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Regular Panelist (1950-1967)
Regular Panelist (1951-1967)
Regular Panelist (1950-1965)
John (to the camera): Good evening, ladies and gentlemen and welcome to What's My Line?
John (to the panel members): Panel, I've got some great news for you.
Arlene: (moans softly)
John: You don't have to put on your blindfolds.
With our panel's penchant for civility, decorum and gentility, some viewers were shocked at the numerous snide comments the panel and moderator made to Karl Rissland, a contestant who was notably obese. Several examples are below. - Lee McIntyre (2005)
Bennett (as he shakes hands at the beginning of the guest's stint): A fine figure of a man, sir.
John: You give the panel a nice big fat legitimate "no" answer and we'll flip a card.
Arlene: (asking the very first question, before anything other than the guest's appearance has been established) I would say that it's obvious that you must work for a profit-making organization.
Johnny: Do you touch the people in any way when you perform this? (The contestant gives a "no" answer.) I'm glad of that!
Arlene: Are you associated with a large organization?
Johnny: He is a large organization.
Johnny: Do you wear any special type of uniform - or several uniforms?
Arlene: (after Dorothy, in conference, asks if the contestant might have something to do with transportation) He'd keep it on the ground. I know I wouldn't have to worry about that.
Arlene: (after the contestant's occupation is revealed and John says Arlene might have seen the contestant in action) I don't know how I avoided seeing you.
To the contestant's credit, he takes these gratuitous and unwarranted remarks in reasonably good humor, although he did smile and offer a sarcastic "Thank you," after Johnny said, "He is a large organization."
FLIP REPORT: John flipped all the cards for the first contestant at six down because time ran out. He flipped them all for the second contestant at two down. Dorothy had figured out the basics of his line and Bennett had identified that he worked with tigers. John noted that, to be exact, the guest worked with eleven tigers and John flipped the cards on that basis. Finally, John flipped all the cards for the final contestant at six down because time ran out. - agent_0042 (2005)
WALK-BY WATCH: It has now been five episodes since Arlene first suggested on EPISODE #300 that viewers write in if they would like to see the contestant before-game panel walk-by segment eliminated. (In two of the previous five episodes, the walk-bys were entirely skipped.) Though John, these days, is more readily dispensing with the practice, it hasn't disappeared entirely, as he has the first contestant of the night do the panel walk-by. He dispenses with it for both of the night's other regular contestants, however. - agent_0042 (2008)
(1) THE "HELENE CURTIS" ERA BEGINS: Tonight's show marked the first edition of "WML?" to be sponsored by Helene Curtis Industries, Inc., which inherited these honors from prior co-sponsor Jules Montenier, Inc., whose products, including Stopette, are now part of the new (to the program) entity. Helene Curtis' co-sponsorship of "WML?" -- initially (until 1957) alternated with Remington Rand -- will last up to EPISODE #442 of November 23, 1958, by which time Kellogg's cereals became a key co-sponsor of the show and remained so, in evolving capacities, through 1965.
(2) "WML?" PANEL AND ANNOUNCER WATCH: Again in the immediate period following Fred Allen's death, the panel is pre-seated, and again Hal Simms is the opening announcer. As to first-time guest panelist Johnny Carson, between this evening and EPISODE #656 of March 24, 1963 (more than five and a half months into his nearly 30-year run as host of "The Tonight Show"), he will make a total of nine appearances on "WML?," including a mystery guest shot on EPISODE #601 of February 11, 1962. Coming so soon after Fred's death, there was a bit of irony to Johnny's "WML?" debut, insofar as throughout his years on "The Tonight Show," there was a group of actors who appeared with Johnny in sketches, and that group was called the "Mighty Carson Art Players" -- a name derived from the "Mighty Allen Art Players" of Fred's radio shows. Even with the good impression Mr. Carson made tonight, it would be another five years (to the month) until he would be on "WML?" again.
(3) "WML?" OVERLAY SCREEN WATCH: For the first contestant, while his occupation overlay screen of "OFFICIAL RACETRACK BUGLER" was all capital letters, the "OFFICIAL" part of the overlay was in a smaller size of Futura Medium Italic, while the rest of the text was set in Kabel Heavy. The latter font would be used in whole for the other overlays, including the lower-third layout for mystery guest Ray Bolger.
(4) "IF I ONLY HAD A BRAIN...": This was the first of two appearances by the "Scarecrow" of "The Wizard of Oz," Ray Bolger; he will also be a guest panelist on EPISODE #588 of November 12, 1961. It was on November 3, 1956 that "The Wizard of Oz" had its TV debut, initially as an installment of "Ford Star Jubilee." Beginning in 1959, the film became an annual TV event, airing every year except 1963, 1992, 1995 and 1997; it ran on CBS until 1967, NBC from 1968 to 1975, and CBS again from 1976 to 1998. Since 1999, "The Wizard of Oz" has run almost exclusively on the Turner cable and satellite channels, including TBS, TNT (Turner Network Television) and TCM (Turner Classic Movies), with a few airings between 2002 and 2005 on the now-defunct "WB" broadcast network. Up to 1964, "The Wizard of Oz" was one of the very few times CBS aired anything in color. The "eye network's" 31 total airings of this classic would ultimately be broken by ABC's annual showings of the 1956 version of "The Ten Commandments" which began in 1973.
