GOOF: There is an unusual and awkward moment at the end of the show when John accidently forgets to cut to the final commercial break from "next week's sponsor." Instead, he starts saying goodnight to the panel before the advertisement from the "alternate sponsor." The camera stays on John, waiting for him to break, but he doesn't. Meantime, while we still see John, Arlene says good night to Martin Gabel, all off-camera. Finally, the camera moves to Martin Gabel and he says his good night, and the good nights continue to the end. When the camera gets back to John, he acknowledges his mistake and goes to commercial. He then reappears only to say one final good night, his own. - videopro1 (2005)
FLIP REPORT: John flipped the remaining cards for the first contestant at eight down. The panel had correctly guessed the contestant's line of "composer," but was unable to make the identification by name in time. In the second game, John flipped the remaining cards for the second contestant at three down. The panel had not been close on this one, so John flipped the cards, which amusingly got "stuck" on the rings and did not come all the way over and down, causing them to stick out at an odd angle and not lay flat as usual. Finally, he flipped the remaining cards for the final contestant at one down. In this case, Martin Gabel had guessed the contestant's line almost right away. John flipped the cards, saying in a faux Scottish accent, "They can't do that to anyone who comes all the way from Scotland to us." - agent_0042 (2008)
(1) "WML?" SPONSOR WATCH: For this historic episode, tonight's main sponsor was the Remington Rollectric shaver for men, for the third straight week.
(2) THE "MARTIN GABEL ERA" BEGINS - PART I: Tonight's show was the debut appearance of Martin Gabel on "WML?," beginning a long relationship that continued right up to the very last CBS "WML?" EPISODE #876 of September 3, 1967 -- a span of exactly ten years and nine months. Of Mr. Gabel's 112 total guest panelist appearances, the bulk of them -- 99 -- were from the "with Dorothy" era; a conservative estimate was that in that period, he made an average of 11 appearances per year. By contrast, from Miss Kilgallen's death in 1965 until "WML?'s" 1967 cancellation, Martin was only on the panel 13 times, for an average of 7 appearances per year in the "post-Dorothy" era. This contrasted with the second most-prolific "WML?" guest panelist Tony Randall's tally as detailed in the notes to EPISODE #327 of September 9, 1956 (only three months to the day prior to tonight's show), both in the "with Dorothy" and "post-Dorothy" eras. Speaking of Mr. Randall, he and Mr. Gabel later appeared on the panel together on four "WML?" editions: EPISODE #601 of February 11, 1962; EPISODE #802 of February 6, 1966; EPISODE #860 of May 7, 1967; and EPISODE #873 of August 13, 1967 -- the last of which was also notable because they were joined by the most prolific female guest panelist of the "post-Kilgallen" era, Phyllis Newman.
(3) MARTIN GABEL - PART II: As the years went on, the panel lineup as assembled tonight would be in place for 54 more editions up to and including EPISODE #767 of June 6, 1965, with 24 of those shows on which Dorothy sat on the far end of the panel desk. Of this tally of 54 remaining episodes, only one show -- EPISODE #363 of May 19, 1957 -- no longer exists today. Six of Mr. Gabel's guest panelist stints were on shows without his lovely wife Arlene Francis: EPISODE #396 of January 5, 1958, with guest panelist Hedy Lamarr; EPISODE #492 of November 29, 1959, with guest panelist Paulette Goddard; EPISODE #493 of December 6, 1959, with guest panelist Joan Collins; EPISODE #507 of April 3, 1960, with guest panelist Polly Bergen; and two successive shows -- EPISODE #570 of June 25, 1961 and EPISODE #571 of July 2, 1961 -- with guest panelist Suzy Parker.
(4) "WML?" OVERLAY FONT WATCH: Most overlay screens displayed on tonight's show are set in the usual Futura Demi Bold font -- except for mystery guest Shelley Winters' overlay which is set in Futura Medium.
(5) DIMITRI TIOMKIN: This was the famed film composer's only "WML?" appearance. In this year of 1956, Mr. Tiomkin scored three motion pictures: "Tension at Table Rock," "Giant," and "Friendly Persuasion." Among the four movies he scored in 1957 included "Gunfight at the O.K. Corral." As a side note, however, two of his most famous lyrical collaborators of movie themes, Ned Washington and Paul Francis Webster, never made any appearances on "WML?" [Ned Washington wrote the lyrics to "High Noon (Do Not Forsake Me" (from 1952's "High Noon") and Paul Francis Webster did likewise for "Ballad of the Alamo" and "The Green Leaves of Summer" (both from the 1960 John Wayne flick "The Alamo"; the former song was a minor hit for the folk duo Bud & Travis on Liberty single #F-55284 that year.]
(6) "WML?" CREDITS CRUNCH WATCH: Time ran so short at the end that after the American Airlines plug, the end credits only went to the "In Association with the CBS Television Network" art card, followed by a brief shot of the CBS "multiple eyes" ID before cutting abruptly to black. Being as GSN's October 13, 2008 airing of this episode fell on Columbus Day, it could be argued that their showing the American Airlines logo card in full screen raised some hopes that the cable and satellite channel would be entering the New World -- but afterwards, it wound up not venturing beyond the Old World, based on its lamentable "crunching" of the screen.
