What's My Line?

Season 12 Episode 23


Aired Daily 12:00 AM Feb 05, 1961 on CBS



  • Trivia

  • Quotes

    • Debbie: Uh, in this line of writing, uh, is it perhaps in the newspaper field? Well, let's say that. Is it in the newspaper field?
      Dorothy: (dropping her vocal disguise) What do you want me to do, darling, give it away?

    • John: (hinting at the first challenger's occupation) Well, I'm sure if you would just think about this and get your polarities right...

  • Notes

    • WELCOME JOHNNY OLSON! This is the first time that Johnny Olson is heard as the studio announcer for WML, although he does not announce his name during the closing credits. - ymike673 (2005)

    • Though it wasn't mentioned, this was the 11th anniversary of the show. However, this still was a very special night due to the surprise the panel got in the mystery guest round. In the first game, the panel basically had it figured out that the contestant was a naval officer and that he had something to do with missiles. However, it took a major hint by John, who used the word "polarity," to get them on the track of the Polaris missile. In the second game, the dental instructor put them through the wringer as she totally stumped them. Guest panelist Tony Perkins came the closest when he said she was a teacher, but he thought she was a yoga instructor. The special event of the evening came when Dorothy popped out from behind the curtain. She was up there for more than a few minutes using a high pitched squeak to fool the panel before Martin correctly identified her. It was also very interesting that when Debbie Reynolds, who was filling in as a panelist for Dorothy, questioned her, Dorothy broke out an accent which was very reminiscent of the one Debbie used in her very memorable appearance on the show a year earlier. This was definitely a night of celebration as Dolly Mae returned and she seemed touched by the applause. And on that happy note, "What's My Line?" concluded its 11th anniversary program as well as its 550th broadcast. - Sargebri (2005)

      The arrangement of the panel is very different on this episode. Normally, the panelists are seated in this order: female, male, female, male. However, this evening it is male, female, male, female. What is interesting about it is the fact that this would be the arrangement used for the syndicated version. Soupy Sales would come out, first followed by the two guest panelists, with Arlene coming out last in the anchor position to introduce either Wally Bruner or Larry Blyden. - Sargebri (2005)

      KILGALLEN WATCH!!! Dolly Mae looked fairly well this evening as she made her triumphant return to the show. She also was extremely nervous as she was not only holding on to John's hand throughout, but she also seemed as if she was breathing very heavily. The next week she would return to her usual seat on the panel. Unfortunately, her good health wouldn't last. In early 1963, her substance abuse problems would once again come back to plague her and she would once again be admitted to Le Roy Sanitarium to try to get a hold of her problems. However, it still was a night to celebrate the return of the "Voice of Broadway." - Sargebri (2005)

    • FLIP REPORT: John flipped all the cards for the first challenger at five down and five to go. - agent_0042 (2005)

      As Dorothy was exiting after her game, she had hugs and/or kisses for everyone on the panel except Debbie Reynolds. Instead, Dorothy shook Debbie's hand. This was probably because she was more familiar with all the others. - agent_0042 (2005)

    • (1) "WML?" SPONSOR, ANNOUNCER AND PANEL WATCH: Tonight's main sponsor is Kellogg's. As noted elsewhere in this section, this was the first time Johnny Olson handled the announcing duties for "WML?" -- albeit on this occasion, he was filling in for regular announcer Hal Simms. And of Debbie Reynolds' five appearances on "WML?," this was to be her only turn as guest panelist.
      (2) OPENING SEGMENT NOTES: (2a) Tony Perkins is wearing a regular business suit and straight tie -- in a throwback to the show's earliest days. (2b) In a preview of things to come, Arlene is seated at the anchor position of the panel desk, which is where she will mostly be seated during the 1968-1975 syndicated version of "WML?" (2c) This is at least the second time that Arlene has introduced John Daly, as she previously had that distinction on EPISODE #351 of February 24, 1957. (2d) Martin Gabel appears tonight on the far end of the panel desk (to the viewer's left side). He would later take that seat on the very last EPISODE #876 of September 3, 1967.
      (3) "WML?" PANELISTS AS MYSTERY GUESTS: Dorothy Kilgallen was not the first person to appear as a mystery guest during her time as a regular panelist on "WML?" Steve Allen and Fred Allen, during their respective stints as regular panelists, also had this distinction. In Fred's case, on EPISODE #267 of July 17, 1955, his mystery guest appearance also occurred while he was recovering from an illness - in his case, an appendectomy. Steverino's mystery guest appearance during his days as a regular panelist was on EPISODE #187 of December 27, 1953. Ernie Kovacs made an ultimately disastrous mystery guest appearance on EPISODE #379 of September 8, 1957, during his all-too-brief run as a regular panelist. Bennett Cerf never appeared as a mystery guest during "WML?'s" long run on CBS, but he was a mystery guest within the second week of the 1968-1975 syndicated version, in an appearance taped on July 16, 1968. The panelists on that daytime episode, hosted by Wally Bruner, were Phyllis Newman, Darryl Hickman, Gawn Granger and Arlene Francis -- who was the only one of the regular "WML?" panelists never to have appeared as a mystery guest, either on CBS or in syndication.
      (4) "WML?" END CREDITS WATCH: Once again tonight (as John was fond of saying), Paul Alter is the director, filling in for Franklin Heller, as per the end credits, which go all the way through this evening. - W-B (2005, updated 2008 + 2009)

