(Dorothy's first and somewhat rhetorical question in the mystery guest round after Liberace's entrance received close to a full minute of applause.)
Dorothy: Are you popular?
SIGNATURES AND MORE: Both Frank Lloyd Wright and Liberace included more than just their signatures when they signed in. Frank Lloyd Wright added what looked to be his Fallingwater monogram, similar to that seen on this mug:
After Liberace signed his name, he drew a piano, including a candelabra. - cattaur (2008)
FLIP REPORT: First contestant Frank Lloyd Wright's game ended at four down when Dorothy mentioned his name during a conference and the audience began to clap, thereby tipping off the panel. Normally, John would have flipped the cards, due to the fact that the guest was identified in a non-standard fashion. However, even though John called the game off and named the contestant, he did not flip any of the cards. - Suzanne (2008)
WHAT'S MY FONT? This is the first episode where the occupation overlay screens and mystery guest names are typeset in Futura Demi Bold. Previously, the predominantly used typeface had been Kabel Heavy. Additional typesetting in some of the 1955-1956 shows featured Futura Medium, used on some episodes for occupation overlays, and on others for the mystery guest names. - W-B (2005, updated 2008)
(1) "WML?" SPONSOR AND PANEL WATCH: This evening's main sponsor was Helene Curtis. With Arlene back on the panel, she is once again seated at the far end of the panel desk. And as with Paul Winchell and Jerry Mahoney's prior stint as guest panelists on EPISODE #308 of April 29, 1956, the panel was pre-seated tonight.
(2) For this first show with a new overlay font, the typesetters initially carried on with their occasional tendency to combine all capital letters with mixed case (upper and lower case) letters, as on first mystery guest Frank Lloyd Wright's overlay, "World Famous ARCHITECT." The remaining overlays tonight were all capital letters.
(3) FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT - PART I: This was the only "WML?" appearance of the famed (and often controversial) architect, nearly three years before his death on April 9, 1959 at age 91. His last major work in his lifetime, which wasn't completed until after his death, was the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum on Fifth Avenue and East 88th Street in upper Manhattan. Largely derided at the time of its opening, the museum has since become one of the city's landmarks, on a par with the Empire State Building, the United Nations Building, and Rockefeller Center. In his private life, one of Mr. Wright's grandchildren was the actress Anne Baxter who, a few months from tonight's show, co-starred in Cecil B. DeMille's epic spectacular "The Ten Commandments" as "Nefertiti."
(4) FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT - PART II: Another of Mr. Wright's most famous works was the Johnson Wax Headquarters building, built in 1936 and opened in 1939, with additions opened in 1951. The building, with its 14-story-tall Research Tower (with the curved edges, built in 1944), was seen in the openings of every other episode of Goodson-Todman's "The Name's the Same" between late 1952 and 1954, during the opening advertisement for Johnson's Wax. It was more than a decade from then that Johnson Wax became a participating advertiser on "WML?" (Ironically, after GSN aired this episode on September 16, 2008, the vintage 1953 "TNTS" episode which followed was sponsored by Swanson foods, which by the time of tonight's 1956 "WML?" episode had been taken over by Campbell Soup Company.)
(5) FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT - PART III: Mr. Wright became immortalized in song more than ten years after his death, when Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel dedicated the song "So Long, Frank Lloyd Wright" to his memory. The track was featured on the duo's last original studio album, "Bridge Over Troubled Water" (Columbia KCS 9914, 1970). The lyrics of the song's chorus summed up Mr. Wright's on-and-off renown with critics and the public over his long career:
Architects may come and
Architects may go and
Never change your point of view.
When I run dry
I stop awhile and think of you.
(6) LIBERACE - PART I: This was the first appearance of the pianist/showman, who at the time of tonight's show was still hosting "The Liberace Show" in perpetual reruns in syndication. He will make three more appearances on "WML?," the last being on EPISODE #715 of May 31, 1964. This tally includes one guest panelist shot on EPISODE #629 of September 2, 1962. However, this evening was to be the only time his brother George would appear on the program.
(7) LIBERACE - PART II: Over the years, Liberace and his persona were the subject of endless parodies. One such spoof that stood out in 1956 was in the Bugs Bunny/Elmer Fudd cartoon "Wideo Wabbit," where in one scene Bugs, in an attempt to elude Elmer, disguises himself as "Liverace" and plays a few bars from the opening of Liszt's "Hungarian Rhapsody." When Elmer comes around, Bugs hands him a candelabra where the "candles" are all sticks of dynamite, and after they explode, Bugs as "Liverace" notes, "I did that because I want my program to go over with a bang."
