What's My Line?

Season 8 Episode 4


Aired Daily 12:00 AM Sep 23, 1956 on CBS
out of 10
User Rating
2 votes

By TV.com Users

Episode Summary

Game 1: June Taylor (12/14/1917 - 5/16/2004) & the June Taylor Dancers - "June Taylor Dancers of Jackie Gleason Show" (as Mystery Guest Group and the panel was blindfolded, but the regular questioning format was used; there were 32 members of the dancing group on stage surrounding John Daly, described as 16 dancers and 16 "Glea Girls")

Game 2: Captain Al Beale - "Suez Canal Pilot" (salaried; from College Park, MD)

Game 3: William Holden (4/17/1918 - 11/16/1981) (as Mystery Guest #2) He signed in as Bill Holden.

Game 4: Earl Knauer - "Makes Moth Balls" (salaried; originally from Walnut Grove, PA; currently from Davidsville, PA)

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)

    June Taylor Dancers

    June Taylor Dancers

    Mystery Guest Group

    Guest Star

    June Taylor

    June Taylor

    Mystery Guest #1

    Guest Star

    William Holden

    William Holden

    Mystery Guest #2

    Guest Star

    Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


    • TRIVIA (0)

    • QUOTES (3)

      • Bennett Cerf: (making a pun on the final contestant's name, which is pronounced "NOW-er") Mr. Knauer, it's very nice spending half a Knauer with you.

      • Arlene Francis: (after the panel won the first game) How does it happen you didn't pull a conference tonight, John?
        John Daly: Never had a chance!

      • Bennett Cerf: And on my immediate left, our panel moderator, a veritable behemoth of befuddlement: John Charles Daly. (loud cheers and applause)

    • NOTES (5)

      • FLIP REPORT: John flipped the remaining cards for the second contestant at three down. Bennett recognized this contestant's name, but chose to play rather than disqualify himself, so John flipped the cards to balance things out. In the final game, John flipped the remaining cards for the final contestant at six down. Bennett had correctly guessed that this contestant was associated with moth balls, thanks to an assist from Robert Q. Lewis, but time ran out before he could figure out the exact line. - agent_0042 (2008)

        MOST CONTESTANTS EVER: Surrounded by June Taylor and 32 of her dancers, John Daly must have been in heaven for the first game! He probably would have liked to have had a conference with each girl! This game is notable because it featured the most contestants ever assembled on the stage at one time. - Suzanne (2008)

      • (1) "WML?" SPONSOR AND PANEL WATCH: The evening's main sponsor was Helene Curtis. Additionally, in this episode, the flip cards depicted ENDEN Dandruff Treatment Shampoo for the first time, a product that Helene Curtis began promoting two episodes back. Also tonight, the panel is pre-seated at the start of this episode.
        (2) THE JUNE TAYLOR DANCERS - PART I: June Taylor and The June Taylor Dancers were the fifth group of people connected with "The Jackie Gleason Show" to appear on "WML?" over the years. They followed Art Carney, Audrey Meadows, writer Howard Harris, and Gleason himself. And between 1954 and 1956, Gleason's then-director, Frank Satenstein, helmed six known episodes of "WML?" in place of regular director Franklin Heller. In later years, Frank Fontaine (aka "Crazy Guggenheim") and Sheila MacRae (the fourth and final "Alice Kramden") will also appear on the program. One key Gleason-connected individual who never appeared on "WML?" was "The Great One's" executive producer, manager and business partner, Jack Philbin. As a side note, during the early 1950's, Gleason had a well-publicized -- and somewhat scandalous -- affair with June Taylor's sister, Marilyn Taylor, who was a member of the dance troupe at the time; this was while he was married to his first wife, the former Genevieve Halford. Jackie and Marilyn ultimately married in 1975, after two divorces on his part, and remained together until his death in 1987. It should also be mentioned that this 1956 "WML?" episode originally aired one day after the last of the "Classic 39" episodes of "The Honeymooners," "A Man's Pride," was first shown.
        (3) THE JUNE TAYLOR DANCERS - PART II: In 1963, seven years from the troupe's appearance on "WML?" tonight, The June Taylor Dancers made history when they hired the first African-American member of the dance troupe, Mercedes Ellington. She was the daughter of jazz musician Mercer Ellington, as well as the granddaughter of jazz legend Duke Ellington who had been a mystery guest on "WML?" EPISODE #163 of July 12, 1953. Mercedes remained with the June Taylor Dancers -- and "The Jackie Gleason Show" -- right up to the program's final cancellation in 1970.
        (4) WILLIAM HOLDEN: This was the only "WML?" appearance of the famed actor, one year before the release of one of his most famous films, "The Bridge on the River Kwai," in which he played "Commander Shears." Besides "Toward the Unknown," Mr. Holden was in one other movie that came out in 1956, "The Proud and Profane."
        (5) "WML?" CREDITS CRUNCH WATCH: Following the American Airlines plug, the end credits only go up to the art card for director Franklin Heller before cutting off. And GSN again proved its mettle in vexing the viewing audience with its persistent "crunching" of the screen during the end sequence on its October 2, 2008 airing of this episode.
        (6) ANOTHER DOUBLE-DOSE OF "Q-SIE": Following GSN's October 2, 2008 airing of tonight's show, the cable and satellite channel reran the March 23, 1954 edition of "The Name's the Same," hosted by Robert Q. Lewis, with the panel of Basil Rathbone, Bess Myerson, Gene Rayburn and Joan Alexander, and celebrity guest Jean Hersholt. Jean's "secret" was that he would be celebrating his 40th wedding anniversary in April 1954. In discussing his successful marriage to Via Andersen Hersholt, Jean Hersholt proclaimed, "If I had to do it over again, I wouldn't know anybody else I would want to marry." - W-B (2008)

