What's My Line?

Season 9 Episode 53


Aired Daily 12:00 AM Aug 31, 1958 on CBS



  • Trivia

    • GOOF: Oops! In the final game, John Daly accidently referred to Tom Poston as "Tony Poston" and apologized quickly! - Suzanne (2005)

  • Quotes

    • Arlene Francis: And now, an excellent comedian that you have all enjoyed in The Steve Allen Show and soon you can enjoy him in a Broadway show called "Drink to Me Only," and we will, too, Mr. Tom Poston. (loud applause from audience)
      Tom Poston: And speaking of "Drink to Me Only," I would like to propose a toast at this time to a charming lady of Broadway, Miss Dorothy Kilgallen.

    • Dorothy Kilgallen: Mr. Hughes, have you ever been in Scotland Yard?
      William L. Hughes: I have been.
      Dorothy Kilgallen: But never arrested.

    • John Daly: And on that happy note... By golly, just under the wire. But I flipped the last card, Arlene.
      Arlene Francis: I know you did and I don't -- I don't hold it against you, John.
      John Daly: And having flipped, I will just say: This is John Daly. Good night, Arlene.
      Arlene Francis: You can flip for me any time, Mr. Daly.
      John Daly: Yes, indeed.
      Arlene Francis: And I'll do the same for you.

    • (While saying goodbye at the end of the show, Bennett plays off John's goodbye to Arlene. Bennett intimates that John has flipped for both Arlene and some other "unidentified" female. It appeared to be an "inside joke." John does his best to slough off the comment.)

      Bennett Cerf: I don't think I'm betraying any secrets when I tell you this is John Daly's second flip within 24 hours. Good night, John.
      John Daly: That will be enough of that. And thank you, ladies and gentlemen, for joining us on What's My Line?

  • Notes

    • FLIP REPORT: In the night's first game, John flipped the remaining cards for the first contestant at five down. The panel correctly ascertained that this contestant worked at Scotland Yard. As Tom Poston tried to figure out the contestant's exact title, John said it was a "bit unfair" to make them keep going and flipped the cards, giving them credit for a win. In the night's second game, John flipped the remaining cards at four down. Bennett correctly guessed this contestant's line and it's likely that John simply flipped the cards because the contestant had come from far away. In the final game, John flipped the remaining cards at eight down because time ran out. Arlene Francis actually managed to identify the exact line, but the guess was made after the cards had been turned over. - agent_0042 (2009)

    • (1) "WML?" SPONSOR WATCH: For this evening's show, Helene Curtis is the main sponsor.
      (2) "WML?" OVERLAY FONT WATCH: Only the final contestant's overlay is set in Futura Demi Bold tonight. All other overlays, including the lower-third for mystery guest Polly Bergen, are hand-painted. As for the first contestant, the overlay uses a combination of capital letters and mixed-case (upper and lower case) letters: "DETECTIVE SUPERINTENDENT at SCOTLAND YARD."
      (3) "THE WHOLE TRUTH": This was the first of four appearances on "WML?" by singer/actress Polly Bergen, then a regular panelist on Goodson-Todman's "To Tell the Truth." It was also the first time she and Tom Poston appeared together (except that he was a guest panelist tonight and she was a mystery guest) -- but it certainly wasn't their final joint appearance, because beginning only a few months from now, they would both be on the "TTTT" panel, when Mr. Poston replaced Hy Gardner as regular panelist. But it wasn't only with "TTTT" that Miss Bergen had a CBS connection; at the time of this episode, she was also signed to Columbia Records (then owned by CBS) as a recording artist, where she was under contract to them between 1957 and 1961. Polly was mainly an album artist, issuing the LP's "Bergen Sings Morgan" (CL 994, 1957, an album of songs first made famous by Helen Morgan); "The Party's Over" (CL 1031, 1957); "Polly and Her Pop" (with her father Bill Bergen, CL 1138, 1958); "My Heart Sings" (CL 1171/CS 8018, 1958); "All Alone By The Telephone" (CL 1300/CS 8100, 1959); "Polly Bergen's Four Seasons of Love" (CL 1451/CS 8246, 1960); "Polly Bergen Sings the Hit Songs from 'Do Re Mi' and 'Annie Get Your Gun'" (CL 1632/CS 8432, 1961); and an original cast album, "First Impressions" (Columbia Masterworks OL 5400/OS 2014, 1959). She also issued five 45 RPM singles for Columbia from 1958 to 1961. The first, "Come Prima (For The First Time)" b/w "Au Revoir Again" (4-41275), was recorded and released within a month of tonight's show.
      (4) CRYPTIC DOROTHY QUESTION WATCH: In yet another early example of the ambiguous and head-scratching questioning that would be put forth by Miss Kilgallen in her later years, her lead-off question to mystery guest Polly Bergen was: "Have I spoken to you on a long-distance telephone within the past week?" Miss Bergen answered "No" in a very high-pitched voice.
      (5) "WML?" CREDITS CRUNCH WATCH: Tonight's end credits were truncated, only going up to the art card slide for Mark Goodson and Bill Todman; but on GSN's January 13, 2009 airing of this episode, it was truncated in another sense, via its always horrific "crunching" of the picture's aspect ratio and size.
      (6) A DOUBLE-DOSE OF POLLY BERGEN: The January 13, 2009 airing of tonight's show by GSN was followed by the October 29, 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 Philippe Langlois (a television technician with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation who married Cecile Dionne of the Dionne quintuplets on November 23, 1957; the marriage ultimately produced five children) and two impostors; the second game featured horse rider and teenager Cathy Whiteside and two impostors; and the third game featured Frances G. Knight (Director of the Passport Office for the U.S. State Department; she would later make an appearance on the syndicated "WML?" in 1970) and two impostors. - W-B (2009)

