What's My Line?

Season 6 Episode 49


Aired Daily 12:00 AM Aug 07, 1955 on CBS
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Episode Summary

Game 1: Miss Jane Iden - "Sets Pins in Bowling Alley" (salaried; from Hollywood, CA)

Game 2: Jimmie Mitchell (11/27/1927 - 11/10/1979) - "Trains Elephants" (salaried; from Pomona, CA; this is not actually his real full name, but rather, his first and middle names; this contestant was arrested by the police on August 8, 1955 after having been recognized as a car thief by a television viewer who alerted the WML? production staff; see notes below)

Game 3: Burl Ives (6/14/1909 - 4/14/1995) (as Mystery Guest)

Game 4: Mr. Colin Bloor - "Paints White Lines on Highways" (salaried; he is a student and this is his summer occupation; he works for Erie County, Ohio; very sweet personality; he donated his winnings to the Heart Fund; from Sandusky, OH; see notes below)

Who was the Episode MVP ?

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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


  • TRIVIA (0)

  • QUOTES (0)

  • NOTES (5)

    • IN REMEMBRANCE: On Friday, August 5, 1955, Carmen Miranda died. She had been a mystery guest on the now lost EPISODE #77 of November 18, 1951. - cerfnet (2009)

    • FLIP REPORT: John flipped the remaining cards for the second contestant at five down, on a technicality. The panel had correctly guessed his stated line, but John felt there had been a bit of a hint from the audience and that the contestant deserved the full prize. (The contestant, of course, actually deserved nothing, seeing as he was a car thief who was on the lam.) John flipped the remaining cards for the final contestant six down because time ran short. This contestant donated his full prize to the Heart Fund. As was the custom for these brief final games at this point, John dispensed with the opening panel walk-by to save time - agent_0042 (2008)

    • (1) "WML?" SPONSOR AND ANNOUNCER WATCH: The advertisement displayed on the panel desk has been modified once more, to read "Remington Rand Univac" as the main sponsor. On this evening's edition, the announcer is Hal Simms; with this show, the introduction for Dorothy is shortened to "The popular Broadway columnist whose 'Voice of Broadway' appears in papers from coast to coast." It is not known if he or previous regular "WML?" announcer Lee Vines was at the microphone for the previous EPISODE #269 which was likely sponsored by Stopette -- and definitely lost to history -- but Mr. Vines was last heard up to this point on EPISODE #268.
      (2) FRED ALLEN QUIP WATCH: There was a bit of unintentional sad irony to Fred's introduction of Arlene as having been robbed of all her jewelry and other possessions except the air conditioner, because in 1988, while walking along Lexington Avenue in Manhattan, Miss Francis had her famous and iconic heart-shaped pendant snatched from her neck by a thief. It should be noted that Mr. Allen was wearing glasses tonight, and Miss Francis sported a different hairdo than that which she had been wearing within the last two or so years.
      (3) MYSTERY GUEST BURL IVES: Tonight was the first of two appearances on the program by singer/actor Burl Ives; his next appearance will be on EPISODE #450 of February 1, 1959, which was the last episode to bear the curtain background which will take effect on EPISODE #273. In 1955, Mr. Ives had made his first film in five years when he played "Sam the Sheriff" in the James Dean picture "East of Eden." Besides his string of character movie roles, his narration of the 1964 stop-motion animation special "Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer" and his title role in the short-lived 1965-1966 TV series "O.K. Crackerby!" (which was listed among "The Worst TV Shows Ever" in the 1980 book of the same name), Mr. Ives had a long recording career, mainly shuttling back and forth between Decca and Columbia. On Decca, among his recordings included "Rodger Young" (aka "The Ballad of Rodger Young"; Decca 23405, 1945), a real-life tale of a sergeant who willingly had himself demoted to private in World War II after his eyesight and hearing began to deteriorate, and who later made the ultimate sacrifice for his country; the song was written by Frank Loesser of "Guys and Dolls" and "The Most Happy Fella" fame, who never made any appearances of any kind on "WML?" (Mr. Loesser's "Guys and Dolls" collaborator, Abe Burrows, an occasional "WML?" guest panelist and mystery guest, later co-created "O.K. Crackerby!") Burl also made a recording of "Have a Holly Jolly Christmas" from the aforementioned "Rudolph" special for Decca; the recorded version of this Yuletide standard was produced by legendary country-music producer Owen Bradley. At Columbia, among his more eclectic recordings during one of his later stints there was a 1968 cover of Bob Dylan's "I'll Be Your Baby Tonight" (4-44508), which he performed in a 1969 episode of "The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour." For Mr. Ives' mystery guest spot tonight, a slightly smaller size of type, likely Gothic No. 13, was used for his nameplate on the panel moderator's desk, although his name should have lent itself to the more readable size of Title Gothic Condensed No. 11 that was used for Mr. Daly's and the panelists' nameplates. It was not long after the time of Mr. Ives' appearance this evening that he originated the role of "Big Daddy" in the Broadway production of "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof"; he reprised the role in the 1958 film version of Tennessee Williams' play.
      (4) "WML?" CREDITS CRUNCH WATCH: After the travel arrangements plug for American Airlines, the end credits cut off after the "In Association with the CBS Television Network" art card slide. There was still time enough, however, for GSN to carry on with its most unfortunate habit of "crunching" the screen, as it did on its August 5, 2008 airing of this episode, possibly, some speculate, to torture the viewer.
      (5) The August 5, 2008 airing by GSN of tonight's show was followed by the January 20, 1953 edition of "The Name's the Same," hosted by Robert Q. Lewis, with the panel of Bill Cullen (in his last "TNTS" appearance), Joan Alexander and Meredith Willson, and celebrity guest Piper Laurie. - W-B (2008)