        At the end of the show, John welcomed a new CBS affiliate station, WSPA-TV in Spartanburg, South Carolina. - Suzanne (2005)

        WSPA-TV, Channel 7, had signed on the air on April 29, 1956. As of 2007, it remains a CBS affiliate. Among those who have worked at that station in the past were veteran TV and radio personality Leeza Gibbons (a former co-host of "Entertainment Tonight") and Jane Robelot (a co-anchor of "CBS This Morning" in the early 1990's). - W-B (2007)

      • MAKE ROOM, PLEASE: When the June Taylor Dancers surround John's desk, they're packed so tightly that when he flips the cards, they hit the back of one girl's head. When it happens the second and final time, John looks rather disdainfully at the girl in question, and motions for her to get out of the way. - stopette (2005)

        By all accounts, Bennett Cerf is a really nice guy. However, his tendency to go for the jugular when playing the game actually evokes a bit of mild vitriol from John this evening. Bennett admits to independent knowledge of guest Al Beale - he said that he read about him in a major newspaper - and recalled his name from the article. Some observers would say that sportsmanship and fair play would have required Bennett to disqualify himself, as he in fact will do from time to time on future shows, and has done in the past. But tonight he pushes forward, saying, "Mr. Beale, your name rings a bell to me. ... I feel I've read something about you. Would you have anything to do with a current international crisis?" Upon receiving an affirmative response, he continues, "Then I have read about you. If I remember correctly, you're one of the pilots of the Suez Canal." As the audience applause dies down, John screws up his face comically and says, "Bennett, sir, I don't like you." John appears to be cloaking a mild scolding in the guise of a flip remark, and Bennett defends himself with a smile, saying, "I just read the New York Times." - Lee McIntyre (2005)

        Prior to airing this episode on May 19, 2005, GSN aired a 1956 episode of "To Tell the Truth" in which Hy Gardner asked a contestant claiming to be lion tamer Pat Anthony, "Have you ever been on 'What's My Lion'?" This was a typical Hal Block style joke. - Garrison Skunk (2005)

      • SUEZ CRISIS: Bennett opened the door to discuss politics when he asked the second guest, Captain Beale, about the "current international crisis" as he correctly termed it. The Captain was proven historically correct when he stated that he didn't see any resolution coming to the issue at any time soon. Indeed, the crisis evolved into war. - Suzanne (2005)

        MYSTERY GUEST: William Holden promoted his upcoming 1956 movie which opens on September 27, 1956, "Toward the Unknown" which was produced and directed by Mervyn LeRoy. The film chronicles the demands put upon test pilots. - Suzanne (2005)

        EARNSBERGER REFERENCED AGAIN: When greeting Capt. Beale in game two, John noted that a college is located in the town of College Park, Maryland. Indeed, the University of Maryland is still located there in 2005. John then mentioned a speech teacher, Professor Earnsberger. This is possibly the father of the boy (Ray Earnsberger) that John said was his godson on EPISODE #324 of August 19, 1956. - Suzanne (2005)

      • REVIEW: After the previous week's rather dismal performance, the panel nearly pulled a perfecto. In the first game, the panel made quick work of June Taylor and her dancers. Dorothy pretty much had it narrowed it down, but she made a very critical error when she guessed that they were New York's famed dance group, The Rockettes. However, Robert Q. was able to use Dorothy's line of questioning to make the correct guess. During the questioning, Q-sie mentioned that he had just recently worked with June's girls while he was filling in for "The Great One." In the second game, Bennett correctly identified Mr. Beale as being a Suez Canal pilot. However, Mr. Beale should have signed in as "Mr. X" due to the fact that his name had appeared in the news recently. It might have been because of this that John flipped over the rest of the cards, so he would get the full amount. In the mystery guest round, Arlene made the correct identification of former Oscar winner William Holden. Holden was on the show to promote the film "Toward the Unknown." In the final game, Bennett came really close to guessing the contestant's line. In fact, he guessed that the contestant had something to do with moth balls, but by the time he made the guess, John had flipped over all the cards. Even with this hiccup, it still was a great night for the panel. - Sargebri (2005)

        More on the Suez Crisis: This war was probably the last nail in the coffin of the British and French as major colonial powers. The two nations got the idea that if they were to come in on the war as sort of peacemakers, they would have the run of the canal and would be in control. However, the international community saw right through their scheme and the two nations were forced to withdraw. Also, as part of the fallout from the crisis, the nations of Lebanon, Iraq and Egypt decided to boycott the 1956 Summer Olympics in Melbourne, Australia. Those games also were stung by the boycott of the Netherlands, Spain and Switzerland, who were boycotting the games as a protest of the Soviet Union's invasion of Hungary. - Sargebri (2005)

        When Game Show Network aired this episode as part of its 2003 Black and White Overnight lineup trio of "To Tell the Truth," "What's My Line?" and "I've Got a Secret," they accidently showed a sped-up version of part of the "next week's sponsor" original commercial. The ad first showed two men who had a covering that they removed from their faces. Next, an announcer appeared with the words "HIDDEN BEARD" superimposed below him. This was an ad for the "Remington Rollectric Shaver For Men." When GSN next aired this episode in 2005, the vintage commercial was no longer present. - Garrison Skunk (2005)

        June Taylor was a choreographer. Her dance group was named the "June Taylor Dancers" and they were also featured on the Jackie Gleason Show. June sat next to John and her women were gathered all around the desk. They were not individually named. - Suzanne (2005)

        Tidbits: The panel is pre-seated at the outset of the show. - Suzanne (2005)

        Panel: Dorothy Kilgallen, Robert Q. Lewis, Arlene Francis, Bennett Cerf.

    • ALLUSIONS (0)