What's My Line?

Season 9 Episode 15


Aired Daily 12:00 AM Dec 08, 1957 on CBS



  • Trivia

    • GOOF: John made a mistake during the game with the four professional Santa Clauses. As John gave Dorothy a "No," he flipped a card and said, clear as a bell, "three down and three to go." Of course, he should have said, "three down and seven to go." Nobody on the panel seemed to notice his mathematical faux pas. With the next flip, everything was back in order with "four down and six to go." - Lee McIntyre (2005)

  • Quotes

    • Peter Ustinov: (to the professional Santa Clauses) If I broke, uh, any rule, would I have anything to fear from you, by a certain stretch of the imagination?
      John Daly: By any stretch of the imagination?
      Peter Ustinov: Yes.
      John Daly: If you broke any rule, would you have anything to fear by any stretch of the imagination? Yes.

    • Arlene Francis: (to the professional Santa Clauses) Do you have anything to do with, um, keeping the peace in any way?
      John Daly: In a very broad sense, you might say yes, but I'm not going to.

    • John Daly: (clarifying a response -- without much success -- to Peter Ustinov as to whether the connection between Edith Young and Phyllis Cerf is inseparable) That was a no, but I won't give you an official no on that because "inseparably" suggests that there is a closer relationship overall than exists, but for the purposes of the occupation which we are here working on, I would say that there is a certain degree of inseparability, however it is not complete.
      Peter Ustinov: That's like a statement from the government. (loud laughter from audience)
      John Daly: That's the nicest thing that's ever been said to me, Peter. Thank you.
      Peter Ustinov: Not really.

  • Notes

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

      KAY THOMPSON: In questioning Joan Crawford, Bennett asked if she had created a character and received a positive response. He continued his questioning by asking if that particular character was "an amazingly attractive little girl named Eloise," to which Joan Crawford responded, "I can't dance as well as Kay Thompson, nor sing as well." Multi-talented Kay Thompson was born in 1908, passed away in 1998 and, unfortunately, never made any appearances on "What's My Line?" She served as the music arranger for vocals in a number of films, mainly in the 1940s, and also wrote or performed several songs. Today, however, Kay Thompson is perhaps most widely known for the character that Bennett referenced, "Eloise." This character was featured in books written by Thompson and illustrated by Hilary Knight. This series remains popular today and has also been adapted into two films to date. - agent_0042 (2008)

    • (1) "WML?" SPONSOR AND PANEL WATCH: Tonight's main sponsor, for the second straight week, is the Remington "Rollectric" shaver. And once again this evening, John Daly pronounced Peter Ustinov's surname as "OO-stinov." It is correctly pronounced as "YOU-stinov."
      (2) JOAN CRAWFORD - PART I: The veteran screen star makes the first of five appearances as a "WML?" mystery guest, as she would make between now and EPISODE #820 of July 3, 1966 -- a tally which ties her with the likes of Bob Hope, The McGuire Sisters, and a few others. While she hardly did television up to this point, Miss Crawford's presence on the small screen increased in proportion to her dwindling film career over the next decade, and into the early 1970's. Besides her vast TV credits as detailed in places such as IMDb and TV.com, Joan even hosted a "Joan Crawford Week" retrospective of her old movies (generally from the pre-1948 period when she was at Warner Brothers) on New York station WNEW-TV's (Channel 5, now WNYW) late-evening "11:30 Movie" in the early 1970's. It should be noted that at the time of tonight's show, Miss Crawford was in the middle of her fifth and final marriage, to Pepsi-Cola chairman and CEO Alfred Steele, which lasted from 1956 until his death in 1959; for years afterward, until her forced retirement in 1973, Joan sat on the board of directors of PepsiCo.
      (3) JOAN CRAWFORD - PART II: There would be something of an irony to Miss Crawford's November 8, 1965 videotaped appearance alongside "impostors" Dorothy Kilgallen and Arlene Francis on the daytime "To Tell the Truth," aside from that show's airing only hours after Miss Kilgallen was found dead. On November 8, 1969 -- exactly four years to the day after Dorothy's untimely passing -- Miss Crawford was one of the stars of a "NBC World Premiere Movie" presentation called "Night Gallery" that ended up serving as the pilot for the 1970-1973 supernatural anthology series "Rod Serling's Night Gallery." Joan starred in the second story, titled "Eyes," as "Miss Claudia Menlo," a blind woman who blackmails a surgeon and a man in need of money to give her a pair of eyes that would allow her to see for the first time, albeit only for a day; but the plan backfires horribly, in ways beyond her imagination. "Eyes" was also notable as the professional directorial debut of a young up-and-comer named Steven Spielberg, who went on to become a major "macher" or "player" in the movie business more than half a decade from this highly and extremely auspicious beginning.
      (4) "WML?" CREDITS CRUNCH WATCH: After displaying the card with the address to use for obtaining free mail-order "WML?" studio tickets, the full production crew credits were once again shown -- albeit in the usual eye-rolling and sigh-inducing "crunching" of the screen by GSN on its December 4, 2008 airing of this episode.
      (5) SPEAKING OF "TTTT": Following GSN's December 4, 2008 airing of tonight's show, the cable and satellite channel reran the January 8, 1957 edition of "To Tell the Truth," with host Bud Collyer and the panel consisting of Polly Bergen, Hume Cronyn, Hildy Parks and Dick Van Dyke. The first game featured professional wrestler Ricky Starr and two impostors, and the second game featured Patricia Stadelman (Jackie Gleason's receptionist) and two impostors. (As a side note, the spelling of Patricia Stadelman's name is verified in Jim Bishop's 1956 Jackie Gleason biography titled "The Golden Ham," p. 27: "[Gleason] bows an elaborate hello to Miss Patricia Stadelman, the cute blond receptionist..." She was also known as Pat Stadelman.) - W-B (2005, updated 2008)

