What's My Line?

Season 7 Episode 17

EPISODE #290

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Aired Daily 12:00 AM Dec 25, 1955 on CBS
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Episode Summary

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EPISODE #290
AIRED:
Game 1: Lt. and Mrs. Vernon Post & Lt. and Mrs. David Baxendale - "Salvation Army Band" (as Mystery Guest Quartet, and the panel is blindfolded, but the "regular contestant" questioning format was used; salaried; after their game, they stand and play the classic holiday song "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing" on their 4 brass instruments)

Game 2: Miss Sylvette de Aldrey - "What's My Line? Panelist in Puerto Rico" (salaried; very pretty; from San Juan, Puerto Rico; in her country, the panel show is called "Juego Dodge," which translates from Spanish to English as "Dodge Game" and is the top TV show; after her game, she joins the panel when Arlene invites her to do so, and plays the mystery guest round, but excuses herself from playing the final game and explains that she has met the contestant)

Game 3: Peter Lind Hayes (6/25/1915 - 4/21/1998) & Mary Healy (b. 4/14/1918) (as Mystery Guest Duo) (Peter Lind Hayes appears with a prop knife through his head.)

Game 4: Johnny Marks (11/10/1909 - 9/3/1985) - "Songwriter, Wrote 'Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer'" (self-employed; it wasn't mentioned, but he wrote the words and music to the famous song in 1949, by adapting a verse written in 1939 by his brother-in-law, Robert L. May, for a Montgomery Ward department store promotional children's book; from New York, 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)

    Peter Lind Hayes

    Peter Lind Hayes

    Mystery Guest Duo

    Guest Star

    Mary Healy

    Mary Healy

    Mystery Guest Duo

    Guest Star

    Sylvette de Aldrey

    Sylvette de Aldrey

    Contestant

    Guest Star

    Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions

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    • TRIVIA (0)

    • QUOTES (1)

    • NOTES (4)

      • FLIP REPORT: In this one-time-only "broadcast live on Christmas" airing of What's My Line?, John flipped the remaining cards for the first group of contestants at four down. This game ended when Arlene identified these four contestants as being associated with The Salvation Army. Dorothy took her mask off somewhat prematurely and then John asked the rest of the panel to unmask so they could see that the guests were members of a Salvation Army band. John indicated that $200, $50 for each of the four members, would be going to The Salvation Army. For the second game, John flipped the remaining cards at just one down, "in the Christmas spirit," after Arlene correctly guessed that this contestant held the same line as she did, but on a version of What's My Line? in a different country, Puerto Rico. Finally, John flipped the remaining cards for the final contestant at five down because time ran out for the game. The panel had begun to come somewhat close, but they just didn't have enough time to make the exact identification. - agent_0042 (2008)

      • (1) "WML?" SPONSOR, ANNOUNCER AND PANEL WATCH: For the ninth straight week, Remington Rand is the main sponsor; the panel desk billboard this week reads "Remington Rand Business Machines." This is the first time in several months that Fred Allen has appeared without glasses, though this was only for the intros, as he put his glasses on afterwards. And the announcer tonight is Hal Simms, though it will be a while before he assumes the post on a regular basis.
        (2) YULETIDE QUIP WATCH: Introducing Fred, Dorothy mentioned that he skips Christmas dinners "because he doesn't want to be associated with a turkey." This joke contains a double meaning, because while turkey was (and still is) one of the specialties of Christmas dinners, even then, in 1955, the word "turkey" had already become associated with failure in show business, though it would be in later years that such a connotation would be cemented through such books as Harry and Michael Medved's "The Golden Turkey Awards."
        (3) A PORTENT OF THE FUTURE? - After The Salvation Army Band's game, their performance of a Christmas carol (at John's request) seemed to anticipate the direction of the show in its 1968-1975 syndicated incarnation, where demonstrations of different kinds by contestants after a game were the norm.
        (4) If Peter Lind Hayes and Mary Healy's joint mystery guest appearance had taken place up to two months prior to tonight's show, they would have had a joint nameplate with the taller height (reserved for two-line plaques) placed on the panel moderator's desk during their spot. This evening, however, their names were printed on two lines on their lower-third overlay screen, with a horizontal line as long as Mr. Hayes' name separating their names -- set, as almost all overlays during this period, and every overlay on tonight's show, in Kabel Heavy.
        (5) "SIGN IN" WATCH: It has become evident by this time that John's salutation of "Will you come in and sign in, please?" is now applicable to both regular contestants and mystery guests. Previously, he used such a command for mystery guests only, while greeting regular contestants with "Will you sign in, please, sir/madam?" Also, this was one of a very few occasions by this point where there was a pre-game panel walk-by for the final contestant.
        (6) 1955 - A YEAR IN TRANSITION: Many turning points in the history of "WML?" took place this year that would largely define the show forever after. Here is a summary of the more famous examples:

        EPISODE #253 of April 10, 1955 - Last show with "free wild guess" segment.

