What's My Line?

Season 7 Episode 30


Aired Daily 12:00 AM Mar 25, 1956 on CBS
out of 10
User Rating
4 votes

By TV.com Users

Episode Summary

Game 1: Mr. Ford Frick (12/19/1894 - 4/8/1978) - "Commissioner of Baseball" (as Mystery Guest #1 and the panel is blindfolded, but the regular contestant questioning format is used; salaried)

Game 2: Philip Harben (10/17/1906 - 4/27/1970) - "Demonstrates Cooking on British Television" (salaried; his show airs mainly on the BBC; he has been a guest on the U.K. WML? and has written 10 books; from London, England)

Game 3: Linda Darnell (10/16/1923 - 4/10/1965) (as Mystery Guest #2)

Game 4: George Aston - "Breeds Goldfish" (self-employed; he breeds 10 to 12 million goldfish annually; from Canada)

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)

    Ford Frick

    Ford Frick

    Mystery Guest #1

    Guest Star

    Linda Darnell

    Linda Darnell

    Mystery Guest #2

    Guest Star

    Garry Moore

    Garry Moore

    Guest Panelist

    Guest Star

    Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


    • TRIVIA (0)

    • QUOTES (0)

    • NOTES (5)

      • FLIP REPORT: John flipped the sole remaining card for the second contestant at nine down. The panel had identified that this contestant was associated with television, but failed to discover that he was associated with a cooking show. In the mystery guest round, John flipped the remaining cards at seven down after the panel identified mystery challenger Linda Darnell. She donated her winnings to the charity organization Boys Town of Italy. All mystery challengers were paid an appearance fee of $500, which was not public knowledge, so it is unknown exactly how much was donated to charity. In the final game, John actually forgot to flip the cards even though he ended the game at five down because time ran out. One can only hope that despite the lack of flipping, this contestant was awarded the full prize, since the panel most definitely did not identify his line. - agent_0042 (2008)

        WALK-BY WATCH: Three episodes back, Arlene suggested that viewers write in if they wished to see the opening panel walk-bys eliminated. Indeed, John does not have either of the regular contestants tonight perform the before-game panel walk-by. However, this practice has not yet been abandoned by the producers, and we will next see another panel walk-by on EPISODE #305. - agent_0042 (2008)

