FLIP REPORT: In the first game, John flipped all the cards for Branch Rickey at eight down. The panel had identified him by name, but John justified the flip on the basis that the panel didn't guess his "line." In the second game, John flipped all the cards for Marilyn Picard, the only regular contestant, at six down because time ran out. And finally, in the mystery challenger round, John flipped them all for June Allyson at only two down because time was again running short. In fact, time was so scarce that John signed off for the night on behalf of the panel. - agent_0042 (2006)
(1) "WML?" SPONSOR AND ANNOUNCER WATCH: Sunbeam was the sponsor for this episode, with the slogan "It's Sunbeam Time." In the "Sunbeam connections" department, Chuck Connors (making his "WML?" debut this evening, and dwarfing even Bennett Cerf) was guest panelist on both tonight's show and EPISODE #532 of September 25, 1960; coincidentally, Sunbeam was the sponsor on both editions. (Two decades later, Mr. Connors would go on to pitch Sunbeam electric shavers in a series of 1970's television commercials.) Meanwhile, announcer Hal Simms utilized the "award-winning 'What's My Line?' panel" wording variation during the intro.
(2) BASEBALL HALL OF FAME TRIBUTE: GSN aired this episode on August 7, 2006 as part of a month-long airing of "WML?" episodes with at least one game featuring a baseball-associated figure, as a tribute to the Baseball Hall of Fame which celebrated its 70th anniversary in 2006.
(3) GSN AIRDATE HISTORY: GSN has aired this show on the following dates: September 3, 2003 (regular rotation); October 17, 2005 (regular rotation); August 7, 2006 (baseball tribute); and March 5, 2009 (regular rotation).
(4) "WML?" CREDITS CRUNCH WATCH: Following the travel arrangements plug for United Airlines, tonight's end credits sequence only goes up to the art card crediting associate producers Bob Bach and Ann Kaminsky. This was no deterrent, however, to GSN's retrograde and recidivist "crunching" of the screen on its March 5, 2009 airing of this episode. Only the fact that Nestle foods did not (to the best of anyone's knowledge) sponsor any "WML?" episodes at any point in their original telecast prevented such a modern-day procedure as practiced by GSN from becoming a proverbial "Nestle crunch."
(5) Right after the March 5, 2009 airing of tonight's show, GSN repeated the June 9, 1959 edition of "To Tell the Truth," hosted by Bud Collyer, with the panel of Polly Bergen, Don Ameche, Kitty Carlisle and Tom Poston. The first game featured Lieutenant Colonel Virgil Olson (who served as the senior Presidential helicopter pilot for President Eisenhower) and two impostors; the second game featured national women's diving champion Paula Jean Myers (later to become known as Paula Jean Myers-Pope) and two impostors; and the third game featured U.S. postal letter carrier Francis E. Maher (he had made an inspection of Norway's postal system, and later brought a Norwegian postal worker to America as part of an exchange program) and two impostors (in lieu of importuning the real letter carrier to "please stand up," Mr. Collyer had the Norwegian postal letter carrier, Mr. Berger Omont (approximate spelling), point him out). - W-B (2006, updated 2009)
BASEBALL - A NOTE OF COINCIDENCE: In the early morning of August 7, 2006, as part of the Baseball Preemption Schedule, GSN reprised WML EPISODE #481 of September 13, 1959 with Branch Rickey as the baseball-related guest. Branch Rickey made his appearance to promote his expected new major league, the Continental Baseball League. In response to an inquiry of Bennett Cerf, Mr. Rickey said that the opening of the new league was "as certain as tomorrow morning." Unfortunately, he was wrong. The concept of the league terminated the next year during the summer of 1960, before a single game was played. However, because of the competitive efforts of Mr. Rickey and his failed Continental Baseball League, Gene Autry was put in a position to buy the expansion team Los Angeles Angels. That is, the competitive pressure put on Major League Baseball by Branch Rickey's Continental Baseball League, which had planned to expand to the West Coast among other "baseball deprived" areas around North America (e.g., Colorado, Toronto, Minnesota, as well as California), led to Major League Baseball executives agreeing to accelerate its own expansion plans, and, in addition, to agreeing to place a major league team in Minnesota by 1961 (the old Washington Senators became the Minnesota Twins in 1961), and one in New York by 1962 (the Mets, as compensation to New Yorkers, for their double loss in 1958 of the Dodgers and the Giants to the West Coast). Major League Baseball also agreed to add a new, expansion American League franchise in Los Angeles - the L.A. Angels - and Gene Autry was given his opportunity and he didn't waste it. He acquired the franchise rights the same year as (and maybe within weeks of) the folding of Branch Rickey's Continental Baseball League idea. The opportunity given and expansion at that time was no coincidence. Branch Rickey's Continental Baseball League idea pushed Major League Baseball to expand immediately. The Continental Baseball League failed to get off the ground, so to speak, because of the resistance of Major League Baseball, which then co-opted most - if not all - of the ideas of and projected locations for the Continental Baseball League.
