What's My Line?

Season 10 Episode 39


Aired Daily 12:00 AM May 31, 1959 on CBS
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Episode Summary

Game 1: Five male students from Pingry School as follows:

1) Dave Gelber
2) Dave Ehrlich
3) Richard duBusc (alternately spelled Richard du Busc)
4) Tony Stein
5) Lloyd Barnard

- "Own and Operate Baby Sitting Agency" (self-employed; these five bright teenagers attend Pingry School in Elizabeth, New Jersey and made their WML appearance all wearing their preparatory school blazers; they jointly own and run the Elizabeth Town Babysitting Agency; their child care rates are 60 cents per hour before midnight and 75 cents per hour after midnight; they donated their game winnings to Pingry School's Science Expansion Project; all from Elizabeth, NJ)

Game 2: Mrs. Monique Benoit - "Writes 'Advice to Lovelorn' Column" (salaried; her newspaper column titled "Entre Nous" - which is French for "Between Us" - appears in the San Francisco Examiner newspaper; she works at home; she is originally from Paris, France, and is currently from San Francisco, CA)

Game 3: Gypsy Rose Lee (1/8/1911 - 4/26/1970) (as Mystery Guest)

Game 4: Mrs. Francine Tieger - "Bubble Gum Tester" (salaried; she works for the Topps Chewing Gum Company; from Brooklyn, NY) . .moreless

Who was the Episode MVP ?

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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 (1)

    • (In trying to guess the identity of the night's mystery challenger, Dorothy Kilgallen considers the guest's connection with music...)

      Dorothy Kilgallen: There aren't any lady conductors.
      John Daly: You obviously don't ride the trolleys much!

  • NOTES (5)

    • FLIP REPORT: In the night's first game, John flipped the remaining cards for the set of contestants at six down. Dorothy Kilgallen identified the line of "babysitter," which John deemed close enough. He flipped the cards because the winnings were being donated to Pingry School's Science Expansion Project. In the night's final game, John flipped the remaining cards for the final contestant at four down because time ran out. The panel asked some good questions on this one, but didn't really come anywhere near the line in the short time that was provided them. - agent_0042 (2009)

    • (1) "WML?" SPONSOR, ANNOUNCER AND PANEL WATCH: Tonight's main sponsor is "Best to You" Kellogg's. And for the intro this evening, announcer Hal Simms is once again employing the "award-winning panel of 'What's My Line?'" variation. Meanwhile, it was more than ten years from this episode that guest panelist Gig Young landed his Oscar-winning role as "Rocky" in the 1969 film "They Shoot Horses, Don't They?" The picture also featured occasional "WML?" mystery guest Red Buttons, whose next appearance came four shows from tonight, on what was the last time anyone sat in for John as moderator -- more specifically, frequent guest panelist (and "chairman" on the British version of "WML?") Eamonn Andrews.
      (2) "WML?" OVERLAY FONT WATCH: As is customary from time to time in this period, the regular contestants' overlays are set in Futura Demi Bold, while the lower-third overlay of mystery guest Gypsy Rose Lee is hand-painted.
      (3) GYPSY ROSE LEE: This is the first extant "WML?" appearance of the ex-stripper and future West Coast-based TV talk show hostess, because her very first appearance, on EPISODE #4 of March 16, 1950, was the first of over 100 shows produced between then and 1952 to have become lost to the ages. It should be noted that between 1968 and 1969, Miss Lee was a frequent panelist on the Peter Marshall version of "The Hollywood Squares." And as if an omen of her infamous guest panelist appearance on "WML?" nearly eight years from tonight's show, during the post-game chat, Bennett was the only one with whom Gypsy did not exchange any pleasantries or exchanges, outside of her exit from the stage when she shook the panelists' hands.
      (4) "WML?" CREW CREDITS AND CREDITS CRUNCH WATCH: Following the United Airlines travel arrangements plug, the full production crew credits are shown; for tonight, Charles Lyons is credited as technical director in place of Vernon Gamble. But as was made painfully clear, GSN offered no substitute for its stale, moldy and rancid "crunching" of the screen, on its February 18, 2009 airing of this episode.
      (5) Right after the February 18, 2009 airing of tonight's show, GSN repeated the October 14, 1958 edition of "To Tell the Truth," sponsored by Arrid antiperspirant. The host, as usual, was Bud Collyer, and the panel of cross-examiners was comprised of Polly Bergen, Conrad Nagel, Kitty Carlisle and Hy Gardner. As with his guest-hosting stint on "The Name's the Same" on April 7, 1953, Mr. Nagel's "TTTT" appearance this week was luckier in terms of kinescope preservation than his sole "WML?" appearance as a mystery guest on the long-lost EPISODE #111 of July 13, 1952 -- the last such episode before the disgracefully short-sighted practice of destroying "WML?" kinescopes was brought to an end. The first game featured Nigerian-born drummer and percussionist Babatunde Olatunji (aka Michael Olatunji or just simply Olatunji; a future label-mate of Miss Bergen's at Columbia Records) and two impostors; the second game featured first-time author Mildred Savage (whose book, "Parrish," was made into a motion picture in 1961) and two impostors; and the third game featured film and sound editor Richard V. Heermance (Mr. Collyer's brother) and two impostors. - W-B (2009)

