What's My Line?

Season 11 Episode 30


Aired Daily 12:00 AM Mar 27, 1960 on CBS
out of 10
User Rating
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Episode Summary

Game 1: Miss Vivian Sirratt - "Cattle Photographer" (self-employed; she photographs livestock for sales catalogs and presentation purposes; after John discloses her line, listen closely to hear Arlene's off-camera "CATTLE-log" pun; from Baxter Springs, Kansas)

 Game 2: William Taylor - "Makes Square Manhole Covers" (self-employed; on his occupation overlay screen, the word "square" was underlined; his unique manhole covers are a square shape, and are fashioned from two triangles which have 3-point supports; his company is called The Silent Knight Company, or possibly The Silent Night Company, because the manhole covers are silent and do not make noise when run over by an automobile; from Cincinnati, Ohio)

Game 3: Shelley Winters (8/18/1920 - 1/14/2006) (as Mystery Guest) . .moreless

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  • Dorothy's back, but it’s not a good night for the panel.

    Dorothy returns from covering the Finch-Tregoff trial, and comedian Mort Sahl is the guest panelist. As with so many guest comedians, Sahl is (a) not especially witty; and (b) not very good at the game. For this and other reasons the show is a disappointment, though it's not entirely the fault of the panel.

    Bennett introduces John by saying that he is “back from the Valley of Decision” (a reference to the CBS special that preempted WML the previous week). During John’s intro to the first commercial, there’s a minor technical goof: They cut away to a closeup of Arlene, then quickly cut back to John again.

    The first contestant, cattle photographer Vivian Sirratt, has a very unusual line. Frankly, no one could possibly be expected to guess it, and they don't. John and the contestant can’t even agree on some of the answers! There’s a lot of conferences and a lot of confusion, and the panel flounders. Sahl makes an odd remark after getting his first no: “Well, here I am sitting here wearing the house tie.” (The only explanation I can think of is that maybe the show's production staff had to loan Sahl the proper neckwear for his appearance on the show.)

    This round is almost painful to watch. Arlene ascertains that animals are involved in the contestant's line, and Dorothy narrows it down further to a product that people use in connection with animals, but in the end no one comes close to getting this odd occupation. John admits that “this was a very tricky one” as he consoles the panel. Then he warns them that it’s going to get worse -- and, unfortunately, he's right.

    William Taylor, an older, balding gentleman, is the next contestant. He manufactures square manhole covers. Once again the panel is completely baffled, though who could blame them with yet another bizarre occupation to guess? The questioning goes on forever and gets nowhere. There are a few amusing moments here and there. Arlene gets a laugh when she asks the bland, bespectacled Taylor, “Is it possible that you don’t look like the job that you have?” Then she inquires “Is this a product that anyone on the panel might use [audience laughter]... if we didn’t care what happens to us?” Dorothy and Arlene are inadvertently funny as they speculate on why they can’t hold the product in their hands.

    At one point the questioning is going so badly that John asks the contestant if he’s had dinner yet, because he was going to suggest that the two of them step out for a bite! More fruitless questioning follows, and in the end the panel loses again. John explains that because of their unique design these manhole covers are silent, and so Mr. Taylor's firm is called The Silent Night Company. “Hole-y night, if it’s a manhole cover,” Arlene shoots back. Dorothy responds to Arlene's wit with appreciative applause.

    The mystery guest, actress Shelley Winters, receives cheers and whistles even though her womanly charms are enveloped in a large fur coat. Bennett suspects Winters’ high-pitched, breathy answers are a ploy, so he asks, “Are you a great, big handsome he-man star?” Dorothy craftily gets two for the price of one in this round. She sneaks in a second question after getting a no on the first. Time runs out with the panel nowhere close, making it 0 for 3. Still, it was good to see all the regulars together again.

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 (0)

  • NOTES (4)

    • FLIP REPORT: In the night's mystery challenger round, John flipped the sole remaining card for mystery challenger Shelley Winters at nine down. All mystery challengers were paid an appearance fee of $500 that was undisclosed to the general public, regardless of the amount shown on the cards, but it was highly unusual for the mystery challenger round to be ended due to time. - agent_0042 (2009)

