What's My Line?

Season 11 Episode 9


Aired Daily 12:00 AM Nov 01, 1959 on CBS
out of 10
User Rating
5 votes

By TV.com Users

Episode Summary

Game 1: Miss Ann Faulkner - "Television Cameraman" (salaried; for the record, the city of Bristol spans the Tennessee-Virginia border, so John did not make an error as is commonly thought; from 5:00 PM to about 11:00 PM, she works at television station WCYB in Bristol, VA; during the daytime, she works in a missile plant which was not named; after her game ends, John comments that her proper occupation should be termed a camerawoman; from Bristol, TN)

Game 2: Mr. Lee A. Sullivan, Sr. - "Makes Ferris Wheels" (self-employed; age 70; he is the president of the Eli Bridge Company, which stopped making bridges in 1900, and now makes Ferris wheels; John commented on Lee's 'television blue shirt' which was the preferred shirt color for black & white broadcasting; from Jacksonville, IL)

Game 3: Harry Belafonte (b. 3/1/1927) (as Mystery Guest)

Who was the Episode MVP ?

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  • OK, but not many laughs

    Bennett introduced John (incorrectly) as "John Charles Francis Croghan Daly." John observed that Bennett's been getting it wrong for nine and a half years now. (His actual name was John Charles Patrick Croghan Daly.)

    Ray Milland seemed tired and a bit uncomfortable as the guest panelist. He didn't do too well at the game, either.

    The first contestant, a female television "cameraman," stumped the panel, although Dorothy was really on the ball. ("You look rather athletic. Does your job require strength or dexterity? Do a lot more men than women perform this service?") After Miss Faulkner's line was revealed, the panel looked astonished. A woman, operating a TV camera? Even today, it's not all that common. Back then, it was practically unheard of.

    Bennett, with his literary background, had to ask Miss Faulkner if she was related to the famous author, William Faulkner. (She wasn't.)

    Contestant number two was a 70-year-old gentleman who made Ferris wheels. You'd think there would have been a lot of humor in this round, but no. The panel asked serious questions and got serious answers, and none of them even came close to guessing the contestant's occupation.

    Probably the most interesting part of the segment was when the contestant first walked in. John congratulated him on his camera-ready attire, exclaiming, "That's one of the nicest television blue shirts I've seen in a long time!" Back in those days, the very bright TV camera lights caused white shirts to flare, creating a halo effect. Blue shirts looked white on TV.

    The mystery guest, Harry Belafonte, wasn't much of a mystery to the panel even though he disguised his voice with what he described as a "Creole French double talk" accent. He sounded like Maurice Chevalier. The panel guessed him very quickly without a single "No." John mentioned Belafonte's upcoming show at the Palace Theatre in New York City, the last of the vaudeville houses in America. This leads to a short discussion on the demise of vaudeville, which Harry thought was "only dormant." John allowed that TV and radio were the new vaudeville.

    Arlene asked Belafonte to exit singing "Matilda," but he demurred, with the excuse that he was going to sing it later for Revlon. Presumably, the sponsor would have been unhappy if Belafonte sang it first on someone else's show. Sponsors had a lot more power when they paid for entire programs, as they often did then.

    Arlene likes to ask mystery guests to perform, which is about the only quibble I have with this most delightful lady. It doesn't seem fair to put a guest on the spot like that, on live television!

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)

    • John Daly: (to Miss Ann Faulkner, whose occupation overlay screen read, "Television Cameraman") I suppose the proper term would be "Camerawoman."

  • NOTES (4)

    • FLIP REPORT: In the night's second game, John flipped the remaining cards for the second contestant at eight down because time was running out. He declared Arlene Francis's guess of "probably a broom you ride in on" to be the closest anyone got to figuring out the contestant's product, Ferris wheels. - agent_0042 (2009)

