"WML?" OVERLAY GOOF WATCH: On the occupation overlay for songwriters Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, the title of one of their compositions, "Jailhouse Rock" (a Number One hit for Elvis Presley in 1957), was displayed as "Jail House Rock," with the first part presented as two words ("Jail House") rather than one word ("Jailhouse"). - W-B (2008)
FLIP REPORT: Tonight, John did not increase any dollar amounts won by flipping cards for any of the contestants. - agent_0042 (2008)
(1) "REALLY SCARY": GSN aired this episode on November 1, 2005 as part of a "Halloween Weekend" of horror-related stars appearing on Goodson-Todman shows. This show was followed by an airing of "WML?" EPISODE #224 of September 12, 1954, on which Alfred Hitchcock was the mystery guest. Besides this and the Jack Paar tribute airing on February 2, 2004, this "WML?" episode had been shown in regular rotation on August 2, 2005, and before that, on April 25, 2003. The next regular rotation airing for tonight's show was December 17, 2008.
(2) LEIBER & STOLLER: Within a few years of appearing on this show (and John Daly's imploring them to write more "serious music"), Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller wrote "I'm A Woman" which was recorded in 1962 by Peggy Lee and issued on Capitol single #4888. They also wrote and produced Miss Lee's last major hit, "Is That All There Is?" (Capitol 2602) in 1969, as well as writing and producing her 1975 concept album "Mirrors" (A&M SP-4547). In addition, Leiber & Stoller produced (but did not write) the 1973 Stealers Wheel hit "Stuck In The Middle With You" (A&M 1416) which enjoyed a second surge of popularity when included in the soundtrack of the 1992 Quentin Tarantino film, "Reservoir Dogs." As a side note, the arranger for Miss Lee's "Is That All There Is?" was one Randy Newman, who would have his own big hit -- and a degree of infamy and controversy -- with a novelty tune called "Short People" (Warner Bros. 8492) in 1978.
(3) "WML?" SPONSOR AND PANEL WATCH: Once again, Fresh Frozen Orange Juice from Florida is the main sponsor tonight. And this was the first of two guest panelist appearances from the "King of Horror Movies," Vincent Price. Besides "The Fly," Mr. Price did countless episodic TV appearances in 1958, including a short-lived half-hour mystery series he hosted and occasionally starred in called "Half Hour to Kill."
(4) JACK PAAR: It was in this year of 1958 that "Tonight Starring Jack Paar" -- soon to be renamed "The Jack Paar Show" for the balance of his 1957-1962 tenure on NBC's late-night talkfest -- truly caught on with viewers. Within a few years of this episode, Arlene would be one of a handful of guest hosts whenever Mr. Paar was off. It should be noted that of the major "Tonight" personnel in each of the three eras (Steve Allen, 1953-1957 with Ernie Kovacs alternating in 1956-1957; Jack Paar, 1957-1962; and Johnny Carson, 1962-1992) covered in "WML?'s" 1950-1967 run, two did not appear: Hugh Downs, the announcer during the Jack Paar era (though he was a mystery guest on the syndicated version in 1969), and NBC staff announcer Bill Wendell who handled "Tonight!" on the nights in the 1956-1957 period when Mr. Kovacs was host (ironically, though, Mr. Wendell not only went on to handle the announcing duties on the syndicated 1969-1978 incarnation of "To Tell the Truth" from 1972 to 1977, but also came to CBS for the first two years -- 1993-1995 -- of the run of "Late Show with David Letterman"). Mr. Allen's announcer, Gene Rayburn, was in three of the final CBS "WML?" episodes and later was a frequent panelist in its syndicated incarnation; and Mr. Carson's sidekick, Ed McMahon, was a mystery guest along with Mr. Rayburn, Bud Collyer and Allen Ludden on EPISODE #869 of July 16, 1967.
(5) "WML?" CREDITS CRUNCH WATCH: Once again tonight (per Mr. Daly's opening verbiage), the end credits only go up to executive producer Gil Fates' art card. And yet again, to the chagrin, dismay and horror of the viewing audience, GSN imposed its always intrusive, dreaded and unwanted "crunching" of the screen on its December 17, 2008 airing of this episode.
