What's My Line?

Season 11 Episode 30


Aired Daily 12:00 AM Mar 27, 1960 on CBS

Episode Fan Reviews (1)

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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.