What's My Line?

Season 11 Episode 31


Aired Daily 12:00 AM Apr 03, 1960 on CBS
out of 10
User Rating
3 votes

By TV.com Users

Episode Summary

Game 1: Miss Louise Emmons - "Census Taker (Took Census at Homes of our Panel)" (salaried; Dorothy gets quite upset and demands to know who gave out her personal information; Bennett guesses her line in one turn; originally from Swarthmore, PA; currently from New York, NY)

Game 2: Nick Padilla - "Designs Maternity Clothes" (salaried; he has been employed at Stork for 6 years; from New York, NY)

Game 3: Jane Fonda (b. 12/21/1937) (as Mystery Guest)

Game 4: Edward Fenn - "Butler" (salaried; originally from London, England; currently from Pennsylvania, PA)

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  • We missed Arlene, but the show was still lots of fun.

    Arlene is missing in action tonight. She's stranded at the Tampa airport, Martin explains. “To Tell the Truth” panelist Polly Bergen is a delightful last-minute substitute. She introduces Bennett by saying, “And now will the real Random House publisher, lecturer, panelist and collector of funny stories please stand up?” “I think you got your shows mixed up!” he replies.

    The first challenger is tall, regal-looking Louise Emmons, who is a census taker. The twist is that she has recently visited the homes of the panel. Bennett’s red hot tonight! He nails her in five questions, without a single no. Dorothy seems a bit perturbed when she learns that Miss Emmons has been to her home. She insists on knowing who gave out information about her. Miss Emmons replies, “I believe it was your husband.” Dorothy then smiles sweetly, looks into the camera and says, "OK, honey, Just stay home, I’ll be home in a few minutes.” Martin mentions that he’s delighted that Bennett did so well "because his son Chris is out front tonight.”

    The second round is the best. The contestant is a handsome young man who designs maternity clothes. His youth, gender and good looks make the line seem even funnier. The audience roars with laughter at almost every question. Dorothy asks. “If I were walking down Fifth Ave. with one of these things, would it be noticeable?" (Big laugh.) When she asks, "Is it smaller than a jet plane?" John replies “Most of the time,” and the audience roars. Bennett's innocent inquiry, “Does it sometimes vary in size?” sets off another wave of laughter. Dorothy finally nails it. But Bennett, having gotten a no on “intimate,” has a post-game quibble with John. He asks, “Isn’t having a baby kind of an intimate thing?” (Well, yes, but that wasn't the product.)

    The mystery guest is Jane Fonda, then a pretty young ingenue chiefly known as Henry's daughter. After John announces, "Sign in, please," the audience goes wild, with loud cheering and whistles. John reacts to this with an uncharacteristic scowl. He most assuredly does not like rowdy audiences! Fonda speaks in a Southern accent, answering one question, “That’s right, honey!” Bennett once again homes in on it like a bloodhound tracking a scent. "Do you happen to have a father who is also reasonably well-known in the theatrical world?” he asks. Then he triumphantly announces, “You’re Jane Fonda!” She comments that even without their masks, she doubts if the panel would have known who she was. John gently admonishes her for being so modest and wishes her success. Then he pays tribute to Mr. Cerf's brilliance. "Somebody gave him some hot Bovril or something!”

    A very British butler is the final contestant. John has to correct him after he answers yes to, "Do you work for a non-profit organization?" To Dorothy's question, “Could the entire panel avail themselves of your services?” he answers, “I wish they would!” John is uncharacteristically indulgent toward Polly. He refrains from giving her a no to one of her questions "because you’re so pretty.” This is most unusual for John, who's normally such a stickler. Maybe he's the one who had the hot Bovril! The panel loses this round. In closing, Daly warns Fayetteville, Wichita, St. Louis, Indianapolis and Cleveland to "lock the doors and get the children in early, because Bennett is coming out your way.”

    There's a brief Easter Seals announcement before the credits with a graphic that says, “Help Crippled Children. Give to Easter Seals."

    I would have given this show a 9.5 if Arlene had been on it. Like Mary Poppins, it was practically perfect in every way.moreless
John Daly

John Daly

Moderator (1950-1967)

Bennett Cerf

Bennett Cerf

Regular Panelist (1951-1967)

Dorothy Kilgallen

Dorothy Kilgallen

Regular Panelist (1950-1965)

Jane Fonda

Jane Fonda

Mystery Guest

Guest Star

Martin Gabel

Martin Gabel

Guest Panelist

Guest Star

Polly Bergen

Polly Bergen

Guest Panelist

Guest Star

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (0)

  • QUOTES (0)

  • NOTES (5)