    • (1) "WML?" SPONSOR, ANNOUNCER AND PANEL WATCH: For the second straight week, Sunbeam is the main sponsor, and announcer Hal Simms has utilized the "award-winning panel of 'What's My Line?'" opening variation this evening. Meanwhile, of Ray Milland's three "WML?" appearances, this was to be his only stint as a guest panelist. At the time of his appearance tonight, Mr. Milland was starring in a TV series, "Markham," in the role of former New York attorney turned private detective "Roy Markham." The show ran on CBS from May 2, 1959 to September 22, 1960.
      (2) FROM THE "THERE'S SOMETHING ABOUT FRANCIS" DEPARTMENT: During the introductions, Bennett, in a continuation of a recurring routine over the course of the show's run, mentions that the panel moderator has five names and proceeds to introduce John as "John Charles Francis Croghan Daly" - leading John to mildly criticize Bennett by saying, "after 9½ years, he still hasn't got it right!" Francis was never part of John's long name and, on other occasions, both before and after tonight's episode, Bennett did in fact get it right - but not tonight. For the record, John's full name is John Charles Patrick Croghan Daly.
      (3) HARRY BELAFONTE: After Bennett correctly guessed mystery guest Harry Belafonte, the panel and Mr. Daly got around to discussing with him his latest movie, "Odds Against Tomorrow," a coming engagement at the Palace Theatre, and an upcoming special for CBS. What was not discussed, oddly enough, was Belafonte's groundbreaking live double-album "Belafonte at Carnegie Hall," which set the template for all live albums to follow. Recorded over the course of two concerts at the famed New York venue on April 19 and 20, 1959, it was released by RCA Victor (LOC / LSO-6006) in October 1959 and would spawn, a year later, a follow-up LP "Belafonte Returns to Carnegie Hall."
      (4) "WML?" CLOSING THEME AND CREDITS CRUNCH WATCH: For the fourth week in a row, an orchestral version of the Raymond Scott composition "The Toy Trumpet" is heard over the end credits in place of the regular closing theme, the Lou Busch & Milton DeLugg composition "Rollercoaster." Mr. Scott was a famed composer and bandleader, some of whose songs, including "The Toy Trumpet," turned up in many classic Warner Brothers "Looney Tunes" cartoons. And speaking of looney, GSN's March 12, 2009 airing of this episode was bereft of the original vintage audio containing this alternate closing theme, as part and parcel of their rapacious and ruinous "crunching" of the end credits -- which, after the travel arrangements plug for United Airlines, went all the way through, right up to the art card for technical director Vernon Gamble and lighting director Charles Reinhard.
      (5) Following the March 12, 2009 airing of tonight's show, GSN ran the September 15, 1959 airing of "To Tell the Truth," with host Bud Collyer and the panel this week consisting of Polly Bergen, Chester Morris, Kitty Carlisle and Peter Donald. Mr. Morris (making his "TTTT" debut) never appeared on "WML?" at any point in its CBS run (however, he was a mystery guest on the syndicated edition in 1969), but had been on the February 3, 1953 edition of "The Name's the Same," and later appeared on such other Goodson-Todman shows as the Bill Cullen incarnation of "The Price Is Right," the original 1961-1966 CBS version of "Password" and the original 1962-1969 NBC incarnation of "The Match Game." As for Mr. Donald (making the second of three consecutive "TTTT" appearances; his first and last were cigarette-sponsored, and thus cannot be shown by GSN), his appearance here, as well as on the April 28, 1953 and May 5, 1953 editions of "The Name's the Same," fared considerably better in terms of kinescope preservation than his guest panelist shot on the now-lost "WML?" EPISODE #70 of September 30, 1951. As for the games of the evening, the first game featured Andre Rousseau (inspector general and supervisor of wine tasting for the Roederer champagne company of Reims, France, and former seamanship instructor to Prince Rainier of Monaco) and two impostors; the second game featured world champion junior cowgirl Nancy Bain and two impostors; and the third game featured James Cortese (editor of the Memphis Commercial Appeal newspaper whose escapes from boredom included such activities as swimming the Mississippi River and traveling across the entire state of Texas on roller skates) and two impostors. - W-B (2005, updated 2009)

    • REVIEW: As John said in the second game, he wished he had stayed home tonight. He probably wasn't the only one thinking those thoughts. After tonight's miserable performance, the whole panel probably wished that they, too, had stayed in. In fact, if it weren't for their remarkable performance in the mystery guest round, they would have really had a horrid night. In the first game, they were absolutely stumped by the female cameraman from Bristol, Tennessee. Of course, they couldn't believe that a woman could do this, but this was long before women really started taking a lot of behind the scenes positions in television. In the second game, they again were stumped. This time they were done in by an elderly Ferris wheel maker from Illinois. Fortunately for the panel, they did extremely well in the mystery guest round, as they didn't get one "no" answer from Harry Belafonte. For the record, Bennett was the one who identified him. Harry was on the show to promote his upcoming eight week stay at the Palace Theater. He also discussed his upcoming television special on CBS as well as his latest film. The success in the mystery guest round really took the sting out of a dreadful night. - Sargebri (2005)

    • Ray Milland (1/3/1907 - 3/10/1986)

      Panel: Dorothy Kilgallen, Ray Milland, Arlene Francis, Bennett Cerf.