ERNIE KOVACS WAS HIRED AS A PERMANENT PANELIST: In the "Comments" section of Gil Fates' handwritten log for "What's My Line?" EPISODE #375 of August 11, 1957 is a note underneath Ernie Kovacs' name which says, "begins as panelist." The comment for EPISODE #386 of October 27, 1957 reads, "not a good Kovacs show." We'll never know all the details of how or why, but the comment for EPISODE #387 of November 3, 1957 states, "Kovacs last regular show." In this short stretch of time, almost three months, Ernie Kovacs appeared as a regular panelist on only 9 episodes. Including his "guest panelist debut" on EPISODE #369 of June 30, 1957, Ernie made a total of 10 panel appearances over the span of the entire CBS series. In addition, he appeared twice as a mystery guest, for a total of 12 appearances. Even though the historical logs show that he was hired as a regular panelist by Goodson-Todman, this fact was never specifically announced on the series. It was, however, strongly hinted at on at least two occasions: On EPISODE #378 when John announced that Ernie would be gone for a few episodes; and on EPISODE #379 when Ernie's mystery guest overlay screen read "What's My Line? Panelist." - Suzanne (2008)
IF IT QUACKS LIKE A DUCK: Since Ernie Kovacs' tenure as a regular panelist was so short, these few appearances will be, for all intents and purposes, viewed historically as "guest panelist" appearances. - Suzanne (2008)
FLIP REPORT: Tonight, John did not increase any dollar amounts won by flipping cards for any of the contestants. - agent_0042 (2008)
OTHER MATTERS OF MONEY: Ernie Kovacs made a rare and oblique reference to the standard appearance fee for guest panelists when, while struggling during the second game, he jokingly quipped, "I'd give a thousand dollars to be home." - agent_0042 (2008)
(1) EDIE ADAMS TRIBUTE: In addition to being broadcast in regular rotation, GSN's November 17, 2008 airing of this episode served as an unofficial tribute to tonight's first mystery guest, Edie Adams, who died on October 15, 2008 at age 81.
(2) "WML?" SPONSOR WATCH: The honor of sponsoring tonight's show fell on Helene Curtis.
(3) MORE ON EDIE ADAMS: Earlier in 1957, the actress/singer -- still known at this point as Edith Adams -- appeared as the "Fairy Godmother" in the first production of Rodgers and Hammerstein's "Cinderella," which was telecast by CBS on March 31, 1957. This original production starred Julie Andrews as "Cinderella," and also featured Kaye Ballard and Alice Ghostley as the wicked stepsisters. As a side note, Miss Ghostley -- who died in 2007 -- never appeared on "WML?," either on CBS or in syndication; nor did Miss Ballard. For Miss Adams' appearance tonight, there were two overlays -- an upper-third "Mrs. Ernie Kovacs" as she was signing in, set in the "last-minute" font and with the "W" turned upside-down for use as an "M"; and the "Broadway Actress Edith Adams (Mrs. Ernie Kovacs)," set in Futura Demi Bold, after she took her seat next to Mr. Daly and the camera zoomed in on her.
(4) JANE RUSSELL: This was the first of two appearances by "The Full-Figured Gal" on "WML?" In 1967, ten years after tonight's show -- and the same year that CBS gave "WML?" the heave-ho -- Miss Russell appeared in a supporting role in the movie "The Born Losers," which was the first of four films over the next ten years to star Tom Laughlin as ex-Green Beret "Billy Jack."
(5) "WML?" CREDITS CRUNCH WATCH: As usual, the end of GSN's November 17, 2008 airing of this episode was plagued by their monomaniacal obsession with "crunching" the screen, from just before the American Airlines travel arrangements plug to the last art card crediting director Franklin Heller.
(6) Right after the November 17, 2008 airing of tonight's show, GSN repeated the May 23, 1955 edition of "The Name's the Same," hosted by Bob and Ray, with the panel of Roger Price, Audrey Meadows, Walter Slezak and Joan Alexander, and Jack E. Leonard as the celebrity guest. This episode was the first to open with the "steamboat" animated titles and the "Meet Me in St. Louis, Louis" theme song (which was a reference to the home base of "TNTS's" final sponsor, Ralston Purina); however, the "checkerboard" end credit roll was still used at this point. - W-B (2008)
POOR ARLENE!!! Due to the fact that Arlene injured her ankle while trying to act like a teenager, the panel was introduced already seated. This also could have been called "ladies night" as all the contestants were women. In the first game, guest panelist Ernie Kovacs correctly identified his lovely and funny wife Edie Adams, who used a comb and tissue paper at the beginning of the game in an attempt to disguise her voice, but later switched to using an English accent. Ernie then said that he recognized her perfume and the inflection of her voice. After the successful identification, Ernie jokingly asked why she wasn't home doing the dishes. Unfortunately, in the second game, the panel was totally stumped by the horse broker from England. In the mystery guest round, Bennett correctly identified "that famous full-figured gal" Jane Russell, who was on the show to promote to promote her film "The Fuzzy Pink Nightgown." which she produced with her husband, pro football great and future Hall of Famer, Bob Waterfield. All in all, the panel had a pretty decent night. - Sargebri (2005)
ONE BAD FLICK: As was mentioned earlier, Miss Russell was on the show to promote her latest film, "The Fuzzy Pink Nightgown." Unfortunately, the film was a huge flop. In fact, the movie was such a disaster that Jane took a seven year hiatus from films until she returned in 1964 in "Fate Is the Hunter." - Sargebri (2005)
Edie Adams is Ernie Kovacs' wife. They were married from 1955 until his unfortunate and untimely death in 1962. - Suzanne (2003)
Jane Russell promoted her 1957 film, "The Fuzzy Pink Night Gown," which is opening soon. Jane's husband, football star Bob Waterfield, is also mentioned. - Suzanne (2003)
Tidbits: When the show started, the panel was already seated. Arlene explained, with a laugh, that she had hurt her ankle because she "thought she was sixteen" and jumped some rails, injured her ankle, and was thus unable to walk. She won't walk on stage again until September 22, 1957. Until then, the panel is seated when the show begins. - Suzanne (2003)
Panel: Arlene Francis, Ernie Kovacs, Dorothy Kilgallen, Bennett Cerf.