(7) A PORTENT OF THE FUTURE ON "TNTS": GSN's October 13, 2008 airing of tonight's show was followed by the June 8, 1954 edition of "The Name's the Same." This was the first of a three-week stretch where Clifton Fadiman, already known for his hosting of the radio series "Information Please," guest-hosted for then-regular host Robert Q. Lewis; Mr. Fadiman would be the final "TNTS" host for its final months on the air in 1955, and later be one of only three substitute "panel moderators" for John Charles Daly on "WML?" The panel once again consisted of Roger Price, Bess Myerson, Gene Rayburn and Joan Alexander (only Mr. Price and Miss Alexander would still be on the panel during the "Fadiman era" of "TNTS"), and the celebrity guest was former "TNTS" guest panelist Dane Clark. - W-B (2008)
REVIEW: This was a decent night for the panel. In the first game, Arlene and Bennett both came close when they figured out that Dimitri Tiomkin was a composer. In fact, as the questioning began, Bennett did say he looked familiar. Unfortunately, they were unable to formally identify him, so John decided to flip the cards over. After the game, Arlene requested Tiomkin to repeat a memorable speech he gave at an Oscar awards function, so he did. In the second game, the panel managed to figure out that the contestant made wearing apparel. However, they never did narrow it down to determine that she made nightcaps for bald men. What really made it funny was the fact that a rather balding Martin was the first one to question her. Also, Martin pretty much got in a stinger on John, as well as Bennett, who were also beginning to have receding hairlines. In the mystery guest round, Martin correctly identified Shelley Winters, who tried to fool the panel by deepening her voice. In the final game, Martin really shone when he identified the Scottish bookie. This definitely put a capper on a memorable rookie panel appearance and showed what was to come in later years. - Sargebri (2005)
THE BEGINNING OF ANOTHER LONG AND BEAUTIFUL FRIENDSHIP!!! As was mentioned earlier, this was the first appearance of Martin Gabel on the panel. Right from the start, he showed the qualities that made him so popular that he was essentially thought of as one of the regulars. Ironically, a few weeks before Martin made his debut, Tony Randall also made his debut on the panel. These two men rank first and second for the largest number of WML guest panelist appearances. - Sargebri (2005)
FIGHTING FOR FREEDOM IN HUNGARY: After the final game, John made an appeal for people to donate to the Red Cross, CARE, or their church, and ask that the funds specifically go to help the Hungarian freedom fighters. John explained that the U.S. President had requested that five million dollars in emergency funds be donated. This was near the time of the failed revolt by the citizens of Hungary to overthrow Communism. Nikita Khrushchev ordered Warsaw Pact troops to that country and the resulting invasion left tens of thousands dead and many more wounded. Also interesting is the fact that the invasion happened a few weeks before the Olympic Games in Melbourne, Australia. The fallout from the invasion resulted in the Netherlands, Spain and Switzerland boycotting the games. It also resulted in one of the most violent incidents in Olympic history when Hungary met the Soviets in a water polo match. The Hungarians decided during the match that they would give them a match they would never forget. During the game, the Hungarian team decided to take out their frustrations on the Soviets and within a matter of a few minutes the pool turned red as players from both teams began brawling in the pool. In fact, it got so rough that the Soviets gave up and left the pool before any of their players got seriously hurt. The Hungarians went on to win the gold and after the game many of the players and coaches defected and decided to stay in Australia. - Sargebri (2005)
SECOND CONTESTANT: Isabelle Hemphill is almost certainly related to an elderly guest on EPISODE #279 of October 9, 1955. On that previous show, the fourth guest is Edward Hemphill, also from San Francisco, California, who has the line of "Makes Sleep Masks." He also makes the masks for the male WML panelists. In a possibly related fact, I knew a man named Edgar S. Hemphill, also from San Francisco, who used to work at Bank of America. He may have been related to Edward and Isabelle. When he retired in 1976, Edgar Hemphill was vice-president and manager of the Stockton main office. He passed away on August 6, 2001 at age 90. - Suzanne (2005)
WELCOME, MARTIN GABEL: This is Martin Gabel's first appearance as a guest panelist. Arlene mentions that they have been married for ten years. He will become the most-frequent WML guest, with 114 appearances, twice as a mystery guest and 112 times as a guest panelist over the 17.5 year run of the show. - Suzanne (2005)
Tidbits: Martin Gabel is currently appearing off-Broadway in the play "The Hidden River." The show will perform on Broadway from January 23, 1957 to March 16, 1957, and run for a total of 61 performances. - Suzanne (2005)
Martin Gabel (6/19/1911 - 5/22/1986)
Panel: Arlene Francis, Martin Gabel, Dorothy Kilgallen, Bennett Cerf.
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