    • (1) "WML?" SPONSOR WATCH: Not only is Dorothy back tonight, but it is also "Sunbeam time" again for main sponsor honors. This was the first time since EPISODE #499 of January 31, 1960 that the appliance and clock maker has alternated with Kellogg's cereals.
      (2) GSN AIRDATE HISTORY: This episode was shown by GSN on September 30, 2003; November 11, 2005; and March 30, 2009. The relevance of this is related to the last note below.
      (3) "WML?" OVERLAY FONT WATCH: Tonight's show bore witness to the usual variety of overlay typefaces: the "last-minute" font for the first contestant; Futura Demi Bold for the second contestant (the word "Square" was underlined); and "hand-painted" type for the lower-third overlay of mystery guest Shelley Winters.
      (4) CRYPTIC DOROTHY QUESTION WATCH: Dolly Mae led off all mystery guest questioning to Shelley Winters with the probing query, "Have you played the Cocoanut Grove in Los Angeles within the past two months?" Miss Winters' answer was in the negative. (As a side note, the Cocoanut Grove was located in Los Angeles' Ambassador Hotel -- where Senator Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated on June 5, 1968.)
      (5) "STRIKE" THIS: The Hollywood actors' strike referred to by John Daly during the mystery guest round lasted from March 7, 1960 to April 18, 1960, and centered on residuals for motion pictures that were sold to television. As part of the settlement, actors who appeared in films prior to 1960 received a one-time payout in residuals, and actors appearing in movies and TV shows released after 1960 would receive 6 percent of the gross. Many older actors (including a few past and future "WML?" mystery guests) denounced the settlement as a sellout. This strike by the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) came on the heels of another strike by the Writers Guild of America (WGA) which lasted from January 31, 1960 to June 17, 1960 and likewise centered on film and TV residuals.
      (6) "WML?" CREDITS CRUNCH WATCH: The closing credits cut short after the art card slide crediting associate producers Bob Bach and Ann Kaminsky. Since GSN's March 30, 2009 airing of this episode was the last to be shown by the cable and satellite channel for the foreseeable future (if at all), any reasonable person would think that GSN would give the viewing audience some kind of break -- but unfortunately, they once again imposed their blasphemous and heretical "credits crunch" as a final insult to injury, not to mention the final nail in the coffin.
      (7) GSN's March 30, 2009 airing of tonight's show was followed by the February 4, 1960 edition of "To Tell the Truth" with host Bud Collyer and the panel assembled as Polly Bergen, Robert Q. Lewis, Kitty Carlisle and Tom Poston. The first game featured ordained minister, magician and mentalist (psychic) David Hoy and two impostors (in a rare departure from the norm, the challengers all claiming to be Mr. Hoy were blindfolded and pre-seated at the start of this episode; after the real Mr. Hoy was revealed, one of the "impostors" identified himself as Merrill Staton, leader of The Merrill Staton Choir which recorded for Epic Records at the time; Epic was, and is, the sister label of Columbia Records for which Miss Bergen then recorded); the second game featured Mrs. Dixie Qualset (a masseuse from Omaha, Nebraska, who was touring the country on behalf of President Eisenhower's Council on Youth Fitness; she had won the title of "Miss Youth Fitness"; she had previously been a contestant on "WML?" EPISODE #447 of January 11, 1959) and two impostors; and the third game featured Mike Gladish (approximate spelling; worked in public relations for Boeing; during World War II, he was a fighter pilot for the French, British and American air forces; while in the American Eighth Air Force, he shot down 28 German planes; he won numerous decorations including the French Croix de Guerre, the British Distinguished Flying Cross, the American Silver Star and Distinguished Flying Cross, and the equivalent of the Congressional Medal of Honor from his native Poland) and two impostors.
      (8) END OF THE "LINE" - AND THAT'S "THE TRUTH" (OR, "THAT'S -30-"): Barring any future changes in GSN's schedule, the March 30, 2009 airings of the vintage 1960 "WML?" and "TTTT" episodes brought the curtain down on the "Black and White Overnight" block that aired in one form or another, and in varying frequency, since 2001. Starting March 31, 2009, the 3:00 AM to 4:00 AM (Eastern time) slot will be filled by the Richard Dawson-hosted "Family Feud," followed by the final 1966-1967 season of the CBS version of "Password" hosted by Allen Ludden. The first episode of "Password" to be shown is the September 12, 1966 edition with celebrity contestants Barbara Bain and Brian Keith; this was the first edition of "Password" to be videotaped in color, and indeed all "Password" episodes from that season that still exist are on color videotape. There is an ironic, symbolic significance to this 2009 "changing of the guard" by GSN, since Miss Bain, at the time of that "Password" episode, was about to co-star in a new series called "Mission: Impossible" -- and that show replaced "WML?" (and "Candid Camera") in the Sunday at 10:00 PM time slot on CBS in 1967. - W-B (2009)

    • WELCOME HOME DOLLY MAE!!! After two weeks away covering the Finch trial, Dorothy is back. Unfortunately, it was not a very happy homecoming as the panel put in one of their worst performances in the show's ten year history. However, the panel shouldn't be criticized too much, because the occupations were so unusual. Even on an otherwise great night game-wise, tonight's occupations probably would have tripped them up. In the first game, the panel was absolutely stumped by the lady from Kansas who photographed cattle for advertising purposes and catalogs (or as Arlene put it, cattlelog). However, the panel should take partial blame for their loss, due to the fact that they concentrated more on the product rather than the service. If they had concentrated on the service, maybe they would have gotten it. The panel also was destroyed in the second game as they were stumped by the man who made square manhole covers. The capper really came in the mystery guest round when they were stumped by Shelley Winters, who used a very sexy and breathy southern accent to fool the panel. Shelley was on the show to promote her latest 1960 picture "Let No Man Write My Epitaph," which was about to open. John also brought up the current Hollywood actors strike which was going on. During the good nights, John said that even though the panel didn't perform well, they should get an "A" for effort. However, Dorothy put it best when she said that before they left the show, they were all going to turn in their uniforms. - Sargebri (2005)

      SHELLY WINTERS: Also mentioned during the post game chat with Shelley Winters was her Best Supporting Actress Oscar nomination for her performance as "Mrs. Petronella Van Daan" in the classic 1959 film "The Diary of Anne Frank." In fact, Shelley would go on to win the first of her two Academy Awards. The other was for her role of "Rose-Ann D'Arcy" in the 1965 film "A Patch of Blue." - Sargebri (2005)

    • Panel: Dorothy Kilgallen, Mort Sahl, Arlene Francis, Bennett Cerf.