 1960, for a total of 223 performances. The original cast album was released on Columbia Masterworks (KOL 5500/KOS 2024); in that production, there were two "Word Dances" that in their structure anticipated the "cocktail party" segments of the 1968-1973 TV series "Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In." Of the above individuals involved in "A Thurber Carnival," only Mr. McGiver and Miss Ghostley never made any kind of appearances on "WML?" at any time in its 17.5-year run on CBS, although Mr. McGiver was a mystery guest on the syndicated "WML?" in 1969.
      (5) "WML?" CREDITS CRUNCH WATCH: A new graphic for American Airlines is unveiled for tonight's show during the travel arrangements plug in the end credits, which cut off after the art card for executive producer Gil Fates. GSN showed the airline art card in full screen for a brief period on their July 29, 2008 airing of this episode, before indulging in their usual pathetic procedure of "crunching" the end credits.
      (6) A BLAST FROM "WML?'S" PAST ON "TNTS": Following the July 29, 2008 airing of tonight's show, GSN ran the December 2, 1952 edition of "The Name's the Same," hosted by Robert Q. Lewis, with the panel here assembled as then-"WML?" regular Hal Block, Joan Alexander and Meredith Willson, and Nelson Eddy as the celebrity guest. It was the second time Miss Alexander and Mr. Block sat on a panel together; the first time was on the now-lost "WML?" EPISODE #65 of August 26, 1951, on which Miss Alexander made what proved to be her only "WML?" appearance. This 1952 "TNTS" episode marked the unveiling of a new logo and opening title sequence for "TNTS," with the title now set in a custom-made bold serif font rather than Dom Casual, and the end credits now set in Cheltenham Bold Condensed; as well as a change in design to the set background and a new sponsor, Johnson's Wax, coming on board. It was also the first episode to be directed by Herbert Hirschman, who would later be the producer of the first few hour-long episodes of the 1963 season of "Twilight Zone"; Mr. Hirschman succeeded previous "TNTS" director Jerome Schnur, who would return to the show for its last months in 1955. - W-B (2008)

    • DID WE ALMOST SEE JOHN TUG HIS EAR? Several references have been made to the fact that if the panel seems to be moving toward the risqué, John would surreptitiously tug his ear as a signal for the offending panel member to rein it in. It has been commented that John has been clever and savvy enough to never be caught on camera tugging his ear, although recently on EPISODE #258 of May 15, 1955, when a suggestive comment was made, Bennett said, "John's going to start pulling his ear in a minute."

      Well, tonight, we may have come as close as we ever will to seeing John tug his ear. The professional wire tapper contestant, Bernard Spindel, is known to the panel by his initials, B.B.S. Several references have been made to "Mr. S.," and early in the game, Bennett makes a pun, "If I am correct, answer 'S' [yes]."

      A few minutes later, as the panel experiences difficulty, Fred Allen makes another "S" joke when he says, "I may make an 'S' [ass] of myself." The camera lingers on Fred for a moment, then we have a reaction shot of the entire panel, laughing, then we cut to John, who is also laughing. But, the cut to John comes just as he is bringing his right hand down from the area of his right ear. We don't actually see him touching his ear, but only retreating from it.

      Was John tugging his ear at Fred for his "make an ass of myself" comment? Or did he merely have his hands in the air in amused reaction to Fred's comment? We'll never know.

      (In reality, there was nothing untoward about Fred's comment. While the word "ass" has several meanings, many of them vulgar, one of its innocent meanings is "a dull, stupid person." In that context, Fred was fine, even by prudish 1950s TV standards.) - Lee McIntyre (2005)

      REVIEW: Though not as bad as last week, the panel put in another dismal performance in the "win department." In the first game, they were totally stumped by the first contestant. However, it must have been - and still is in 2005 - very difficult to believe that the sweet, petite, gray-haired, missing-toothed grandma dove 90 feet, while on fire, into a small pool of water that also was on fire. In the second game, Mr. Spindel signed in using just his initials due to the fact that his name might be recognized because it had appeared in the newspapers. The trick worked, as the panel was totally stumped. However, John may have inadvertently helped him win unfairly when Spindel answered "no" when asked if his work involved detection. There was some post-game discussion about this question, as the panel felt the answer had been misleading. The only bright "win" spot of the night came when the panel correctly identified Tom Ewell, who promoted the classic sex farce "The Seven Year Itch," in which he co-starred with Marilyn Monroe. This film featured one of the iconic scenes in film history; that of Marilyn Monroe standing above the subway grate as the breeze from the train below blows her skirt billowing up while Monroe coos, "Isn't it delicious?" Unfortunately, the panel was jolted back to reality when they failed to guess the occupation of the final contestant in the allotted time, so the pram (baby carriage) maker won the full prize by default. - Sargebri (2005)

    • On August 2, 1992, The Minneapolis Star Tribune reprinted some historical facts about shopping malls, to celebrate the opening of the Mall of America the next week. Their entry for 1947: "Shopping center promotional extravaganzas abound. Groundbreaking festivities for Town and Country Shopping Center in Columbus, Ohio include a death-defying high dive into a burning pool by Grandma Ella Carver." - Suzanne (2005)

      Paraphrased from the net: "Constant promotions were considered essential to the success of the early shopping centers, such as Town & Country Shopping Center which opened in 1949 in suburban Whitehall, Ohio, east of Columbus. Shows and activities to entertain children, such as Grandma Carver, a high-dive artist who would plummet more than 100 feet into a 5' water tank topped with flaming oil, also served as ways to persuade parents and grandparents to visit the centers." - Suzanne (2005)

    • Tom Ewell takes his seat next to John and opens a French phrase book titled "Getting Around In French." He then answers his questions in French. He promoted his 1955 film, "The Seven Year Itch," which is playing in a theatre on Broadway. Bennett asks about Tom's sexy co-star Marilyn Monroe. Following the game, during Mr. Ewell's exit, he gave the French phrase book to Fred Allen. At the end of the program, the French book prompted Dorothy, Fred and Arlene to say their good nights in French. Bennett spoke his own goodbye in English. - Suzanne (2005)

      Tidbits: Arlene will be visiting Portland, Oregon and Seattle, Washington, and will be absent next week. - Suzanne (2005)

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

  • Allusions