FLIP REPORT: John flipped all the cards for the final contestant at five down because time ran out. The Hollywood panel asked some decent questions, but never really came close to guessing this contestant's line. - agent_0042 (2006 & 2008)
(1) "WML?" SPONSOR, STUDIO AND PANEL NAMEPLATE WATCH: Tonight's special "WML?" episode was the second and final edition to originate "on the road" and it was sponsored by Mutual of Omaha Insurance Company (which would later become famous as the sponsor for the animal adventure series "Wild Kingdom"). This episode was broadcast from CBS Television City in Hollywood, California, as was pointed out at the opening by West Coast CBS staff announcer Roy Rowan. As for the panel nameplates, they were extremely difficult to read due to the type size being smaller than the nameplates on the regular New York shows, plus a different typeface being used. Though hard to detect, if based on the few closeups where their nameplates were more closely seen, the special font looks like it was Spartan Black Condensed, a variant of the Futura family; the typeface was in a "cold-type" metal foundry form, as opposed to how the font looked in hot-metal based Linotype typesetting systems. However, Mr. Daly's nameplate remains the one set in Title Gothic Condensed No. 11, as has been in place since late 1952. (As a side note, none of Jack Lemmon's New York-based guest panelist appearances used the nameplate that had been put into service for his stint on the panel tonight.)
(2) JOHN CHARLES DALY'S WEST COAST ADVENTURE: Tonight's special "WML?" edition was not the only TV program the "superb news analyst, panel moderator and universal befuddler with the multi-syllable vocabulary" (as Bennett Cerf would put it) was presiding over during this stay in California. Earlier in the day, he served as host and commentator on a special program, "Bing Crosby and Friends," which was a golf tournament that ran on CBS from 5:30 PM (EST) to 7:00 PM (EST). It is likely that the ribbon Mr. Daly wore on his jacket lapel may have had something to do with this tournament.
(3) TONIGHT'S GUEST PANEL: At the time of this episode, only Laraine Day had been a guest panelist on the regular New York "WML?" She made three such appearances, on EPISODE #157 of May 31, 1953; EPISODE #256 of May 1, 1955; and EPISODE #257 of May 8, 1955. During the goodbyes, John commented how nice it was for Laraine to be back on the panel; alas, this was to be Miss Day's final "WML?" appearance. Of the rest of tonight's panel, Jack Lemmon would appear as a guest panelist on three future editions: EPISODE #420 of June 22, 1958; EPISODE #455 of March 8, 1959; and EPISODE #538 of November 6, 1960. As for MGM alumni Mickey Rooney and Esther Williams, their only other "WML?" appearances, both before and after this episode, were as mystery guests.
(4) BASEBALL HALL OF FAME TRIBUTE: GSN aired this special Hollywood episode on August 14, 2006 as part of a month-long airing of "WML?" episodes with at least one game featuring a figure from the world of baseball, as a tribute to the Baseball Hall of Fame on its 70th anniversary. This was the final episode of GSN's 2006 baseball tribute. This episode had previously aired in regular rotation on GSN on July 25, 2005, and before that, on April 17, 2003. The next regular rotation airing was on December 9, 2008. As for Duke Snider, this was his second and final "WML?" appearance.
(5) "WML?" OVERLAY FONT WATCH: The overlays for Duke Snider and the other regular contestants were set in the usual Futura Demi Bold; mystery guest Bob Cummings' lower-third overlay appears hand-painted, but looks more like it was based on Futura Demi Bold and, in any case, was more professionally prepared than the few hand-painted overlays now seen very occasionally on the New York shows.
(6) ABOUT THE FINAL CONTESTANT: It is unlikely that tonight's final contestant, bartender school owner Bill Maher, is of any relation to the Bill Maher who was born in 1956 and who has been an actor, stand-up comedian, former host of "Politically Incorrect" and, since 2003, host of HBO's "Real Time with Bill Maher."
(7) "WML?" OPEN, CLOSE AND CREDITS CRUNCH WATCH: The opening animated titles and closing slides looked far better and cleaner in their appearance than what had looked like on the regular New York shows up to this point. This may well have been attributable to how the film and slide chains at the vast Television City complex were maintained and kept as opposed to their New York counterparts. Another contributing factor could be the process by which the kinescope film was produced; possibly the studio in Hollywood had newer equipment. Also by comparison, the end credits were definitely light years ahead of the "ka-chunk"-style slide presentation at the end of the special Chicago-based EPISODE #323 of August 12, 1956. As for the end credits, they only go so far as a brief shot of the art card for executive producer Gil Fates before cutting to a promotional slide for an upcoming program titled "The Other Place" (which was an episode of "Studio One") that originally aired on January 13, 1958 over the CBS network. (Coincidentally, the Chicago episode's end credits had also cut off after Mr. Fates' art card slide.) All this was duly shown by GSN on its December 9, 2008 airing of this episode in their usual dastardly and demoralizing "crunched" manner which, unlike "WML?" and moderator John Daly on that January week in 1958, stayed put.
