What's My Line?

Season 8 Episode 18


Aired Daily 12:00 AM Dec 30, 1956 on CBS
out of 10
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Episode Summary


Game 1: The Harlem Globetrotters - "Harlem Globetrotters Basketball Team" (as Mystery Guest Team and the panel was blindfolded, but the regular questioning format was used; salaried; 12 members of the team appear - names below; member Leon Hillard demonstrates some fancy dribbling on stage and spins the ball on his finger; John mentions that they won earlier today and the score was 75-53)

Clarence Wilson (8/20/1926 - 9/18/1996), spokesman
George "Meadowlark" Lemon (4/25/1933 - 12/27/2015)
Charlie Hoxie (b. 3/11/1932)
Roman Turmon (3/14/1933 - 6/8/2001)
Andy Johnson (b. 11/8/1932)
Woodrow "Woody" Sauldsberry (7/11/1935 - 9/3/2007)
Carl Green (b. 1933)
Leon Hillard (12/30/1931 - 3/14/1977)
Willie Gardner (10/30/1933 - 9/28/2000)
William "Pop" Gates (8/30/1917 - 12/1/1999) (Coach)
Parnell Woods (2/6/1912 - 7/23/1977) (Business Manager)

Game 2: Miss Kathryn Ann Mautz (b. 1/27/1930) - "Judge" (salaried; at age 24 she was elected to a two-year term; John said she handles traffic cases and was reputedly the youngest judge in the country; from Spokane, Washington)

Game 3: Bert Lahr (8/13/1895 - 12/4/1967) (as Mystery Guest #2) His son Johnny is in the audience tonight. We learn that Johnny attended school with Bennett's son and also at one time danced with Dorothy's daughter Jill Kollmar.

Game 4: Walter Grancher - "Sells Used Warships for U.S. Navy (Battleships, Destroyers, Etc.)" (salaried; he is a civil service employee; he sells only obsolete ships; from New York, NY)


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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)

    The Harlem Globetrotters

    The Harlem Globetrotters

    Mystery Guest Team

    Guest Star

    Bert Lahr

    Bert Lahr

    Mystery Guest #2

    Guest Star

    Stubby Kaye

    Stubby Kaye

    Guest Panelist

    Guest Star

    Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


    • TRIVIA (0)

    • QUOTES (0)

    • NOTES (5)

      • FLIP REPORT: John flipped the remaining cards for the second contestant at two down. Dorothy had guessed this contestant's line, but John flipped the cards anyway, saying she was a "lovely guest." In the final game, John flipped the remaining cards for the final contestant at eight down. In this case, the panel basically identified the products the contestant dealt with, but failed to identify the exact service. - agent_0042 (2008)

      • (1) "WML?" SPONSOR WATCH: For this final show of 1956, the main sponsor is Helene Curtis, for the first time in six weeks.
        (2) THE HARLEM GLOBETROTTERS: The legendary basketball team makes its only "WML?" appearance tonight. The version of "Sweet Georgia Brown," which was their theme for many years starting in 1952, was recorded by Brother Bones and His Shadows, and released on Tempo single # TR 652 in late 1948. Brother Bones consisted of knuckle-bone master and whistler Herb Kern, clarinetist Joe Darensbourg, and an organ. It was a Top 10 hit in early 1949. (Source: "Joel Whitburn's Pop Hits: 1940-1954," published in 1994.) It was this recording that, due to its exposure at Globetrotters games and in radio and television advertising, has become definitive in the opinion of many. In addition, the brief demonstration of one of their hoop tricks was a harbinger of what would become common on the syndicated 1968-1975 version of "WML?"
        (3) BERT LAHR: This was the legendary rubber-faced comedian's first extant "WML?" appearance, as his very first appearance, on EPISODE #47 of April 22, 1951, is among the 100-plus episodes of the 1950-1952 period that are now lost to history. Mr. Lahr's lower-third overlay was set in Futura Medium, in contrast to the other contestants' overlays which were set in Futura Demi Bold. It was less than two months prior to tonight's show, on November 3, 1956, that Mr. Lahr and a then-very young Liza Minnelli co-hosted the first television screening of "The Wizard of Oz," as an installment of "Ford Star Jubilee."
        (4) "SHOULD AULD ACQUAINTANCE BE FORGOT...": The year of 1956 about to end has also borne witness to other turning points in the show's history. Here are a few stand-out highlights:

