What's My Line?

Season 9 Episode 3


Aired Daily 12:00 AM Sep 15, 1957 on CBS
out of 10
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Episode Summary

Game 1: Erle Stanley Gardner (7/17/1889 - 3/11/1970) - "Mystery Writer" (as Mystery Guest #1 and the panel is blindfolded but the regular questioning format is used; self-employed; he writes Perry Mason, and the Perry Mason television series is scheduled to begin next week)

Game 2: Mr. V. Torriani - "Operates Cable Car In Swiss Alps" (salaried; he speaks both Russian and English during his game; from St. Moritz, Switzerland)

Game 3: George Sanders (7/3/1906 - 4/25/1972) (as Mystery Guest #2) We learn that he plays the piano and he sung on "The Perry Como Show" last night.

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)

    Erle Stanley Gardner

    Erle Stanley Gardner

    Mystery Guest #1

    Guest Star

    George Sanders

    George Sanders

    Mystery Guest #2

    Guest Star

    Jim Backus

    Jim Backus

    Guest Panelist

    Guest Star

    Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


    • TRIVIA (0)

    • QUOTES (1)

      • Jim Backus: Would you consider yourself one of the ten foremost novelists?
        Erle Stanley Gardner: I would, but Mr. Cerf wouldn't.

    • NOTES (5)

      • FLIP REPORT: John flipped the remaining cards for the second contestant at six down because time was running short. Dorothy Kilgallen had actually figured out this contestant's line, but was ruled out on a technicality when she said "funicular" instead of "cable car." - agent_0042 (2008)

      • (1) "WML?" SPONSOR AND PANEL WATCH: For this episode which saw Dorothy revert to her earlier brunette hair color (or black, as Bennett mentioned during the intros), Helene Curtis is the main sponsor. This was also the first of five appearances on the CBS "WML?," all as a guest panelist, by Martin Gabel's old roommate Jim Backus. Four of these appearances, including tonight, were in this year of 1957 alone; his fifth and final run on the panel was on EPISODE #769 of June 20, 1965, at the end of his first season as millionaire "Thurston Howell III" on "Gilligan's Island." Coincidentally, the panel lineup on that 1965 episode was in the same exact order as tonight.
        (2) ERLE STANLEY GARDNER: As mentioned elsewhere in the notes to this episode, the famed mystery writer's most famous creation, "Perry Mason," would be the focal point of a television series which will premiere within a week from tonight's show for the start of a nine-year run, lasting until 1966. It should be noted that there was a more soap opera-oriented radio adaptation of "Perry Mason" that ran from 1943 to 1955; the radio series strayed so far from Mr. Gardner's vision that the novelist disavowed any association with it. After the radio series ended, the cast moved to television with different character names, and the TV series became "The Edge of Night" which ran on CBS from 1956 to 1975 and on ABC from 1975 to 1984. "Edge's" final announcer, from 1972 until its cancellation, was Hal Simms who, as of tonight's show, was still "WML?'s" announcer. Prior to Mr. Simms, the announcer for "Edge" was Harry Kramer, who was also famous as being the announcer for the "CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite" from 1962 (when Mr. Cronkite first took over the evening newscast) until 1971.
        (3) GEORGE SANDERS: This was the legendary actor's first of two "WML?" appearances; his final one, on EPISODE #427 of August 10, 1958, was as a guest panelist. At the time of tonight's show, Mr. Sanders was in a movie, "The Seventh Sin," as "Tim Waddington"; he also hosted the short-lived drama anthology series, "The George Sanders Mystery Theater," which ran on NBC in the summer of 1957. It should be noted that it was because of Mr. Sanders' brother, fellow actor Tom Conway, that a stocky, American-born comic actor who originally shared the same name was forced to change his name to Tim Conway.
        (4) "WML?" CREDITS CRUNCH WATCH: For tonight's show, the travel arrangements plug for American Airlines was laid out in the same Futura Medium typeface as the other end credits, with the same artwork from cartoonist Roy Doty as the other art cards -- which this time out go all the way through, right up to the art card crediting production crew members Vernon Gamble and Hal Anderson. Needless to say, for GSN on its November 22, 2008 airing of this episode, it still wasn't complete without their ruining the experience for all via their demoralizing "crunching" of the screen.
        (5) "TICK, TICK, TICK...": Immediately after the November 22, 2008 airing of tonight's show, GSN repeated the July 5, 1955 edition of "The Name's the Same," hosted by Clifton Fadiman. With this episode, future newscaster and "60 Minutes" correspondent Mike Wallace joins the panel, remaining with the show to the very end only three months later; he and guest panelist Laraine Day were bookmarked by Roger Price to the viewer's left, and Joan Alexander to the viewer's right. The celebrity guest was singer Peggy King, whose appearance on this "TNTS" episode preceded by nearly two months her "WML?" mystery guest appearance on EPISODE #273 of August 28, 1955. - W-B (2008)

      • REVIEW: After the previous week's remarkable performance, the panel came crashing down to earth this time around. In the first game, they were totally stumped by "Perry Mason" creator Erle Stanley Gardner. In fact, as he was leaving the stage, Gardner gave a brief mention that his creation would be appearing in a new CBS series the following Saturday. In the second game, the panel also was stumped by the cable car operator from St. Moritz, Switzerland. However, Dorothy might as well have been given credit for the correct guess, because although she described his form of aerial transportation correctly, she accidently called it a funicular instead of a cable car. (A funicular is a railway that runs up the side of a mountain and is pulled by a moving cable.) For all her trouble, she ended up with a "no" and the Swedish guest won the game. In the mystery guest round, guest panelist and former roommate of Martin Gabel, Jim Backus, saved the evening from being a total loss as he almost out of the blue identified actor/director George Sanders, who gave the panel quite a run for their money by using a Russian accent. Backus later explained that he finally recognized Sanders' voice. - Sargebri (2005)

        FIRST GUEST ERLE STANLEY GARDNER: As Erle Stanley Gardner mentioned before he exited the stage, a television series based on his highly successful "Perry Mason" mystery novels was scheduled to begin within a week. Little did anyone know at the time that the series would become one of the longest running legal dramas in television history, running for nine seasons from 1957 to 1966. The show featured Raymond Burr as "Perry Mason," Barbara Hale as secretary "Della Street," William Hopper as private investigator "Paul Drake," William Talman as district attorney "Hamilton Burger" and Ray Collins as "Lt. Arthur Tragg." Of course, this was one of two roles that Burr would long be associated with. The other would be wheelchair-bound police Chief "Robert Ironside." Ironically, Burr originally auditioned for the role of Burger, but the producers were so impressed with his talent that he was cast as Mason. - Sargebri (2005)

        JOHN'S PROPHETIC STATEMENT: As the cable car operator was leaving the stage, John made an eerily prophetic statement. He told guest panelist Jim Backus that his 30 days on the island were up. What made it so prophetic was the fact that seven years after his appearance on this episode, Backus would start spending three years on an island as he was given the role of millionaire "Thurston Howell III" on the classic 1964-1967 castaway sitcom "Gilligan's Island." - Sargebri (2005)

      • DOROTHY'S HAIR COLOR: Dorothy is suddenly a brunette again, which Bennett mentions in the introductions! Prior to this, she had been a redhead. She first appeared with red hair on EPISODE #312 on May 27, 1956. - Suzanne (2005)

      • Tidbits: The panel is again seated at the introduction due to Arlene's ankle. - Suzanne (2003)

        Jim Backus (2/25/1913 - 7/3/1989)

        Panel: Dorothy Kilgallen, Jim Backus, Arlene Francis, Bennett Cerf.

    • ALLUSIONS (0)