(8) Following GSN's December 9, 2008 airing of tonight's special "WML?" episode, the cable and satellite channel reran the February 12, 1957 edition of "To Tell the Truth." The host, as always, was Bud Collyer, and the panel consisted of Polly Bergen, John Cameron Swayze, Betty Furness and Hy Gardner. The first game featured Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the Mormon church) elder Marvin Hoganson (who had been held as a prison hostage in Utah) and two impostors; the second game featured Colonel Julia E. Hamblett (director of the Women Marines) and two impostors; and the third game featured songwriter Harold Karr (who wrote the music for the 1956 Ethel Merman musical "Happy Hunting") and two impostors. - W-B (2005, updated 2006, 2008 and 2009)
HOORAY FOR HOLLYWOOD!!! Tonight marked the first, and only, time the show was broadcast from the West Coast. Unfortunately, Dorothy, Arlene and Bennett stayed home. However, the special "West Coast" panel was made up of several people who had previously appeared on the show. Mickey Rooney, Jack Lemmon and Esther Williams were all at one time or another mystery guests, and Laraine Day was the only person on the panel to have appeared as both a panelist and a mystery guest. At this time, Miss Day was a fixture on many of the more popular panel shows, including "I've Got a Secret" where she was a regular during the first season of that show's run. As far as their performance went, they did pretty well. In fact, they pretty much did as well as the "Big Three." In the first game, Laraine, who at the time was married to Giants' manager Leo Durocher, identified future Hall of Famer Duke Snider who played for the Giants hated rivals, the Dodgers. After the game, John brought up the recent moves of both the Dodgers and the Giants to Los Angeles and San Francisco, respectively, and how New York was very much in mourning for their lost baseball teams. In the second game, the panel failed to guess that the grandmotherly contestant from Montana was, unbelievably, a sergeant first class in the WACS. In the mystery guest round, Esther Williams correctly identified Bob Cummings, who was using the voice of "Grandpa Collins" from his highly successful 1955-1959 series "The Bob Cummings Show." In the final game, the panel ran out of time, so the bartender school owner won the full prize by default. - Sargebri (2005)
BASEBALL: As was mentioned in the post game chat with Duke Snider, the Dodgers and the Giants had recently left New York and moved to Los Angeles and San Francisco, respectively, during the off season between the 1957 and 1958 baseball seasons. This was viewed as one of the darkest days in New York history. However, the move of the two teams to the West Coast set the stage for all sports to move to the western United States. Of course, the move probably wouldn't have been made possible without the advent of affordable passenger aircraft travel which cut the time of cross country travel considerably. - Sargebri (2005)
BASEBALL: John Daly talks about having dinner with his good friend Toots Shor and how he was unhappy about the Dodgers's move to Los Angeles. Laraine jumps in to say that Mr. Shor was always a NY Giants Fan and was never a fan of Brooklyn! - ymike673 (2005)
MYSTERY RIBBON: John Daly wears a somewhat large ribbon pinned on his left lapel. If he announced what it was for, or what it signified, GSN cut out his explanation. - Suzanne (2005) BASEBALL: The Los Angeles Dodgers have just moved to Los Angeles from Brooklyn and have yet to play there! - Suzanne (2005) LIVE FROM HOLLYWOOD! This episode was filmed live from Hollywood, instead of the usual New York City. John Daly was the host, as usual, but the regular panelists (Arlene Francis, Dorothy Kilgallen, Bennett Cerf) had the evening off because they had remained in New York. The guest panelists were Laraine Day, Mickey Rooney, Esther Williams and Jack Lemmon. This is the only episode to have ever been broadcast from California. There might be a "laugh track" present on this episode. The volume of the "laughs" is much higher and more intrusive than in the New York shows. This is a very interesting historic episode! - Suzanne (2003) WML ON THE ROAD: Over its 17.5 year run, only two episodes of WML were produced away from New York. The first was EPISODE #323 of August 12, 1956 from Chicago, Illinois. The second was tonight's EPISODE #397 of January 12, 1958 from Hollywood, California. - Suzanne (2003) DUKE SNIDER was a center-fielder for the Los Angeles Dodgers. When Laraine Day was correct in guessing who he was, she accidently said "Brooklyn Dodgers." Mr. Daly corrected her! Duke talked about his bad knee, his avocado ranch and playing for the Los Angeles Dodgers. John Daly laments the fact that the Dodgers are no longer based in Brooklyn. As Duke walks off stage, his limp is clearly visible. - Suzanne (2003) This was a highly entertaining show! Everyone on the panel did a great job and seemed to enjoy themselves very much. They were so enthusiastic about their 30 second conference that it got a good laugh from the audience! Two observations: 1) Bob Cummings had beautiful handwriting! 2) Oops, John mispronounces Dorothy's last name at the end! - fiveninegal (2003)
Mickey Rooney (9/23/1920 - 4/6/2014) Esther Williams (8/8/1921 - 6/6/2013) Jack Lemmon (2/8/1925 - 6/27/2001) Panel: Laraine Day, Mickey Rooney, Esther Williams, Jack Lemmon. The usual panel regulars (Dorothy Kilgallen, Arlene Francis and Bennett Cerf) all stayed in New York and had the night off.
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