      • (1) "POOF! THERE GOES DR. MONTENIER": Tonight's show, the first true "post-Fred Allen" episode, was the last edition of "WML?" to be sponsored by Jules Montenier, Inc., makers of Stopette, Finesse and Poof! It was in-between this evening's show and two weeks from now that Dr. Jules Montenier, the creator and manufacturer of these items, sold his company to Helene Curtis Industries, Inc., whose first episode in this form was EPISODE #305 of April 8, 1956 and continued through EPISODE #442 of November 23, 1958.
        (2) "WML?" ANNOUNCER, PANEL AND OVERLAY SCREEN WATCH: The opening announcer tonight, and for at least a little while longer, is the original "Voice of 'WML?'," Lee Vines. In a hearkening back to the old days, the panel is pre-seated this evening. And there will be nine more episodes after tonight in which the overlay screens, both for contestants' occupations and lower-third mystery guest names, are primarily set in Kabel Heavy.
        (3) GARRY MOORE: There was a bit of irony in Mr. Moore's appearance as a guest panelist on this first true post-Fred Allen edition of "WML?," coming as it did a week after Steve Allen sat on the panel on the Fred Allen tribute episode the previous week. This was because when Garry left the wildly successful "I've Got a Secret" in 1964, Steverino succeeded him as host. GSN ran the last five years (1962-1967) of "IGAS" between January 2008 and July 2008 in the time slot after "WML?" in their nightly "Black and White Overnight" block.
        (4) FORD FRICK: More than five years after tonight's show, the man who served as Commissioner of Baseball from 1951 to 1965 became embroiled in controversy when he ruled that the 61 home runs that New York Yankees slugger Roger Maris hit in 1961 had to be affixed with an asterisk in the statistics. Frick made this ruling, ostensibly, because of his conviction that such a record -- which broke "Sultan of Swat" Babe Ruth's 1927 record of 60 homers -- had to be accomplished within the 154-game schedule of Ruth's time, as opposed to 162 games, which, by 1961, had become the standard length of the baseball season. As Bruce Nash and Allan Zullo noted in their 1985 book "The Baseball Hall of Shame," Frick had a long-standing bias towards Ruth and, in his earlier days as a sports writer, had ghost-written for the legendary Yankee in sports articles. Indeed, in inducting Frick in their category of the worst rulings by baseball commissioners, Nash and Zullo listed him as "Ford Frick*" in retaliation, and the first words in their entry were, "Put a big fat asterisk beside Frick's name in the history book. It matches the one he ordered placed beside Roger Maris' name in the record books when the slugger broke Babe Ruth's home run mark in 1961." As a side note, Mr. Maris never made any appearances on "WML?"
        (5) Philip Harben (1906-1970) was an early British television personality, famous for his cooking shows. Mr. Harben was part of an early group in that category, a group that also included Fanny and Johnnie Cradock who, unlike Mr. Harben, never appeared on the U.S. version of "WML?" Both of these early TV cooks had been impersonated in Britain by comedian Benny Hill, but only Mr. Harben appeared as himself in one of Mr. Hill's 1957 BBC specials. The Cradocks' impersonation was far better known through sketches on Mr. Hill's 1969-1989 Thames Television series of specials; while Benny appeared in drag as Fanny, longtime series regular Bob Todd played Johnnie as being more than a bit inebriated (read: drunk), with a sense of anarchic fury lurking beneath the surface.
        (6) LINDA DARNELL - PART I: This was the actress' only "WML?" appearance. Besides appearing on stage in "Tea and Sympathy," Miss Darnell -- who died in 1965 -- the same year as Dorothy Kilgallen -- appeared in one film in 1956, "Dakota Incident," in which she played "Amy Clarke." During the peak of her fame in the early 1940's, there were doubtless many girls who were named "Linda" after Miss Darnell. Among those born in that period included Linda Eastman McCartney (1941-1998, the wife of former Beatle Paul McCartney from 1969 until her death); "Dynasty" actress Linda Evans (born 1942); Linda Kaye Henning (born 1944, the co-star of the 1963-1970 rural sitcom "Petticoat Junction"; and multifaceted singer Linda Ronstadt (born 1946).
        (7) LINDA DARNELL - PART II: During the mystery guest questioning, Bennett asked Linda if she made a film in Italy, to which she answered in the affirmative. The movie in question was "Gli Ultimi Cinque Minuti" (1955), whose English titles were "It Happens in Roma" and "The Last Five Minutes." Miss Darnell's co-star in the film was famed Italian actor, writer and director Vittorio De Sica, and also appearing was Rossano Brazzi who, in 1958, co-starred with Mitzi Gaynor in the movie version of Rodgers & Hammerstein's "South Pacific."
        (8) "WML?" CREDITS CRUNCH WATCH: After the travel arrangements plug for American Airlines, the end credits cut off after a long display of the "In Association with the CBS Television Network" art card. And just as the show was getting back to normal, so was GSN's nasty habit of "crunching" the screen on its September 6, 2008 airing of this episode.
        (9) Following the September 6, 2008 airing of tonight's show, GSN ran the September 15, 1953 edition of "The Name's the Same," hosted by Robert Q. Lewis. The panel this week consisted of Gene Rayburn, Joan Alexander and Bill Stern, and the celebrity guest was Miss America 1954, Evelyn Ay. This was the first "TNTS" episode on which the celebrity guest had a "Secret Wish" -- in all probability a nod to the show Mr. Moore was hosting at the time, "I've Got a Secret." However, on this "TNTS" edition, Mr. Lewis still called the segment "I'd Like to Be." In Miss Ay's case, her wish was to be "The Mother of Three Children" (as laid out in designer Hy Bley's graphic). - W-B (2008)

