What's My Line?

Season 11 Episode 21


Aired Daily 12:00 AM Jan 24, 1960 on CBS

Episode Fan Reviews (1)

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  • Jack Paar's mystery guest round is highly entertaining. William Bendix is a better-than-average guest panelist.

    This episode gets off to a slow start, but ends with a bang. Character actor William Bendix (1906-1964), who starred in "Life of Riley" on TV, isn't especially funny tonight. But he is pleasant and likeable and plays the game well.

    The first two rounds are fairly routine except for a bright moment here and there. One is when John reacts with mock indignation to Bennett's good-natured insult to his manly physique. Another is when Arlene gets a weenie and cries "Oh!" just after the questioning passes from her to Bendix, who has the presence of mind to call for a conference. Arlene livens the proceedings again when she slyly tries to change the phrasing of her question to coax a "yes" answer from the flagpole maker. But John, a stern enforcer of the rules, doesn't let her get away with it.

    The highlight of this episode is the appearance of Jack Paar (1918-2004) as mystery guest. It's easy to see why he was so popular as Steve Allen's successor on "The Tonight Show." What a delightful man! He comes out carrying a bullhorn, which he uses to disguise his voice. The device makes him sound like Mickey Mouse. His droll facial expressions during the questioning are priceless. Too bad the panel can't see them.

    At one point during the post-game chat, Paar mimes the stage manager's hand signal that means "wrap" and says that he'll leave now because he can see that the show is running long. John doesn't react to this statement but instead continues the conversation (while Dorothy, who disliked Paar, pointedly remains silent). When Paar exits after shaking the panel's hands, he goofs and goes through the entrance curtain.

    After the break, Paar pops back out of the curtain again. He is now wearing an overcoat and muffler. (It's January in New York City). He apologizes for having misinterpreted the stage manager's signal -- the show is actually running short, and they have extra time to fill! John, who seems glad to see Paar again, has him sit down for some more chat, and the show ends on this happy note.

    Technically speaking, this kinescope is seriously flawed. There's noticeable scratching noise throughout the soundtrack, and the video isn't as sharp as usual.
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