What's My Line?

Season 9 Episode 20

EPISODE #397

0
Aired Daily 12:00 AM Jan 12, 1958 on CBS

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  • Notes

    • (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)

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