(8) "WML?" CREDITS CRUNCH WATCH: Once again tonight, after the American Airlines travel arrangements plug, the end credits only go up to the art card for executive producer Gil Fates and no farther. And once again, GSN continued to vex and aggravate the viewing audience on its September 16, 2008 airing of this episode with its endlessly unrelenting "crunching" of the screen.
(9) GSN's September 16, 2008 airing of tonight's show was followed by the November 24, 1953 edition of "The Name's the Same," hosted by Robert Q. Lewis, with the panel of Gene Rayburn, Joan Alexander and Bill Stern. The celebrity guest was Herb Shriner, then host of another popular G-T show, on "another network," "Two for the Money." - W-B (2008)
GSN aired a two-day four-episode Paul Winchell Tribute in honor of his June 24, 2005 death at age 82. On June 30, 2005, they aired EPISODE #308 and EPISODE #313. On July 1, 2005, they aired EPISODE #316 and EPISODE #320. - Suzanne (2005)
In 2003, Frank Lloyd Wright's Price Tower was retrofitted into a hotel, the Inn at Price Tower. It also houses an art museum, the Price Tower Arts Center. Their web site states that the hotel is "The only place in the world to book a hotel stay in a building designed and built by Frank Lloyd Wright." - Scott V. (2005)
REVIEW: This was a successful, if somewhat bizarre, episode. The tone was set in the first game when, during a conference, Dorothy suggested that the first mystery guest might be a designer or an architect "like Frank Lloyd Wright." When the audience heard that, they erupted in spontaneous applause and John decided to call the game because he felt the audience gave the panel an unfair advantage. In the second game, the panel had a very rough time and was ultimately stumped by the pretty hog buyer. The mystery guest round ended pretty much the same way the first game did, due to the fact that when Arlene mentioned Liberace's name, the audience once again spilled the beans by breaking out into spontaneous applause. And so ended a very bizarre night. - Sargebri (2005)
Mr. Showmanship: As an artist and public figure, Lee Liberace - as his friends called him - always seemed to be over the top, with his fur coats, feather boas and elaborate candelabra. He was arguably one of the greatest popular pianists of all time. His long-running radio and television shows garnered an immense audience as he presented show tunes and popular music that flowed with syrupy sentimentality. Many of his most beautiful performances he dedicated to his mother. His effeminate presentation was often mimicked and mocked, and he himself became adept at poking fun at his own persona in later years. Many pictures here reveal both his flamboyant sequined appearance (he could have given lessons to Elvis Presley), and also the candelabra that was ever-present on his piano during his TV shows and concerts. As he always did for his WML appearances, Liberace drew a quick sketch of his trademark grand piano and candelabra during his sign-in tonight.
Liberace's brother, George Liberace, was an accomplished violinist who often provided obbligato accompaniment to Liberace's arrangements. During George's WML cameo, John requested, "Say something, George." On Liberace's shows, George's ONLY role was to play the violin. There was never any on-camera verbal interaction between George and his younger brother, and some viewers wondered, after watching this odd arrangement, whether or not George could in fact speak.
Liberace's sexuality was a major, albeit unacknowledged, part of his public image. Though many men despised Lee's fey persona, women adored him, precisely because, in the words of one starlet, "he was a desirable, attractive man ... purged of masculine loutishness." Liberace died of AIDS at age 67, just over a week before Valentine's day, 1987. - Lee McIntyre (2005)
Frank Lloyd Wright mentions building the "Price Tower," which ia a 19-story skyscraper in Bartlesville, Oklahoma which was completed in February 1956. Upon the panel deducing his identity, he remarks, "Such an extraordinarily intelligent panel!" Liberace talks about his concert tour and his Broadway theatre performance. Arlene comments that she can't believe the audience's incredible reaction to Liberace's entrance. Paul Winchell's dummy friend Jerry Mahoney flirts with Arlene and says, "Don't get too close, I'm not made of wood, you know." Jerry comments about Paul Winchell, remarking, "I'll never know what you see in him." To which Arlene replies, "I only see you in him." Arlene also kisses Jerry Mahoney at the end of the show. - Jim (2005)
Liberace's older brother George Liberace makes a cameo appearance after Liberace's game. - Suzanne (2003)
Tidbits: Peter Lawford is currently appearing at the Copa. - Suzanne (2003)
Peter Lawford (9/7/1923 - 12/24/1984)
Panel: Arlene Francis, Paul Winchell (with his "dummy" Jerry Mahoney), Dorothy Kilgallen, Peter Lawford. Bennett Cerf had the night off.