GUEST PANELIST RED BARBER'S LONG DAY: On June 3, 1951, the date of tonight's episode, the Brooklyn Dodgers swept two games from the Chicago Cubs in a doubleheader at Ebbets Field. The Dodgers won the first game behind Don Newcombe, who struck out 12 in going the distance, while giving up nine hits in winning 8-3. The second game went ten innings with the Dodgers winning 3-2 behind Preacher Roe, who ran his win/loss record to an impressive 7-0 on the year. At this time, Red was the Dodgers' principal radio announcer, partnering with Connie Desmond and Vin Scully on the broadcasts. The Dodgers were managed by future "WML?" mystery guest Chuck Dressen, who took over the team this year in 1951 and managed them for three seasons. - cerfnet (2008)
MEN'S NIGHT: On tonight's episode, by happenstance, all of the games contain male contestants, including the mystery guest round. Even the guest panelist is a male. This is rare for "WML?," unlike the several (unofficial) "Ladies' Night" episodes in which all the contestants are female. - Suzanne (2008)
(1) GUEST PANELIST: This was the only "WML?" appearance of legendary sports broadcaster Red Barber, who was the announcer for the Cincinnati Reds from 1934 to 1938; for the Brooklyn Dodgers from 1939 to 1953; and for the New York Yankees from then until 1966. With the latter team, he sat alongside such future broadcast legends as Mel Allen and, from 1957 onwards, former Yankee shortstop (and mystery guest on the debut "WML?" EPISODE #1 of February 2, 1950) Phil Rizzuto. "The Ol' Redhead's" run as Yankees broadcaster was brought to an end less than a year prior to the end of "WML?'s" CBS run, after a late-season game against the Chicago White Sox on September 22, 1966. This game was the lowest-paid attendance in the history of Yankee Stadium, with only 413 brave souls in attendance at the 65,000-seat Stadium that day, in a year in which the "Bronx Bombers" finished in last place. The team's vice president for radio and television ordered there be no shots of the stands, but Mr. Barber was undeterred; at one point in the game, he announced to the viewing audience, "I don't know what the paid attendance is today, but whatever it is, it's the smallest crowd in the history of the stadium. And this smallest crowd is the story, not the ball game." Four days later, over breakfast at the Plaza Hotel, Michael Burke, who had just been named president of the Yankees by the team's then-owner, CBS, rewarded Mr. Barber for his unflinching honesty by unceremoniously firing him. This infamous episode in Yankees history was documented in Bruce Nash and Allan Zullo's 1986 book "The Baseball Hall of Shame 2." As a side note, unlike either Mr. Rizzuto or Mr. Barber, Mr. Allen never made any appearances of any kind on "WML?"; nor did Red's protege, fellow broadcaster Vin Scully, who started calling Dodgers games in 1950 and remained with the team following their move to Los Angeles effective with the 1958 season, and who continues to the present day (as of this writing in March 2008).
(2) MYSTERY GUEST - PART I: The other individual to make both a first and last "WML?" appearance in tonight's long-lost episode, albeit within its long run on CBS, was noted bandleader Cab Calloway. Besides his appearances in two 1943 films, "Cabin in the Sky" and "Stormy Weather," as well as the 1980 flick "The Blues Brothers" and numerous TV shows over the decades, Mr. Calloway appeared by voice in a few legendary "Betty Boop" shorts produced by the Max Fleischer cartoon studio, including "Snow White" (1933) whose release pre-dated Walt Disney's feature-length animated adaptation of the fairy tale by four years. - W-B (2008)
(3) MYSTERY GUEST - PART II: Cab Calloway went on to make a total of three mystery guest appearances on the syndicated incarnation of "WML?" within its final two years of original production. One of them was within its very last week, Week #264, which was recorded on December 12, 1974. The show was by then hosted by Larry Blyden, and the panel on that swan-song week was assembled as Soupy Sales, Anita Gillette, Henry Morgan and Arlene Francis. - W-B (updated 2009)
Per Gil Fates' handwritten logs, no kinescope of this episode exists. It was destroyed by CBS before Gil Fates noticed the destruction policy in 1952 and began saving the kinescopes. Only about 10 episodes exist from February 1950 to July 1952. - Suzanne (2004)
Walter Lanier "Red" Barber (2/17/1908 - 10/22/1992)
Panel: Dorothy Kilgallen, Red Barber, Arlene Francis, Hal Block. Bennett Cerf had the night off. - Suzanne (2008)