Gene Autry's unattributed 1953 "Baseball Preemption" appearance in EPISODE #175 which aired on GSN on August 11, 2006, was appropriately, if not intentionally, placed within days of Branch Rickey's attributed 1959 "Baseball Preemption" appearance in EPISODE #481 which aired on August 7, 2006.
Verification source regarding the influence of the "Continental Baseball League" (and its ultimate demise as a concept in the summer of 1960) on the timing for the expansion of the National and American Leagues of Major League Baseball (including the 1960 acquisition by Gene Autry of the expansion rights to the L.A. Angels, which would begin its inaugural season in 1961), includes Wikipedia's entry on "Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim." - Tom Ruja (2006)
NOT PAYING ATTENTION: For some reason, John is forgetful tonight. At least twice, he makes comments to the panel that are incorrect. John pronounces that certain contestant facts have not been elicited, when they in fact have been discussed. At one point, Bennett brings attention to John's lack of concentration. This almost certainly embarrassed John Daly. It was a very rare event to see John so preoccupied with something else that he forgot what had transpired during game play. - Suzanne (2005)
REVIEW: After the previous week's near perfecto, the panel reverted to the performances of the preceding weeks and did rather poorly. In the first game, the panel was blindfolded due to the fact that they probably would have recognized former Dodger executive Branch Rickey, especially guest panelist (and former baseball player) Chuck Connors. Arlene did identify Rickey, but then John decided in favor of Mr. Rickey because they didn't identify his line, which was president of the proposed Continental Baseball league. In the second game, the panel was so far off the beaten path that the fingerprint expert from White Plains won the full prize by default. Things went from bad to worse in the mystery guest round, as they ran out of time and handed over what probably was June Allyson's first victory on the show. Ironically, June did use her distinctive voice, but it was to imitate Tallulah Bankhead. Another thing that was ironic was the fact that Bennett mentioned her name during a brief conference. Unfortunately, Arlene wasn't paying attention and went on a different tack. June was on the show to promote her upcoming series "The DuPont Show with June Allyson." The Allyson win pretty much put a capper on this miserable evening. - Sargebri (2005)
Guest panelist Chuck Connors did an okay job for his first appearance on What's My Line? and was able to put in a decent rookie performance. At the time of his appearance on the show tonight, he was also appearing on the classic Western TV series "The Rifleman." However, it was also mentioned during the show that prior to his becoming an actor, he was a pretty good all-around athlete. Of course, he was most famous for his time with the Brooklyn Dodgers as a first baseman. However, he also played football and basketball. In fact, he was so good at basketball, that he played with the Boston Celtics. - Sargebri (2005)
As Mr. Rickey pointed out, he was on the show to help promote the proposed Continental Baseball League which was supposed to begin play in 1961. Unfortunately, the league never did take off and died before a single game could be played. However, the five cities he did mention (New York, Minneapolis, Houston, Denver and Toronto) would eventually get major league teams. In 1961, the original Washington Senators moved from Washington D.C. to Minneapolis and became the Minnesota Twins. In 1962, the National League would return to New York when the Mets joined in 1962. Also in 1962, Houston got the Colt .45's (later the Astros) when the National League expanded that year. In 1976, Toronto would get an American League franchise when the Blue Jays came into the league. Finally, in 1993 after years of trying to land a team, Denver would finally get one when the Colorado Rockies began play in the National League. - Sargebri (2005)
Even though Branch Rickey failed in getting the Continental Baseball League off the ground, he did make an even bigger contribution to baseball, one that would make an impact far beyond the diamond. Years earlier, in 1946, he decided that it finally was time for baseball's color barrier to be broken and he was responsible for the signing of Jackie Robinson. Not only did this start the process of integrating baseball, it also began the slow and difficult process of integrating America as well. In addition, Branch Rickey was also responsible for other new innovations to baseball, such as creating the framework to the modern minor league farm system. - Sargebri - Sargebri (2005)
MORE ON THE CONTINENTAL LEAGUE: The Continental League was actually a ruse DESIGNED to get Major League Baseball to expand. It was the brainchild of one William A. Shea (sound familiar? Shea Stadium), a New York lawyer with many political contacts. He was entrusted by various politicians/businessmen to find a way to bring National League baseball back to NYC after the Giants and Dodgers left for the west coast in 1957. Not being able to convince any other NL team to move, he realized that the only way to do it would be to FORCE baseball to expand by forming a "new" league, one that would include many cities and areas not served by baseball at the time. MLB, outside of the Dodgers and Giants, at this time did not exist north of Milwaukee, or south of St. Louis. Shea deliberately went after areas with powerful members of Congress, such as Texas and Minnesota, finding owners with big pocketbooks to own them. He then declared that he would challenge baseball's monopoly by going after players with expired contracts, and by lobbying Congress hard. He brought Mr. Rickey (who had more than a few beefs with the baseball establishment), in as his president for instant legitimacy. Baseball finally saw the light and decided to expand, using some of the cities and owners of the original Continental group, including, of course, New York. - exapno (2005)
Very funny episode - Chuck was a delightful panelist!