      BABATUNDE OLATUNJI ON 10/14/58 "TTTT": In 1959, less than a year after his appearance on the October 14, 1958 edition of "To Tell the Truth," Babatunde Olatunji released the highly influential LP "Drums of Passion" (Columbia CL 1412/CS 8210), the success of which was a forerunner of what would come to be termed as "world music." One of the tracks on this pivotal album, "Jin-Go-Lo-Ba," was later covered by the Latin rock band Santana under the title "Jingo" on their self-titled debut album (Columbia CS 9781) in 1969. However, on first pressings of both that LP and a 45 RPM edit of "Jingo" on single #4-45010, the songwriting was initially -- and erroneously -- credited to classical-music composer Aaron Copland (of "Fanfare for the Common Man" and "Billy the Kid" fame). As it happened, Mr. Copland did indeed write a piece called "Jingo," which was the fifth movement of his 1933-1935 composition "Statements for Orchestra," but this was not the "Jingo" that Santana had recorded. As for Olatunji, he subsequently issued two more albums for Columbia, "Flaming Drums" (CL 1866/CS 8666, 1962) and "More Drums of Passion" (CL 2507/CS 9307, 1966). Neither he nor Mr. Copland ever made any appearances on "WML?" - W-B (2009)

    • REVIEW: Once again, after having had a perfect game record the previous week, the panel came back down to earth and had a somewhat mediocre night with a .500 average. However, before the games started, both Dorothy and Bennett paid homage to the previous week's mystery guest, Debbie Reynolds, for her classic appearance on the show. Unfortunately, Dolly Mae made a mistake by saying that Debbie was in the film "Ask Any Girl," which featured Shirley MacLaine. She would admit her faux pas during the good nights. As for the games themselves, Dorothy got things rolling by correctly guessing the all-male "Babysitters Club." The five young men were from a private prep school in New Jersey and they donated their winnings to the fund for expansion of the school's science facilities. In the second game, the panel was absolutely stumped by the advice columnist from San Francisco by way of Paris. Moving on to the mystery guest round, they made up for their mistake in the second game when guest panelist Gig Young correctly identified Gypsy Rose Lee, who tried to disguise her voice by stuffing her mouth with marbles. Miss Lee was on the show to help promote the classic Broadway musical based on her life, "Gypsy," featuring Ethel Merman as "Mama Rose." In the final game, the panel ran out of time while questioning the bubble gum tester, so she won the full prize by default. - Sargebri (2005)

      GYPSY ROSE LEE: Eight years after her appearance as a mystery guest on tonight's show, Gypsy Rose Lee would again appear again on WML - only this time as a guest panelist - in one of the more infamous moments in the history of the show. What made it so infamous was that during her introduction of Bennett, Miss Lee took the time to chastise Bennett for, in her words, being "too short-sighted to publish any of my books." This was seen as a slap at Bennett and for the rest of the evening he completely ignored her, even during conferences. After that fateful evening on EPISODE #854 on March 19, 1967, Miss Lee was never invited back to appear on the show. - Sargebri (2005)