      KILGALLEN WATCH!!! Dorothy's bizarre lead-off question to mystery guest Polly Bergen was one more subtle sign of problems with drugs and alcohol that, as early as 1958, were already plaguing the popular columnist whose "Voice of Broadway" appeared in papers from coast to coast. Yet another problem, as seen on recent shows, was frequently speaking louder and out of turn, which was another bad habit that would become familiar in her later years on shows where she was clearly "under the influence." These manifestations, this time out, visibly irked her fellow panelists (including, and especially, Bennett Cerf) and moderator John Daly. Nearly six weeks from tonight, and one day prior to EPISODE #436 of October 12, 1958, Dolly Mae fell and hit her head while getting ready for a college football game she was to attend with her husband Dick Kollmar and some friends. Her resulting hospitalization led to her absence from that show and the next week's EPISODE #437. - W-B (2009)

    • REVIEW: For the second week in a row, the panel did an excellent job. In the first game, the panel was given credit for correctly guessing that Mr. Hughes worked for Scotland Yard, even though they didn't guess he was the Detective Superintendent. After the game, Mr. Hughes discussed his days traveling with Sir Winston Churchill during the war as well as explaining how Scotland Yard got its name. In the second game, Bennett correctly guessed that the contestant from Denmark, now a United States citizen, was a long distance swimmer. In fact, Greta Anderson, who signed in using her married name of Mrs. John Sonnichsen, had just completed an English Channel swim in which she competed against several men and beat many of them. The mystery guest round was very interesting in the fact that it contained a then current "To Tell the Truth" panelist Polly Bergen as the night's guest and on the panel was Tom Poston, who would join the TTTT panel a couple of years after this episode aired. Polly pretty much had the panel as well as the audience rolling as she used a high-pitched squeak to try to fool the panel - and she nearly did - until she made a crucial mistake. During questioning, Dorothy asked her if she were a singer and she answered using the four word phrase "To Tell the Truth." After that, she was easy pickings and Bennett made the correct guess. In the final game, Arlene correctly guessed that the contestant was a marriage counselor. Unfortunately, her identification came after John had flipped all the cards on the basis of time. This was the only hiccup of the night and the only mar on a great performance. - Sargebri (2005)

      TOM POSTON: Guest panelist Tom Poston almost got the role of a lifetime a few years after this appearance on the show. In 1965, he was the original choice to play the lead on what became one of the funniest parodies about the world of espionage, the 1965-1970 TV series "Get Smart." However, Poston was beaten out by the eventual star Don Adams, who nabbed the role of "Maxwell Smart - Agent 86." Ironically, Poston did make a guest appearance on the show playing KAOS' resident mad scientist "Dr. Emile Zharko" in the 1969 episode titled "Shock It To Me." - Sargebri (2005)

      "TTTT": Tom Poston and Polly Bergen were both regular panelists on Goodson-Todman's other panel show, "To Tell the Truth." - Sargebri (2005)

      MORE ON "TTTT": Mr. Poston's and Miss Bergen's respective runs with "TTTT" overlapped for two years, from the time Tom first joined "TTTT" in 1959 to the time Polly left the show in 1961. - W-B (2009)

      Mr. Hughes gives an interesting explanation about why Scotland Yard (in London, England) is called "Scotland Yard." In 1829, Scotland Yard was established at 4 Whitehall Place, the back of which opened on to a courtyard which had been the site of a residence owned by the Kings of Scotland, known as "Scotland Yard." Horse drawn wagons travelled to Scotland on the adjacent road.
      BC: "Do you sometimes weigh over 250 pounds?" (LOL!!! He thought she was Jackie Gleason!!!)
      Later during the questioning...
      DK: "Are you better known for your singing?"
      PG: "Well...TO TELL THE TRUTH, yes!"*
      DK: "Yes, let's tell the truth just once..." (easy girl!)
      *At the time, Polly Bergen was a regular panelist on "To Tell the Truth" (1956-1961) and was being very clever at working that in. Arlene picked up on it straight away. But Bennett beat her to the punch. Interesting to note that Tom Poston would be a regular TTTT panelist very soon, if he wasn't already! (1958-1968)
      I think Dorothy has been getting on John's nerves lately. You can just hear it in his voice. It's rather amusing, actually!
      During farewells, there is a little joke between AF and JD about him "flipping" (the cards). Then BC says, "I don't think I'm betraying any secrets when I say that this is John's 2nd flip within 24 hours." I have absolutely NO idea what he meant by that, but the panel seemed to get it, and I guess that's all that matters! - fiveninegal (2003)

    • Greta Andersen, born in 1927, was a very accomplished world-class swimmer, winning the 100 meter freestyle Olympic gold medal (for Denmark) in world record time in 1948 in London, England. She set 72 amateur swimming records during her career, followed by 18 world records as a marathon swimmer, including swimming the English Channel five times. She was the first person to swim a major channel both ways (Santa Catalina Channel, off the coast of California). A Denmark native, she was a graduate of University of Copenhagen. By the time of this 1958 WML appearance, she had become a United States citizen. She operated a swim school in Southern California from 1960 through 1980. She inspired numerous teachers to open their own swimming schools. She was among the first in the United States to teach the survival back floating technique to students. - Suzanne (2003)

      Panel: Arlene Francis, Tom Poston, Dorothy Kilgallen, Bennett Cerf.

  • Allusions

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