Questioning of Branch Rickey was hilarious, as the panelists were blindfolded. I loved this particular bit from Arlene...
AF: "Would I be correct in assuming that you are not an announcer?"
BR: "Yes. Yes."
AF: "Thank you, Bennett!" (he had given her that tip) "We straightened that out! Uhhh, could I ask Bennett, who is very hip on these things, what other things there are?"
JD: "No, you may not!"
AF: "I can't?"
AF: "Oh. Uhhh, could I ask Chuck? Because he's new here (BIG laugh!) and also he once played right field or something."
BC: "First base."
AF: "First base. All right. But, John, because of friendship's sake and everything, just let me ask one question of Chuck Connors."
JD: "You may ask one question of Chuck Connors."
AF: (to Chuck) "May I ask you what other things there are?"
CC: "Well, uh, we could talk about the people who control the leagues or run them like the league presidents and commissioner of baseball..."
AF: "OHHHH!! Is it Branch Rickey?!?" (Good job, Arlene!)
During questioning of Miss Picard...
CC: "Do you touch them above the waist?" (yes) "Only?" (yes) "Do you touch them below the neck?" (yes) "Only?" (Much laughter)
AF: "You're in dangerous territory there, partner!!"
CC: "I used to be a football player, too. So right now...I'd like to pass."
DK: "I don't know if I'm going to be able to catch it, but I'll try!!" (who says Dorothy doesn't know sports?) "Now. You touch them above the waist and below the neck. And there's no product involved...only a service..."
The audience is laughing heartily by now - as Dorothy's expression is hilarious while she is trying to figure out exactly what the guest might do to/for people above the waist/below the neck!!
JD: "Just steady as you go now!"
DK: "Do you touch their hands or arms?" (yes) "ONLY?!?"
HMMM...WHERE HAVE I SEEN THAT BEFORE?
June Allyson was donning a heart shaped diamond necklace. - fiveninegal (2003)
When Chuck Connors was questioning Marilyn Picard, it was determined that she needed an education to do her job. Chuck replied, "You're a trained filly." - Rick Valley (2003)
June Allyson stumped the panel with a Tallulah Bankhead impression. Imitating Miss Bankhead's low-pitched voice appears to be the most successful choice for "throwing" the panel. - Clay in Alabama (2003)
CHUCK CONNORS: At his height of 6 feet 5 inches, Chuck Connors dwarfed Arlene and Dorothy! When he stood between them, it was an interesting sight! Chuck Connors stated that used to play professional baseball. In fact, he said that the first challenger, Branch Rickey, had signed him up! Chuck also mentioned having played football. John Daly chatted at length with Branch Rickey about the formation of a third major league for baseball, the Continental League. Mr. Rickey was certain that this new 8-team league would be playing games by 1961, since he had obtained the required number of signatures and signups. History tells us that "the majors reacted with alarm. They could not confront the new venture directly without raising antitrust concerns, so they preempted the new league's prime franchises in the expansion of 1961 - 1962, an expansion Rickey had long advocated." The proposed league never became reality. In an August 1960 agreement with the major leagues, the Continental League abandoned plans to join the American League and the National League. The Continental League ended without having played a game. - Suzanne (2003)
Chuck Connors (4/10/1921 - 11/10/1992)
Panel: Arlene Francis, Chuck Connors, Dorothy Kilgallen, Bennett Cerf.
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