What's My Line?

Season 11 Episode 9


Aired Daily 12:00 AM Nov 01, 1959 on CBS

Episode Fan Reviews (1)

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out of 10
5 votes
  • 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!
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