What's My Line?

Season 7 Episode 29


Aired Daily 12:00 AM Mar 18, 1956 on CBS



  • Notes

    • JACK BENNY'S TRIBUTE TO FRED ALLEN: Earlier the same day that this emotional episode originally aired in 1956, Fred Allen's dear friend, Jack Benny, made a radio broadcast and eulogy for Fred. It was the most emotional recorded moment Benny ever made and it was a testament to his friendship with the man who was one-half of the most famous radio "fake feud" in broadcasting history. Benny's recording still exists and was released on a record as part of a history of Jack Benny on radio. - Stan16mm (2006)

      HAL BLOCK: This is from Herb Lyon's 3/22/56 column in the Chicago Tribune, the week of Fred's passing: "Hal Block denies that he has been approached to replace Fred Allen on WML. Hal is the Veep (vice-president) of a company that distributes "little Magna" Battery lighters, and he loves his line." - Shecky (2005)

      A little more on Fred's health: According to TV GUIDE (New York) 16 January 1953, Fred was actually slated by Goodson-Todman to be the host of TWO FOR THE MONEY, but his doctors wouldn't let him. Instead, they hired Herb Shriner. Fred's heart attack in 1952 couldn't have come at a worse time. His attempts on the COLGATE COMEDY HOUR and CHESTERFIELD SOUND OFF TIME failed, and the format of TWO FOR THE MONEY - which was very close to YOU BET YOUR LIFE - would have been perfect for him. Ol' hayshaker Herb was so folksy and easygoing, he could put Perry Como to sleep. - stopette (2005)

      Farewell to a friend - Fred Allen: Just as it would be 9 1/2 years later when Dorothy passes away, this was a very sad day in the history of the panel. To show respect, John, Steve and Bennett all wore suits instead of their tuxedoes, and Dorothy and Arlene wore rather ordinary black dresses. However, unlike that very distant night in the future, the panel had a very good night regarding their game-playing ability. In the first game, Bennett correctly identified future Hockey Hall of Famer Jacques Plante. In fact, it seemed as if he pretty much had it nailed as soon as Plante mentioned that he was from Montreal. Bennett also remembered the fact that the "Les Canadiens de Montréal" (aka the "Habs" which is short for "Les Habitants" - a nickname they acquired in 1924) were in town, so as soon as he put two and two together, he zeroed in on Plante's line. Bennett, with a big assist from Dolly Mae, also guessed that Mrs. Lederer (aka legendary advice columnist Ann Landers) wrote an advice column. Ann later did a very classy thing and asked that all of her winnings be donated to the Heart Fund in memory of Fred, to which John flipped over the remaining cards. Ironically, after the game had ended, John didn't call her Ann. In fact, he kept on calling her Mrs. Lederer. In the mystery guest round, Bennett completed his personal hat trick (another hockey reference) when he correctly guessed that the mystery guest was the lovely Cyd Charisse, who was appearing on the show to promote the 1956 film, "Meet Me in Las Vegas." Ironically, Dorothy essentially had Miss Akiyoshi's line as a jazz musician nailed, but never was able to identify the instrument she played and on the basis of time she won the full amount. Of course, what made it so ironic that Dorothy would make the final guess was that a few years later, she would be the one being eulogized. At the end of the show, the entire panel, except for Dorothy who may have been too distraught, each said some very touching words for a very touching man, the sorely-missed Fred Allen. And so ended this very emotional episode. - Sargebri (2005)

      It was very fitting that Steve would be the one to fill in for Fred - due to the fact that Fred replaced Steve when Steve went on to host the "Tonight!" show. Nine years later, Steve would also appear on Dorothy's memorial episode. However, by that time he had become host of another Goodson-Todman show, "I've Got a Secret." Also on the panel on that 1965 night was Kitty Carlisle, who was called to fill Dorothy's now-vacant seat. What made it fitting was the fact that Kitty was the grande dame of another Goodson-Todman show, "To Tell the Truth." And so, with Steve representing IGAS and Kitty representing TTTT, all of the Goodson-Todman panel shows were represented on that very tragic 1965 night. - Sargebri (2005)