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)