        EPISODE #295 of January 29, 1956 - The only time that Fred Allen and Steve Allen (no relation) appeared on the panel together.

        EPISODE #301 of March 11, 1956 - Final appearance of Fred Allen on the panel.

        EPISODE #302 of March 18, 1956 - The first time since the experimental color EPISODE #225 of September 19, 1954 that the other "classic" panel of Arlene Francis, Steve Allen, Dorothy Kilgallen and Bennett Cerf were assembled on the panel - but by no means the last.

        EPISODE #303 of March 25, 1956 - Final episode to be sponsored by Jules Montenier, Inc., and the final one to be announced by Lee Vines, who had been with the series from the beginning. Hal Simms, who had been sub-announcer up to this point, takes over as regular announcer the next week.

        EPISODE #305 of April 8, 1956 - First episode to be sponsored by Helene Curtis Industries, Inc., which purchased Jules Montenier, Inc., and its brand products (including Stopette).

        EPISODE #313 of June 3, 1956 - First episode on which overlay screens for contestants' occupations and mystery guest names were set in Futura Demi Bold. It replaced Kabel Heavy (alternately known as Kabel Bold, and also known as Sans Serif Bold) which had been used since 1952.

        EPISODE #321 of July 29, 1956 - Last episode to date in which occupation overlay screens used a combination of all-capital letters and mixed-case (upper and lower case letters) - for the final contestant Miss Dorothy Jambrek: "ALIMONY CLERK (Receives And Makes Payments - Municipal Court)."

        EPISODE #323 of August 12, 1956 - First episode of "WML?" to originate outside of New York; this special edition emanated from the studios of CBS-owned and operated station WBBM-TV (Channel 2) in Chicago, Illinois, in advance of the 1956 Democratic National Convention. It was also the only "on-the-road" episode on which regulars Dorothy Kilgallen, Arlene Francis and Bennett Cerf sat on the panel.

        EPISODE #327 of September 9, 1956 - First of a total of 65 appearances (62 as guest panelist, three as mystery guest) by Tony Randall.

        EPISODE #340 of December 9, 1956 - First of a total of 114 appearances (112 as guest panelist, two as mystery guest) by Martin Gabel.

        (5) "WML?" CREDITS CRUNCH WATCH: The earlier, plain American Airlines logo card was used for the travel arrangements plug on tonight's show, and the end credits cut short after the art card for director Franklin Heller. While 1956 was about to give way to 1957, on GSN's October 16, 2008 airing of this episode, its practice of "crunching" of the screen didn't change one bit.
        (6) The October 16, 2008 airing of tonight's show was followed by the June 29, 1954 edition of "The Name's the Same." Host Robert Q. Lewis has returned to his perch after three weeks off, and the panel configuration of Arnold Stang, Bess Myerson, Gene Rayburn and Joan Alexander has also returned -- for now. The celebrity guest was Peter Lawford -- exactly one year and one day after his first "WML?" appearance on EPISODE #161 of June 28, 1953. - W-B (2008)

      • HARLEM GLOBETROTTERS: Twelve guests from THE HARLEM GLOBETROTTERS appeared tonight, and John Daly read off twelve names. However, the final member that John named was not able to make it - Paul Hardy - so that means that one of the men on stage was not named. Was it Abe Saperstein, the man who founded the team? If so, he was the "short guy" standing next to the guest's seat. Interestingly, the team was started in Chicago. The A&E Biography explained that the name "Harlem" was chosen because they wanted a name which would specifically link the group to African-Americans, hence, Harlem.