    • ANNOUNCER WATCH: As noted above, this is Johnny Olson's first episode as a "WML?" substitute announcer. He is filling in tonight for Hal Simms, whose run as a regular announcer will officially end on EPISODE #553 of February 26, 1961. From EPISODE #554 of March 5, 1961 to EPISODE #587 of November 5, 1961, Ralph Paul will be the regular "WML?" announcer. Succeeding him, Olson takes over as program announcer beginning with EPISODE #588 of November 12, 1961. Olson then continued with the series through the conclusion of its network run and also announced the syndicated show through the 1971-1972 season, when he moved to Los Angeles, California to begin his run as the announcer on "The Price Is Right." - davemackey (2003) & W-B (2005)

    • Dorothy was absolutely cute as she answered the panel in a high pitched voice that made her sound like a little puppy. She looked in good spirits and it seemed as if her stay in the clinic had helped. Unfortunately, she had a relapse and returned to the hospital a few months later. She admitted that she was nervous and that sitting in the mystery guest chair was more difficult than it looked. - Sargebri (2003)

      Dorothy was SO CUUUUUTE as the mystery guest! Had I been in the audience that evening, I would have rushed onstage to give her a great big hug. This was a fun episode all around. Debbie Reynolds was a joy. It was strange seeing the men sitting where the women usually sit (and vice versa)! - fiveninegal (2003)

    • Dorothy Kilgallen was absolutely adorable and charming as the mystery guest! She looked lovely in a knee-length dark dress with a thin fur-accented "V" neck and lace bodice. Her voice disguise was excellent! However, after the panel found out she was an author in "newspapers," it did not take Martin Gabel long to blurt out Dorothy's name. During the post-game chat with John, she told the audience she was nervous, and held John Daly's hand for support! It was great having her back! - Suzanne (2003)

    • During this time period in Dorothy's personal life, she suffered from the effects of substance abuse. She was admitted to LeRoy Hospital in New York in January 1961, for a rehabilitation stay of four weeks. Here is an excerpt from Lee Israel's 1979 book, "Kilgallen":

      ********* begin quote *********

      On recovering from her illness, Dorothy made her first appearance as the "mystery celebrity" on WML. John Daly had barely finished his standard introduction when she popped out from behind the studio curtain in a sensational mink-trimmed gown and made herself visible to the studio audience. There were immediate and spontaneous gasps and cheers and bravos, which must have deeply touched her. Once seated beside Daly, she emitted little Boopish coo-coos to fool her colleagues, who were under the impression that she was still in the hospital. But they were not fooled for long.
      "What a nice surprise!" alternate panelist Tony Perkins said.
      "We're so very glad to see you," Arlene concurred.

      ********* end quote *********

      Since What's My Line? was first broadcast on February 2, 1950, they are near their "eleventh anniversary" show. - Suzanne (2003)

      Debbie Reynolds (b. 4/1/1932)

      Panel: Martin Gabel, Debbie Reynolds, Anthony Perkins, Arlene Francis. Bennett Cerf is on vacation.

  • Allusions

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