      EVOLVING WORDS: One of the more humorous moments of the night came when Dorothy made a very innocent remark about San Francisco being so "gay." Of course, this comment made in 1959 was long before the word gay was used to describe homosexuals and this was long before San Francisco was known for being one of the major centers of the gay pride movement. - Sargebri (2005)

      CENTRAL PARK ZOO: When Bennett was questioning the young men from the private school, he mentioned that his son Jonathan Cerf was in a band. Several years later, Jonathan would form a band with Arlene's son, Peter Gabel, called Central Park Zoo. Though the band never hit the charts, they did manage to appear on "The Mike Douglas Show." - Sargebri (2005)

    • Very fun episode! Gypsy Rose Lee was terrific!
      During the introductions, Dorothy mistakenly says that Debbie Reynolds is appearing with Gig Young in "Ask Any Girl" at Radio City Music Hall. Debbie's spot the previous week was so brilliant that Bennett couldn't say enough kind words about her: "Last Sunday night, we had as our mystery guest, Miss Debbie Reynolds. And I'd like to say I think she's the most charming, the most humorous, and the nicest kid we've had in that position in 9 years!" (much applause from audience...awwwww Bennett!)
      After guest #1, Dorothy passes a note to Arlene. Wonder what she said?
      Gypsy was a fabulous mystery guest! She filled her mouth with marbles and removed her gloves in a very provocative manner, one finger at a time. As she is doing this, John says, "We'll start with Dorothy Kilgallen." Of course, Miss Lee's action causes the audience to laugh, but Dorothy can't see with her blindfold on, which leads to her comment, "I don't see why THAT'S so funny!"
      Gig Young asked the typical question, "Are you a female?" Gypsy caused yet more laughter by her response, "Well, indeed I am. There's never been any doubt before!" (you can practically hear the striptease music playing in the background.)
      A little later, it is determined that Gypsy Rose Lee does have "something" to do with a play that's currently on Broadway, but she never appears on stage. Dorothy was hilariously stumped and exclaims, "WHAAAT? Doesn't appear on staaaage??" (her expression was priceless!!)
      After she is revealed (pun intended!), Gypsy says, "And thank you for all the nice things you said about it ["Gypsy"] on the air, Dorothy."
      DK: "Oh, you deserved them. They're wonderful. The whole show is marvelous! Everybody!"
      Gypsy: "Ohhh, I was so thrilled. I got up terribly early in the morning to hear you and just loved every minute of it. I was so excited, I couldn't go back to sleep again."
      GY: "What time was it?"
      Gypsy: "Ohhh, good heavens, they do it in the middle of the morning, you know! Around 8 o'clock or something! Terrible, terrible hour!" (I completely empathize, Gypsy!)
      During the final contestant:
      DK: "Do you think I might have one of these in my home?" (you might) "Do you think Bennett might have one?" (oh yes, definitely! LOL!)
      JD: "I have a picture in my mind's eye right now. Bennett uses this product all the time, I'm sure!"
      And after Mrs. Tieger's line is unveiled:
      BC: "There is no bubble gum in my house!"
      During the farewells:
      DK: "Good night, John, and I want to correct a boo boo. It's Shirley MacLaine who is in "Ask Any Girl." I was thinking of Debbie Reynolds in connection with his other picture. I'm sorry. Good night, Gig!"
      GY: "I didn't hear you, but thank you very much. Good night, Francis!"
      AF: "Arlene, you can call me! Good night, Gig!"
      - fiveninegal (2003)

    • Gypsy Rose Lee was hilarious! She literally put marbles in her mouth to disguise her voice! One should note the "professional" manner in which Miss Lee shed her gloves to put the marbles in her mouth. The panel guessed her fairly easily, as the play about her life, "Gypsy" had just opened on Broadway. - exapno99

      Gypsy Rose Lee's biographical musical play "Gyspy" ran on Broadway from May 21, 1959 to March 25, 1961, for a total of 702 performances. It was performed at the Broadway Theatre from 5/21/1959 - 7/9/1960, and was performed at the Imperial Theatre from 8/15/1960 - 3/25/1961. - Suzanne (2003)

      Panel: Dorothy Kilgallen, Gig Young, Arlene Francis, Bennett Cerf.