    • CRYPTOGRAMS: When not collaborating on books together, Phyllis Fraser Cerf and Edith Young were also creating cryptogram puzzles (a piece of writing in code or cipher) which were published in the Saturday Review magazine. The first one appeared in the then-weekly Saturday Review on June 26, 1943. The final one appeared in the then-monthly June 1982 Saturday Review. The cryptograms to decipher were usually short quotes or sayings by famous people. The solutions to the puzzles were printed in the following issue. In the August 5, 1944 edition, "Fraser Young's Literary Crypt No. 59" featured a quote from none other than Bennett Cerf, which was deciphered as "Zulu xylophonists would intensify jungle cacophony." The ladies created almost 1,700 of these little games over the span of four decades. - Suzanne & cerfnet (2008)


      REVIEW: The panel did fairly well this particular episode. It got off to a great beginning when Bennett figured out that a fast one was being pulled on him by having his lovely wife Phyllis and her writing partner Edith Young on the show. Phyllis really seemed to get a kick out of almost fooling her hubby and it was really nice to see the two of them smooch as she was exiting the stage. In the second game, the panel suffered their only defeat of the night when they failed to correctly guess that the four contestants were department store Santa Clauses. What may have led to their downfall was that no one bothered to ask if their work was seasonal, especially since Christmas was only a little over two weeks away. Perhaps if they had asked that, the door would have been blown wide open for them. The panel did bounce back quite nicely in the mystery guest round when Arlene was able to correctly identify Oscar winning screen legend Joan Crawford. Miss Crawford, who seemed quite nervous, was on the show to promote the charity benefit that she was involved with for the international adoption organization WAIF. Of course, this was a very personal issue for her since she adopted her four children. This definitely put a nice cap on this episode. - Sargebri (2005)

      MYSTERY GUEST: Though Miss Crawford admitted that she never appeared on television, she did later make a memorable 1968 appearance on the soap opera "The Secret Storm." In that appearance, she took over the role of "Joan Borman Kane" when her adopted daughter Christina was forced to temporarily leave the show due to illness. The whole incident was documented in Christina's tell-all book "Mommie Dearest." - Sargebri (2005)

      FUNNY PHIL SILVERS: Just prior to GSN's airing of this episode in July 2005, GSN showed a 1958 episode of "To Tell the Truth" featuring guest panelist Phil Silvers. Silvers made a very funny remark when he said that he was suffering from a cold and was sent by the "WML?" panel to infect the "TTTT" panel. - Sargebri (2005)

    • It doesn't get much better than this! From the opening shot of AF entering wearing her now jewel-studded eye patch (which BC announced would be removed on Tuesday) to the last image of JD flubbing some lines he was reading and then saying "What's My Line?" in some kind of Jerry Lewis fashion, it was quite a wonderful ride this evening! Highlights: During the introductions, BC says, "And Dorothy is lovelier than ever" (awwwwww!!), BC not recognizing his wife's voice during questioning, (by the way, Mrs. Cerf is darling!), Joan Crawford saying to BC, "You didn't even know your own wife, don't be silly, you're gonna know me?" That got a big laugh! Joan "broke her rule" about appearing on TV to promote something that was "very close to her heart"... (adoption)! - I'm not even going to go there! - fiveninegal (2003)

    • Edith Young and Phyllis Fraser Cerf were promoting the book they had just written together, "Complete Family Fun Book, Three Books in One" published by (you guessed right!) Random House in 1957. Bennett finally said to the mystery guest duo, "Is one of you creatures married to me?" Next, he admitted that it was Edith's voice he had recognized, not his wife's! - Suzanne (2003)

      Joan Crawford seemed slightly uncomfortable as the mystery guest. She made it known that she "never" appears on television. Back in 1957, TV was considered the "newcomer" and beneath the dignity of many famous film actors. Joan was promoting the international adoption agency, WAIF. Years later, her ideas on motherhood would be covered in the 1981 film "Mommie Dearest." - Suzanne (2003)

      Tidbits: Arlene is still wearing her black eye patch, but now it is decorated with rhinestones! - Suzanne (2003)

      Panel: Arlene Francis, Peter Ustinov, Dorothy Kilgallen, Bennett Cerf.

  • Allusions