What's My Line?

Season 9 Episode 37


Aired Daily 12:00 AM May 11, 1958 on CBS
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Episode Summary

Game 1: Rudolph Pratt - "Raises Fleas For U. S. Department of Agriculture" (salaried; he works in the entomology research division of the USDA; from Orlando, FL)

Game 2: Mrs. Emma Thayer (Emma Redington Thayer) (4/5/1874 - 11/18/1973) - "Writes Murder Mysteries (Lee Thayer)" (self-employed; all smiles; under her pen name of Lee Thayer, she has authored 57 murder mystery novels and is working on her 58th book; her publisher is Dodd Mead Publishing Co; John Daly said she was over 80 years old - in fact, she was age 84 at the time of this appearance - she almost reached age 100!; from Berkeley, CA)

Game 3: Miyoshi Umeki (5/8/1929 - 8/28/2007) (as Mystery Guest)

Game 4: Humberto Bonfante O'Byrne - "Broadcasts Yankee Baseball Games In Spanish" (salaried; he broadcasts on radio station WHOM to one million local Spanish-speaking fans in the vicinity of Yankee Stadium in New York; originally from South America, currently from New York, NY)

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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)

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (0)

  • QUOTES (0)

  • NOTES (5)

    • (1) "WML?" SPONSOR AND PANEL WATCH: The primary sponsor this evening is Helene Curtis. And this was the first of two appearances on "WML?" by veteran actor Robert Ryan -- and his only go at being a guest panelist.
      (2) "IT'S A MYSTERY TO ME": As a side note about the second contestant, Mrs. Emma Thayer (who authors books under the name Lee Thayer), it should be mentioned that one of the most famous mystery writers of all, Agatha Christie, made no appearances on "WML?" whatsoever -- the U.S. version, that is. (It is not known if Miss Christie ever appeared on the U.K. "WML?" which was broadcast by BBC.)
      (3) MYSTERY GUEST: Tonight, Miyoshi Umeki makes her only appearance on "WML?" in any of its incarnations. She never returned as a guest panelist and she never appeared in any of the 1968-1975 syndicated episodes, not even during her time on the 1969-1972 TV series version of "The Courtship of Eddie's Father" where she played the housekeeper, "Mrs. Livingston."
      (4) "WHOM" ARE YOU: Radio station WHOM (1480 AM), for which final contestant Humberto Bonfante O'Byrne broadcast New York Yankees baseball games in Spanish, had been in operation since 1930 and was owned by publishing mogul Generoso Pope. Mr. Pope also owned the Italian-language daily newspaper "Il Progresso Italo-Americano," and was the first owner and publisher of the National Enquirer supermarket tabloid. In 1975, WHOM and its same-named FM outlet (92.3 FM) were sold to SJR Communications. (The initials "SJR" were derived from "San Juan Racing," named after a horse racing track in San Juan, Puerto Rico, which the company also owned.) SJR changed the AM station's call letters to WJIT ("Radiojit") and the FM station's calls to WKTU. In the late 1970's, WJIT ran Spanish simulcasts every night of the 11:00 PM edition of WNBC-TV's (Channel 4) "NewsCenter4." (An ID slide on WNBC prior to the start of such late-evening newscasts bore the notice, in Spanish, "Traducción en Español a través de WJIT 1480, Radiojit," which translated as "Translated into Spanish through WJIT 1480, Radiojit.") Today, 1480 AM's calls are WZRC, and the station broadcasts Chinese-language programming.
      (5) "WML?" CREDITS CRUNCH WATCH: For the first time in a long time, the complete production crew credits are shown, from executive producer Gil Fates' art card to that crediting technical director Vernon Gamble and lighting director Hal Anderson. All this, plus a brief shot of the vintage "multiple eyes" animated CBS ID, was shown by GSN, albeit in its usual grossly groan-inducing "crunching" of the screen, on its December 27, 2008 airing of this episode.
      (6) Following the December 27, 2008 airing of tonight's show, GSN ran the July 2, 1957 edition of "To Tell the Truth," hosted by Bud Collyer, with the panel of Polly Bergen, Ralph Bellamy, Kitty Carlisle and Hy Gardner. The first game featured Eamonn Andrews (host of the British version of "WML?" and a frequent guest panelist on the U.S. "WML?") and two impostors; the second game featured Joan Penn (a 12-year-old fifth-grader at the time of this "TTTT" episode; she had recently won the bubble-gum blowing championship in Chicago, Illinois) and two impostors; and the third game featured Colonel Gregory "Pappy" Boyington (founder of the Black Sheep Squadron, whose exploits later formed the basis for the 1970's TV series "Baa Baa Black Sheep," later renamed "Black Sheep Squadron") and two impostors. - W-B (2008)