        The members that John introduced were:

        01. Clarence Wilson, who acted as the WML spokesman and sat next to John Daly
        02. George "Meadowlark" Lemon
        03. Charlie Hoxie
        04. Roman Turmon
        05. Andy Johnson
        06. Woodrow "Woody" Sauldsberry
        07. Carl Green
        08. Leon Hillard
        09. Willie Gardner
        10. William "Pop" Gates (Coach)
        11. Parnell Woods (Business Manager)
        12. Paul Hardy (Manager) (Not present tonight)

        "Sweet Georgia Brown" became the team's official theme song in 1952. - Suzanne (2005)

      • MYSTERY GUEST BERT LAHR: There is probably only one baby boomer in one thousand who has not seen Bert Lahr, cast as both "Zeke" and "The Cowardly Lion," in MGM's epic 1939 adaptation of L. Frank Baum's novel, The Wizard of Oz. The CBS television network ran the sepiatone and color fantasy annually during much of the 1950s and 1960s. Although Lahr is best known for this role, it was by no means his only claim to fame, as this was at least his 16th role in a feature film. He broke into show business in 1929, starring in the Murray Roth short feature Faint Heart. During his career, Lahr had roles in at least 27 Hollywood productions. His final appearance was as "Professor Spats" in The Night They Raided Minsky's, also known as The Night They Invented Striptease. This comedy was released in 1968, after Lahr's death. The Cowardly Lion died December 4, 1967, the victim of hemorrhage and pneumonia. - Lee McIntyre (2005)

      • REVIEW: After the previous week's poor performance, the panel rebounded nicely this episode. In the first game, Bennett correctly identified those Clown Princes of Basketball and Ambassadors of Goodwill, The Harlem Globetrotters. After the game, John introduced all the members and Bennett requested that they do some of their tricks, even though they were wearing business suits. As requested, Hillard treated us to some tricky dribbling in the area in front of John's desk. In the second game, the panel made short work of the rather young female judge from Spokane, Washington. John must have really been taken with her, because he held several conferences with her and also flipped all the cards over so she would win a larger amount. In the mystery guest round, Arlene correctly identified Bert Lahr, who didn't really promote anything. In the post game chat, Bennett asked Lahr about Lahr's now-closed 1956 Broadway play "Waiting for Godot" by Samuel Beckett. Bennett opined that he didn't understand the play and asked Lahr if he did. Being nice to Bennett, Lahr replied that he didn't fully understand it either, but still enjoyed it. Unfortunately, in the final game, the panel ran out of time so the used naval ship dealer won the full prize by default. However, this didn't stop the panel from entering the new year on a happy note. - Sargebri (2005)

        BASKETBALL GREATS: This wouldn't be the Globetrotters final appearance on television - not by a "long shot." Their basketball wizardry would become a staple on television for years to come. Both adults and kids loved the team, and from 1970-1973, the Globbies were given their own animated cartoon series produced by Hanna-Barbera and broadcast on CBS. From 1972-1973, they appeared on "The New Scooby-Doo Movies" cartoon series. In 1974, they starred in a live-action CBS variety show, "The Harlem Globetrotters Popcorn Machine." Yet another Hanna-Barbera animated series, "The Super Globetrotters," appeared in 1979, but it was shown on NBC. However, their annual appearances on ABC's "Wide World of Sports" would turn out to be some of the highest rated episodes for that series. A few nights before GSN aired this episode in 2005, A&E Biography aired their excellent documentary about the history of this team. - Sargebri (2005)

        Tidbits: At the end of the show, Dorothy announced that Stubby Kaye would be making a guest appearance on "The Dinah Shore Show" on January 13, 1957. - Suzanne (2005)

        Panel: Dorothy Kilgallen, Stubby Kaye, Arlene Francis, Bennett Cerf.

    • ALLUSIONS (0)