        EPISODE #254 of April 17, 1955 - First time that the mystery guest segment is revamped to one question per contestant per turn (mystery guest that evening: Barbara Ann Scott).

        EPISODE #265 of July 3, 1955 - Change to design of sign-in board, and first time contestants exit towards the viewer's left side, rather than the viewer's right side.

        EPISODE #279 of October 9, 1955 - Last show to have a nameplate printed for a mystery guest (Hal March).

        EPISODE #280 of October 16, 1955 - First use of lower-third overlay screen for mystery guests (The Dorsey Brothers); the nameplate holders are removed effective with EPISODE #283 of November 6, 1955.

        EPISODE #284 of November 13, 1955 - First "curtain entrance" as structured for the rest of the show's run (takes full effect after EPISODE #286 of November 27, 1955).

        (7) "WML?" CREDITS CRUNCH WATCH: For this final show of 1955, the end credit sequence consisted solely of the "WML?" title card and the American Airlines travel arrangements plug. Still, ever-eager to displease, GSN managed to "crunch" the screen just the same when airing this episode in regular rotation on August 24, 2008, as truncated as these end credits were. Likewise, on GSN's special December 25, 2008 airing of tonight's show (to commemorate Christmas, and which delayed by one day the airing of EPISODE #413 of May 4, 1958), the cable and satellite channel again played "Grinch," once more spoiling the viewing experience with the same credits crunching procedure.
        (8) GSN's August 24, 2008 regular rotation airing of tonight's show was followed by the June 16, 1953 edition of "The Name's the Same," with host Robert Q. Lewis, the panel of Carl Reiner, Joan Alexander and Dane Clark, and celebrity guest Harry James.
        (9) After the special December 25, 2008 airing of this episode, GSN repeated the June 11, 1957 edition of "To Tell the Truth," hosted by Bud Collyer, with the panel of Polly Bergen, Ralph Bellamy, Kitty Carlisle and Hy Gardner. The first game featured British peer and jazz pianist Adrian Gerald Lord Foley and two impostors; the second game featured Commander James F. Calvert (commanding officer of the atomic submarine USS Skate) and two impostors; and the third game featured Jo McCubbins (the Women's National Archery Champion) and two impostors. - W-B (2008)

      • MERRY CHRISTMAS!!! This certainly was a Merry Christmas as the panel almost had a perfect night. In the first game, Arlene correctly identified the first contestants as members of The Salvation Army Band. Dorothy then requested that John flip the cards, which he enthusiastically did. The real treat came when the band members performed a Christmas carol for the panel and the audience. Arlene continued her hot streak when she correctly identified Puerto Rican beauty Sylvette de Aldrey as a member of the panel for WML in Puerto Rico. Arlene then invited her to join the panel for a rare five person game. In the mystery guest round, Bennett correctly identified his good friends, former guest panelists Peter Lind Hayes and his wife, Miss New Orleans of 1918, Mary Healy. Peter had the audience rolling when he came out wearing a prop dagger on his head. This probably was an inspiration for Steve Martin, who was a kid at the time. Unfortunately, the panel ran out of time before they could figure out that the final contestant, Johnny Marks, was the man responsible for writing the classic Christmas song "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer," so he wound up winning the full prize by default. - Sargebri (2005)

        JOIN THE GAME: In addition to participating in the mystery guest round, Miss Sylvette de Aldrey was also invited to join in the final game, but after the contestant signed in and was seated, she disqualified herself, explaining that she had met him and knew what his line was. She had probably had an opportunity to talk with this contestant backstage, while they were waiting for their respective games to be played. - agent_0042 (2008)

        MERRY CHRISTMAS 1955! This is the first time that WML has fallen exactly on December 25th. Over the 17.5 year run, it happened three times; 1955, 1960, 1966. This was the only "live" Christmas show. From Gil Fates' logs, we know the other two Christmas shows were pretaped on December 18, 1960 and December 18, 1966. - Suzanne (2005)

      • Peter Lind Hayes and Mary Healy were married from 1940 until his death in 1998. - Suzanne (2005)

        Tidbits: John Daly wishes everyone a Merry Christmas. Arlene is leaving for a trip to Japan and announced that she will be absent for two weeks. She said Vivian Blaine will be taking her place. - Suzanne (2005)

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

    • ALLUSIONS (0)

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