    • FLIP REPORT: John flipped the remaining cards for the final contestant at three down because time ran out. The panel never had a chance to get close on this one, because at the outset of the game, John announced that only a minute-and-a-half was available for this game. - agent_0042 (2008)

    • THE SACK IS BACK!!! Once again, Arlene is wearing Bennett's favorite piece of women's clothing, a "sack dress." - Sargebri (2005)

      REVIEW: This was a fairly decent night for the panel as they batted .500 this episode. In the first game, Dorothy did come close to guessing what kinds of insects the contestant bred. However, she thought it might have been cockroaches, while it turned out that he bred fleas for research. However, she made up for her earlier gaffe when she figured out that Emma Thayer wrote mystery novels. She, of course, used the pen name of "Lee Thayer." In the mystery guest round, the panel correctly identified Best Supporting Actress Oscar winner Miyoshi Umeki who was adorable in her traditional kimono. In the final game, the panel ran out of time, so the New York Yankees' Spanish language commentator Humberto Bonfante O'Byrne won the full prize by default. - Sargebri (2005)

      MYSTERY GUEST: Miyoshi Umeki won a Best Supporting Actress Academy Award for her performance in the 1957 film "Sayonara." In fact, she was the first Asian performer to ever be so honored. Miss Umeki beat out former mystery guest Hope Lang. Prior to her performance in "Sayonara," she was previously a regular performer on "Arthur Godfrey and His Friends." She would go on to receive a Tony nomination for her role as "Mei Li" in the Broadway musical "Flower Drum Song" and she would later reprise her role for the 1961 film version. However, most fans of 1970's television remember her for her role as housekeeper/surrogate mother "Mrs. Livingston" in the 1970 to 1974 sitcom "The Courtship of Eddie's Father." - Sargebri (2005)

    • Things that make me smile: When AF laughs and looks directly into the camera, and also DK's giggle. Both of these events occurred numerous times during this delightful episode! The first guest is Mr. Rudolph Pratt who "Raises Fleas for the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture." Once the panel narrowed it down to "insect" and the fact that he breeds them, all they had left to do was to identify the specific insect. You can hear BC suggest to DK to guess "cockroach." Next comes a hilarious moment as you see the wheels turning in Dorothy's head as she visualizes a cockroach, and then says disgustedly, "What would you be breeding THEM for?" John CRACKS up at her remark! The second guest is Mrs. Thayer, who couldn't stop smiling the entire time, she was ADORABLE! AF actually says to her, "Mrs. Thayer, you look like such a happy woman!" What could have been a somewhat controversial moment: DK asks her, "Do you have anything at all to do with the world of entertainment or amusement?," to which she answers, "No." JD thinks about it for a second and lets the "no" stand. Being the top notch player that she is, DK picks right up on that and says, "There was a slight murmur of rebellion from the audience at that." Dorothy winds up guessing it, but never challenges the "no" answer. Although, it DID look like she was thinking about it! Darn! I LOVE her challenges! Oh well, next time, Dorothy, when you're no longer jet-lagged! - fiveninegal (2003)

    • SECOND GUEST: In addition to being an author, Emma Thayer was also an artist and an interior designer. Over her lifetime, she penned sixty books, starting with "The Mystery of the 13th Floor" in 1919 to "Dusty Death" in 1966. All except for one of Thayer's novels revolved around the fictional New York private detective Peter Clancy. - Suzanne (2003)

      Robert Ryan (11/11/1909 - 7/11/1973)

      Panel: Arlene Francis, Robert Ryan, Dorothy Kilgallen, Bennett Cerf.