    • REVIEW: This was a so-so night for the panel. The first contestant pretty much gave the panel a run for their money and completely stumped them. However, it probably wasn't the panel's fault. Who would have thought that the sweet grandmotherly lady was a pin setter? The panel had a little bit better luck in the second game. The pretty Arlene correctly guessed that the contestant was an animal trainer, but he was awarded the full prize due to a technicality. As Arlene was going down the list of all the animals, when she reached elephants, the audience let out a slight cheer and spilled the beans. However, she said that it was Bennett who gave her the hint, but she was a good sport when John awarded the guest the full prize. She said he deserved it because of his somewhat hazardous job. In the mystery guest round, Bennett correctly identified Burl Ives. After the game, Arlene gave Ives a tribute for his excellent performance in the Tennessee Williams play "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof." Of course, Ives would reprise the role in the 1958 motion picture version that starred Paul Newman and Elizabeth Taylor. Unfortunately, the panel ran out of time in the final game, so the student highway stripe painter won by default. Generously, he informed John that whatever he won was to be donated to the Heart Fund, which John gladly did - in a heartbeat. - Sargebri (2005)

      Folk singer/actor Burl Ives was also famous for another role. In 1964, he lent his voice to the character of "Sam the Snowman" in the classic Christmas television special "Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer." - Sargebri (2005)

      MYSTERY GUEST BURL IVES promoted his Tennessee Williams Broadway play, "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" which ran at the Morosco Theatre from 3/24/1955 to 11/17/1956 for a total of 694 performances. When the 1958 film version is made, Ives reprises his role of "Big Daddy" alongside co-stars Elizabeth Taylor and Paul Newman. - Suzanne (2005)

      What's My REAL Line? CAR THIEF! This is the episode to which Gil Fates devotes three paragraphs in his 1978 WML book. (Starting at the bottom of page 125 in the hardbound edition.) Fates writes about the story of the contestant who called himself by the pseudonym of "Jim Mitchell." This turned out to be his first and middle names only. He claimed that his line was that of an elephant trainer, and that he guided elephants during Guy Lombardo's elaborate outdoor musical production at a New York area summer entertainment venue on Long Island called Jones Beach Amphitheater (also sometimes incorrectly spelled as Jones Beach Amphitheatre). The WML "talent spotters" had seen him performing in the show, and hired him for WML. Detroit residents lived too far away to casually attend this New York musical called "The Arabian Nights," but one Detroit man watched What's My Line? and recognized "Jim Mitchell" as a former friend. At least, they were friends until "Jim Mitchell" stole the man's car and drove it to New York for some summer fun. When "Jim Mitchell" showed up at the Goodson-Todman offices the next day to collect his fifty dollars, the FBI arrested him. This story made the front page of the New York Journal American and possibly other New York newspapers, although the New York Times did not publish this human-interest story. - Jan Simonson (2005)

    • COLIN BLOOR UPDATED: In 2005, Colin Bloor appeared as a contestant on the live stage show, "What's My Line? - Live On Stage" in Los Angeles, California. That 2005 evening, he told the story of the "car thief" who also appeared on this vintage 1955 episode. - Suzanne (2005)

      Tidbits: The temporary waffle-checkered set background still remains. It will be replaced by new curtains on EPISODE #273. - Suzanne (2005)

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