    • If Dorothy was unhappy about sharing her personal information with the 1960 census taker, had Dorothy lived, she would not have been happy to see what happened in 1992 and 2002, when the United States government released the complete 1920 and 1930 censuses (respectively) to the general public. Microfilms of the original handwritten records are freely available at the National Archives, large libraries, and genealogy centers. In addition, they can be viewed over the Internet through various online genealogy services. Federal census records are treated as private for 72 years only, and then anyone can view them. People are generally surprised when they discover that this information is now considered to be a part of the public domain. - Thea (2005)

      For more information, see:

    • REVIEW: After the previous week's dismal performance, the panel pulled off a near perfecto on this episode. Ironically, Arlene wasn't there to share in the fun, because she was unexpectedly stuck in an airport in Florida. What made it doubly ironic was the fact that it marked the second time that Martin was on the show without his lovely wife. Ably filling in for Arlene was "To Tell the Truth" panelist Polly Bergen. Polly even managed to get a plug in for her show when she used a version of that show's famous catch phrase, "Will the real ___ please stand up" when she introduced Bennett. This introduction probably was a good omen as Bennett did a wonderful job when he made an unassisted correct guess of the United States census taker. What really made the first game interesting was Dorothy's angry reaction when she found out that the young lady had gone to her house and had questioned her husband Dick Kollmar. In the second game, Dolly Mae, who had calmed down considerably, and who was also looking very chic with a new hairdo, correctly guessed that the contestant designed maternity dresses. In the mystery guest round, Bennett once again did a good job in correctly identifying the future "Hanoi Jane," Jane Fonda. Jane was on the show to promote her upcoming film "Tall Story," which also starred frequent WML guest panelist Tony Perkins. Unfortunately, the panel was denied perfection when they failed to correctly guess that the final contestant was a butler. However, this still was a night they could be proud and hold their heads high. - Sargebri (2005)

      MYSTERY GUEST: Jane Fonda's appearance tonight was several years before she would gain infamy for what many people consider to be her treasonous actions when she went to North Vietnam and showed her support for the Communists in that war. She made several radio announcements during the Vietnam war which some people interpreted as messages suggesting that the soldiers surrender. There also was a very infamous photo of her taken while she was sitting on an anti-aircraft gun, smiling, as if she were having fun. These actions would dog her career for years to come. Decades later, she said that she did not realize it was an anti-aircraft gun, but she will not apologize for all of her actions during the war. - Sargebri (2005)

      UNITED STATES CENSUS: An interesting note about the U.S. census of 1960 is that this was the last census in which census takers were extensively sent door to door to interview people. Beginning with the 1970 census, U.S. citizens were sent questionnaires in the mail. They were asked to fill them out and answer all of the vital questions. However, field census takers are still used on occasion to help with the taking of the census. - Sargebri (2005)

    • WHY DID DOROTHY GET MAD REGARDING THE CENSUS? I analyze Dorothy's obvious snit by taking a premise of psychology and adapting it to this situation. Psychologists say we are most annoyed by the behavior of others when it mirrors our own flaws. (For example, people who fib are irate when others fib to them.) In this case, Dorothy, for her "Voice of Broadway" newspaper column, constantly pries into the private affairs of others. It should come as no surprise, then, if you believe what psychologists tell us, that she would be annoyed by anyone who might "pry" into her private affairs. - Lee McIntyre (2005)

    • (1) Dorothy unveils a new hairstyle with tonight's show.
      (2) In her introduction of Bennett, Polly Bergen employs a variation of the phrase most associated with the show on which she was a panelist at the time, "To Tell the Truth."
      (3) An appeal for Easter Seals, complete with visual card, is incorporated into tonight's end credits. - W-B (2005)

    • This is Polly Bergen's first appearance as a WML guest panelist. She was a mystery guest on August 31, 1958. However, she was no stranger to panel shows. From 1956 to 1961, she was a panelist on "To Tell the Truth," another Goodson-Todman Productions game show. - Suzanne (2003) Bennett Cerf was very sharp tonight! He batted off the census taker all by himself! John Daly mentioned that Bennett was doing so well because Bennett's son Christopher Cerf was in the audience. - Suzanne (2003) Dorothy Kilgallen was very unhappy when it was revealed that the census taker had been to her house! She demanded, right then and there, to know WHO gave out HER information without her knowledge! The census taker said the data was given to her by Dick Kollmar, Dorothy's husband. Dorothy then faced the camera and addressed her husband Dick! She said she would be home soon to discuss the matter! OH MY! - Suzanne (2003)

      Polly Bergen (7/14/1930 - 9/20/2014)

      Panel: Dorothy Kilgallen, Martin Gabel, Polly Bergen, Bennett Cerf. Arlene Francis was absent because she had been stranded at an airport in Tampa, Florida, due to a storm.


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