      • LET THE POST FRED ALLEN ERA BEGIN!!! This episode officially began the post Fred Allen era. The panel did okay in batting .500, but they had fun doing it. A lot of the fun came in the form of guest panelist "I've Got a Secret" host Garry Moore, who brought his usual sense of humor to the panel. In the first game, Bennett correctly identified then Major League Baseball Commissioner Ford Frick. Mr. Frick was on the show to promote the coming baseball season. The panel was stumped in the second game by the English cooking show host. He definitely brought a lot of much needed humor after the previous week's tragedy. In the mystery guest round, Linda Darnell had the panel going there for a few minutes with her excellent use of Italian. However, Arlene saw right through her and was able to make the identification. After the game, Miss Darnell announced that she would be one of the subs for Dorothy and Arlene while they were in Monaco for the wedding of Grace Kelly to Prince Rainier. However, her guest panelist engagement never materialized, as this is Miss Darnell's only WML appearance in the history of the show. In the final game, the panel ran out of time, so the goldfish breeder won the full prize by default. After the good nights, John thanked the audience in the studio and at home for all the telegrams and messages they received in sympathy. - Sargebri (2005)

        Ford Christopher Frick (1894-1978) - If the name of Ford C. Frick is familiar, it is not only because he was the third major league baseball commissioner, but also because his name is on one of the highest honors a baseball writer can receive, the Ford Frick Award. The recipient of this award is put into the broadcasters wing of the Baseball Hall of Fame and some of the past winners include Vin Scully, Red Barber, Mel Allen and Harry Caray. - Sargebri (2005)

        Linda Darnell promoted her play, "Tea and Sympathy." She donated her game winnings to the Boys Town of Italy. Linda's life came to a sad end in 1965 when she died as a result of injuries sustained in a house fire. - Suzanne (2005)

      • In Bennett's Cerf's posthumously-published 1977 autobiography titled "At Random: The Reminiscences of Bennett Cerf," he devotes only a page or so to What's My Line? He briefly covers the Montenier story quoted below. He also mentions the fact that the rest of the panel's sense of humor didn't jibe with Hal Block's sense of humor. In addition, he relates the story about how WML almost had Harry S. Truman as a mystery guest, but due to political reasons, one of the powers that be put the kibosh on it. Truman was then replaced with Perle Mesta on EPISODE #323 on August 12, 1956, and there is more detail about the switch on that episode guide. The following quote from Bennett's book discusses when What's My Line? lost Jules Montenier as a sponsor.

        (begin quote)

        The sponsor at the time was Dr. Jules Montenier, whose product was Stopette, and underarm spray. When What's My Line? started, it was only on a few CBS stations. Everybody thought it would be one of those novelties that would last for a brief period and then vanish, but it caught on like wildfire. As it spread from city to city, of course, the sponsorship costs went up and up; but Dr. Montenier stuck with the program until it was running in practically every city in the United States, and the charges became enormous. He couldn't possibly sell enough deodorant to pay all of it, and that was his only product; so finally he had to give up the show. It broke his heart. His slogan was "Poof! There goes perspiration." The Harvard Lampoon had a picture in one of its issues of Dr. Montenier shooting through the top of a building, and the caption was "Poof! There goes Dr. Montenier.

        (end quote)

        - Cindy Trells (2005)

      • THE LOOK OF THINGS: This is the final episode sponsored by Jules Montenier, Inc. which sold Stopette, Finesse and Poof!. The corporation was sold to Helene Curtis Products, which continues to sponsor What's My Line? until about November 1958. In addition, Remington Rand also continues as a sponsor. - Suzanne (2003)

        Tidbits: Although Fred Allen's name was not used on this episode, he was indirectly mentioned. At the very end of the show, John said that he wanted to thank everybody for all the kind letters, telegrams and phone calls they had received. - Suzanne (2003)

        Panel: Arlene Francis, Garry Moore, Dorothy Kilgallen, Bennett Cerf.

    • ALLUSIONS (0)