(6) SPEAKING OF BUD COLLYER: GSN's December 17, 2008 airing of tonight's show was followed by the April 16, 1957 edition of "To Tell the Truth" with host Bud Collyer and the panel of Polly Bergen, Ralph Bellamy, Kitty Carlisle and Hy Gardner. The first game featured basketball legend George Mikan and two impostors; the second game featured Chester Conklin (one of the original members of Mack Sennett's "Keystone Cops" silent film series) and two impostors; and the third game featured Sheila Ledbetter (producer of the British version of the quiz show "The $64,000 Question" - but the British prize is not paid in dollars, or even pounds, but in 64,000 shillings; a shilling is one-twentieth of a pound) and two impostors. - W-B (2005, updated 2008)
A SMALL MYSTERY: After Bennett asks Robert Briscoe a question about censorship in Dublin, Briscoe replies to Bennett, "Well, first of all, you are again, as I explained last year, accepting statements as facts and you are asking questions on things that don't really comply with the facts." However, Briscoe was not a former "WML?" contestant, so it is a mystery as to exactly what meeting with Bennett that Briscoe is referencing. - Suzanne (2005)
REVIEW: The panel did fairly well this evening and it was a somewhat interesting one as well. In the first game, Bennett was given credit for correctly guessing that Mr. Briscoe, the former Lord High Mayor of Dublin, was in the beef business. However, they never did figure out that he dealt in kosher beef products, so he won the full prize. The discussion then turned to the annual dramatic festival that was staged in Dublin and the controversy that developed over the plays. Mr. Briscoe said that the plays weren't banned but that the producers decided to pull them over some minor changes that were requested. In the second game, Dorothy correctly figured out that Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller were in fact rock and roll songwriters. Of course, this gave the panel plenty of opportunity to rail against what was then considered a fad. In fact, before Leiber and Stoller left the stage, John said he hoped that the duo would write more "serious" music. The mystery guest round was very interesting due to the fact that the guest for this evening was Jack Paar. Ironically, with a big assist from Arlene, it was Dorothy who correctly guessed him. What made it interesting was the fact that a few months later, Kilgallen and Paar would become involved in a bitter feud which began when Paar announced his support for Fidel Castro. Of course, Dolly Mae was a staunch anti-communist and that caused a rift between the two that lasted until Dorothy's untimely death. - Sargebri (2005)
MYSTERY GUESTS: Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller were, and still are, one of the greatest songwriting teams in the history of popular music. At the time of their appearance on the show, they were famous for writing many of Elvis Presley's greatest hits such as "Hound Dog," "Jailhouse Rock," "Don't" and many other classics. However, they also wrote for many other artists, including the Drifters. In 1964 they founded Red Bird records which featured such artists as the Dixie Cups and the Shangri-Las. In 1987 the duo was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in the non-performer category. - Sargebri (2005)
CENSORSHIP: In the post game chat after the first game, Bennett mentioned a controversial incident in which two plays were thought to be the victims of censorship. Interestingly enough, mystery guest Jack Paar also had his own censorship troubles which led to one of the most controversial incidents in television history. In February 1960, Paar temporarily quit as host of the "Tonight Show." The controversy started when he made an innocuous joke about a water closet (toilet). He later discovered that the reference was censored even though he used the initials "WC." Because of this, Paar walked off the stage four minutes into his opening monologue on the February 11, 1960 broadcast and stayed off for several weeks. After an apology, Paar returned as host and stayed with the show until he quit permanently in 1962 and was replaced by Johnny Carson. - Sargebri (2005)
JACK PAAR TRIBUTE FROM GSN: Jack Paar passed away on January 27, 2004 at age 85. On February 2, 2004, as part two of a two-night special tribute, GSN aired this episode. Also seen as part of the tribute were appearances on Password and WML EPISODE #215 of July 11, 1954. - Suzanne (2004)
This was a very entertaining episode! The panel was chatty and unruly. When Mr. Daly said his usual, "There has been no call for a conference" to try to reign them in, Dorothy was belligerent with him and stated, "It wasn't a conference!" Oh my! Mr. Daly also made me smile when he called rock and roll music a "fad." From the vantage point of 1958, he would have had no way of knowing how rock and roll would soon sweep the nation. It's true that Leiber and Stoller didn't say much during their segment, but then Dorothy blurted out, "Vincent says they must be so rich that they can hardly talk!" I'm sure she embarrassed Vincent! Dorothy mentioned that Vincent's new 1958 movie was "The Fly." This is the same movie that was remade in 1986 with Jeff Goldblum. - Suzanne (2003)
This is a very interesting episode!
Bennett announced the upcoming National Book Week.
1) Arlene ran out on stage as though she were late for something!
2) 1st guest: Robert Briscoe, former Mayor of Dublin, Ireland. Bennett asks him, "The Dublin theatre festival just banned plays by O'Casey and Joyce, I believe. Don't you think this is indefensible?" To which Mr. Briscoe immediately replies, "Well, first of all, you are again, as I explained last year, accepting statements as facts and you are asking questions on things that don't really comply with the facts." This was only the BEGINNING of his answer! It was quite involved and LONG, but ended on a happy note. (Thankfully, as I was worried for a bit!) When he was finished, Mr. Briscoe gave John an Irish pipe.
3) Guests Leiber and Stoller - rock and roll composers (Hound Dog, Jailhouse Rock, Don't). Dorothy's reaction when she guessed their profession was pretty humorous. JD remarked that "Hound Dog" had sold 5 million records and we hear DK say, "That's no excuse!" John ends their session by saying to Leiber and Stoller, "I hope you have a chance to go on and perhaps do more serious things in music."
4) Arlene's closing remark "Bennett, now you've learned your lesson tonight. You ask a question and you get an answer!" To which Bennett laughingly replied that he didn't expect such a LONG answer!
5) Oh yeah, and, according to Dorothy - "Arlene has a weenie"(???) Dorothy seems to use this word in place of "idea." It must have been a popular slang word! Or, at least a slang word for Dorothy! There are no references to it on the net. Maybe it was one of Dorothy's kids' words? At any rate, it's cute! (Added later: John Daly was spotted using this phrase on EPISODE #116 on August 17, 1952, so this phrase is older than we originally thought!) - fiveninegal (2003)
Vincent Price (5/27/1911 - 10/25/1993)
Panel: Dorothy Kilgallen, Vincent Price, Arlene Francis, Bennett Cerf.
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