What's My Line?

Season 8 Episode 39


Aired Daily 12:00 AM May 26, 1957 on CBS



  • Trivia

  • Quotes

    • Arlene Francis: (making a request of Sammy Davis, Jr. that is honored with some fancy footwork when he shakes Arlene's hand after his game) I'd like him to dance off when he makes his exit.

  • Notes

    • FLIP REPORT: Tonight, John did not increase any dollar amounts won by flipping cards for any of the contestants. - agent_0042 (2008)

    • (1) "WML?" SPONSOR, CURTAIN ENTRANCE AND TITLE OVERLAY WATCH: Tonight's main sponsor was the Remington Rollectric shaver for men. And there is a little variation in the curtain entrance tonight, as Arlene comes out first and then introduces Dorothy for what she says is the first time in 7½ years, followed by Dorothy, Bennett and finally guest panelist Errol Flynn who is seated between Arlene and Dorothy. And this was the last edition to feature the opening "What's My Line?" title overlay as seen over the center of the stage, which has been in use since EPISODE #288 of December 11, 1955.
      (2) SKIPPED EPISODE - BUT NOT BY GSN: After airing EPISODE #362 on November 5, 2008, GSN skipped to tonight's show on November 6, 2008 -- as EPISODE #363 is among the 16 post-1952 "WML?" episodes that have been lost to the ages, on top of the 100-plus 1950-1952 episodes.
      (3) "NO MYSTERY GUEST SPOT FOR YOU": While future "60 Minutes" interlocutor Mike Wallace became the "mystery guest that never was," thanks to John's intransigent opposition, Mike Wallace did have a legitimate Goodson-Todman connection. In the last months of "The Name's the Same" in 1955, Mr. Wallace was a panelist -- a capacity he also filled frequently in the early episodes of "To Tell the Truth." Coincidentally, after "TNTS's" run on GSN ends in December 2008, "TTTT" reruns are scheduled to take the second half of the "Black & White Overnight" block.
      (4) "WML?" OVERLAY FONT WATCH: Most of the overlays for this episode are set in Futura Demi Bold. Of course, due to the backstage drama over the mystery guest slot and Sammy Davis, Jr.'s filling in at the very last minute, the multi-talented entertainer's lower-third overlay is set in the customary "last-minute" typeface.
      (5) "WML?" CREDITS CRUNCH WATCH: Following the travel arrangements plug for American Airlines, the end credits only go up to the "In Association with the CBS Television Network" art card. But while the end credits were truncated in length, for unknown reasons, they weren't truncated in aspect ratio, as for the first time in ages, GSN ran the sequence in glorious full screen and original audio (meaning, the ending "Rollercoaster" theme music could be heard again) on its November 6, 2008 airing of this episode -- refraining from its usual temptation to "crunch" the screen -- to the giddy delight of the viewing audience.
      (6) The November 6, 2008 airing of tonight's show by GSN was followed by the March 7, 1955 edition of "The Name's the Same," hosted by Dennis James, with the panel assembled on this occasion as Roger Price, Audrey Meadows, John Forsythe and Joan Alexander, and singing star Tony Bennett as the celebrity guest. - W-B (2005, updated 2008)

    • HUGE MYSTERY GUEST FLAP: Sammy Davis, Jr. was a last-minute mystery guest substitution for Mike Wallace. "What's My Line?" executive producer Gil Fates explains in his 1978 "What's My Line?" book that John Daly and Mike Wallace had professional differences that stemmed from the fact that they were both newsmen for ABC. Through a leak at ABC, John found out 5 hours before WML air time that Wallace was scheduled to be a mystery guest. He called Fates and told him he refused to do a show with Wallace. Fates then booked Sammy Davis, Jr., who was appearing at the Latin Quarter two blocks away from the "WML?" studio. Fates said that things went smoothly that night and the crisis had been averted. However, the next morning, the front page of the New York Journal-American carried this headline:


      Fates stated that there was no byline, but that the article was unmistakably written by Dorothy Kilgallen. The article ended by saying, "TV insiders claim that Daly was violently opposed to ABC's hiring of Wallace in the first place." Fates found out that after the show that evening, Dorothy had "pried the details out of Bob Bach." Fates went on to say, "Aside from the mechanics needed to operate the program, Daly didn't speak to Dorothy Kilgallen for almost six months." - Suzanne (2005)


      REVIEW: Despite of all the backstage drama, the panel did a great job this particular evening. In fact, for the first time in a long time, the panel had a perfect evening. It also was quite an unusual evening due to the fact that Arlene introduced Dorothy, Dorothy introduced Bennett, and Bennett introduced guest panelist Errol Flynn who introduced John. In the first game, Dorothy correctly identified the rather attractive female hunting guide from Nairobi, Kenya. Before her game, John purposely didn't say where she was from, for fear that the panel would get a huge hint about what her line was. When Bennett heard her line, it gave him a chance to a chance to give one of his worst puns ever when he said "Safari, So good." Dorothy also had a correct guess in the second game when she correctly guessed that the contestant made handcuffs, but it was after Arlene had determined that the contestant had something to do with them. In the mystery guest round, Arlene correctly identified Sammy Davis Jr., who was in the middle of an engagement at the Copacabana. He almost managed to fool the panel using a variety of different voices, including Jimmy Cagney and James Stewart. Sammy also said that he was quite sure that Dorothy would be the one to identify him. He also delighted the audience and the panel when, as he was saying goodnight to the panel, he did a cute little dance step. Also, during the goodnights, Mr. Flynn said he hoped to come back again to redeem himself for his poor performance. However, Mr. Flynn never did return again as a guest panelist, though history shows that he did appear one more time on the program, about six months later on EPISODE #391 of December 1, 1957 as a mystery guest. - Sargebri (2005)

      MYSTERY GUEST: Even though there was a lot of drama concerning the mystery guest controversy, Sammy Davis Jr. helped to calm things down with his wonderful charm and great performance. However, it must have made Sammy's buddy, and Rat Pack crony, Frank Sinatra cringe when he saw Sammy exchanging pleasantries with Ole' Blue Eyes' mortal enemy, and former friend, Dorothy Kilgallen. Sammy has the third most "Rat Pack" appearances on the show behind fellow Packers Joey Bishop and Peter Lawford. - Sargebri (2005)

    • Tidbits: Happy Birthday, Bennett! Yesterday was your 59th birthday. Errol Flynn smokes during the show. - Suzanne (2005)

      Errol Flynn (6/20/1909 - 10/14/1959)

      Panel: Arlene Francis, Errol Flynn, Dorothy Kilgallen, Bennett Cerf.

  • Allusions