(5) "WML?" CREDITS CRUNCH WATCH: The end credits were shown full screen and with original audio by GSN on its September 8, 2008 airing of this episode up to the first second of the American Airlines plug, after which they reverted to their typically scandalous "crunching" of the screen -- even with the end credits cutting off, as on many shows during this period, after the "In Association with the CBS Television Network" art card.
(6) LET THE "GENE RAYBURN ERA" ON "TNTS" BEGIN: The September 8, 2008 airing of tonight's show by GSN was followed by the September 29, 1953 edition of "The Name's the Same," hosted by Robert Q. Lewis, with the panel assembled here as Gene Rayburn, Joan Alexander and Bill Stern. The celebrity guest was New York Yankees shortstop -- and the very first mystery guest of "WML?" EPISODE #1 of February 2, 1950 -- Phil Rizzuto. - W-B (2008)
This night marked the debut of Johnny Carson on the panel and he managed to do a fairly decent job asking questions. As for the panel themselves, they did a fairly good job, even though they batted .500. In the first game, they were stumped by the racetrack bugler. Ironically, John was afraid that Dorothy and Arlene might recognize him, but fortunately they didn't. In the second game, Dorothy pretty much had it all sewn up and nearly did a solo job in guessing the contestant's line. Unfortunately, she guessed the wrong cat and said he was a lion tamer instead of a tiger tamer. Bennett then picked up the pieces and made the correct guess. In the mystery guest round, Bennett opened up the door for Arlene who correctly guessed that it was song and dance man Ray Bolger. Bolger was on to promote his appearance at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel. Also mentioned was his former television series from 1953-1955, "The Ray Bolger Show." In the final game, the panel ran out of time just as they were closing in on guessing that the contestant was an interpreter for the United Nations, so she won the full prize by default. - Sargebri (2005)
HEEEEEEEEERRRRRRRRE'S JOHNNY!!! This was the first appearance of Johnny Carson on the WML panel. He would make several more appearances on the show before he would be hired to work on the late-night television series that he would forever be associated with, the "Tonight Show." Of course, he was following in the footsteps of former WML panelist Steve Allen and former guest panelist and mystery guest, Dorothy's favorite talk show host, Jack Paar. Carson would host the show from 1962 until his retirement in 1992. - Sargebri (2005)
Ray Bolger promoted his appearance at the Empire Room of the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in "Once in Love With Amy." Bolger's most famous movie role was that of the "Scarecrow" in the 1939 film, "The Wizard of Oz" with co-star Judy Garland. Bennett told Bolger that he thought he was the greatest soft shoe dancer alive today, and asked him to "do one little step for us." In the most adorable fashion, Bolger then danced through his goodbyes to the panel, effortlessly kicking his legs up high at one point. - Suzanne (2005)
JOHNNY CARSON TRIBUTE: On January 29, 2005, this episode was aired as part of GSN's "Remembering Johnny Carson" tribute marathon, a rare 6-hour daytime broadcast of twelve back-to-back Goodson-Todman shows which all featured Johnny Carson as a guest. Included in the lineup were episodes of "What's My Line?," "To Tell the Truth," "I've Got a Secret" and "Password." The shows honored Mr. Carson, who had passed away on January 23, 2005. - Suzanne (2005)
THE LOOK OF THINGS I: This is the first episode sponsored by Helene Curtis Products, which bought out Jules Montenier, Inc. Tonight's opening advertisement featured Stopette, Suave, Shampoo Plus Egg and "other fine cosmetics." Helene Curtis will continue to sponsor What's My Line? until about November 1958. In addition, Remington Rand continues to be a sponsor. - Suzanne (2003)
THE LOOK OF THINGS II: The billboard on the panel desk for this episode shows the Helene Curtis name and advertises both Stopette and Suave Shampoo Plus Egg. At this point, the flip cards still show a Stopette bottle, although in a couple of episodes, it will be replaced with a Helene Curtis shampoo bottle. - agent_0042 (2008)
Tidbits: There was no curtain entrance, for the second week in a row. During the goodbyes, John mentions that both Dorothy and Arlene are going to Monaco to attend the Royal wedding of Grace Kelly to Prince Rainier, which will take place on April 19, 1956. - Suzanne (2003)
Johnny Carson (10/23/1925 - 1/23/2005)
Panel: Arlene Francis, Johnny Carson, Dorothy Kilgallen, Bennett Cerf.
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