What's My Line?

Season 15 Episode 14


Aired Daily 12:00 AM Dec 01, 1963 on CBS
out of 10
User Rating
9 votes

By TV.com Users

Episode Summary


Game 1: Colonel Harland Sanders (9/9/1890 - 12/16/1980) - "Head of Southern Fried Chicken Company" (self-employed; originally from Henryville, Indiana; now from Shelbyville, KY; see more notes below)

Game 2: Miss Paula Murphy - "Automobile Test Driver, Set New Women's Speed Record" (salaried; she drove at an average speed of 161.29 mph in a Studebaker Avanti at the Bonneville Salt Flats; from Granada Hills, CA)

Game 3: Alan King (12/26/1927 - 5/9/2004) (as Mystery Guest)

Game 4: Miss Shirlee Hirschberg - "Truant Officer" (salaried; she stated the correct title of her job is "attendance teacher"; this game causes John to joke that Bennett was a truant as a child, and Bennett is visibly upset at John's joke; from New York, NY) . .moreless

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  • This show aired on December 1, 1963, although it has been stated that Gil Fates said the show was originally taped on November 3, 1963. This is why there is no mention of John F. Kennedy's assassination.moreless

    Again, Gil Fates is alleged to have said the show was originally taped on November 3, 1963, accounting for no mention of the president's assassination. I just watched the episode, and I may be looking for it, but the panelists, and especially John Daly, seem rather somber. Daly almost seems pained at times. The most peculiar thing is when Alan King is departing the show, John Daly says "...that was a brilliant recovery panel, and I'll have to give you congratulations..." It just seems something must have happened during the commercial break before Alan King came on. John looks so sad as he goes to commercial. Is there any definite proof that this show was taped on November 3, and not the week after the assassination? It just seems so strange that all of the other shows were taped live, but not this one....moreless
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)

Alan King

Alan King

Mystery Guest

Guest Star

Harland Sanders

Harland Sanders


Guest Star

Martin Gabel

Martin Gabel

Guest Panelist

Guest Star

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (0)

  • QUOTES (1)

    • During his What's My Line? appearance, we saw a little of the Colonel's determination to promote what he saw as an outstanding product. He worked in all of the following comments (and more) in a little under one minute, sometimes without even stopping to take a breath. - Lee McIntyre

      Colonel Harland Sanders: You never heard of finger-lickin' good Kentucky Fried Chicken? Kentucky Fried Chicken is different than ordinary fried chicken. There's eleven different spices and herbs and a patented method of frying. We have over 900 outlets, all the way from Honolulu to Black Pool in London and Manchester England, all across the continent, all selling... And wherever you see a picture of this mug of mine, you know you're going to get good food -- at least good chicken!

  • NOTES (11)

    • REVIEW: This looked as if it was going to be one of those nights that the panel would have wished to have stayed home. However, with correct guesses in the mystery guest round and the final game, the panel was able to end the night on a happy note. In the first game, the panel failed to guess that Col. Harland Sanders was a southern fried chicken magnate. Of course, this was long before the good colonel and his Kentucky Fried Chicken empire became staples of the American dinner table. In the second game, the panel was so far off-track, pun intended, that John flipped the cards before they could figure out that she was a lady automobile test driver. In the mystery guest round, Martin correctly identified frequent guest panelist Alan King. Of course, it was probably made a lot easier when Bennett asked if Alan ever graced the panel with his presence. Alan was on the show to promote his upcoming appearance at the Empire Room as well as his plans for a proposed pilot for a new television series. In the final game, Dorothy closed the evening in style by correctly guessing that the contestant was a truant officer (or as the guest termed it, attendance teacher). That definitely helped to put a nice capper on the evening. Even though we know that this episode was taped prior to JFK's death, tonight's delightful show might have helped to ease the American mood after what happened in Dallas two weeks earlier. - Sargebri

    • WENDY'S: Interestingly, one of Col. Sanders' franchisees would later go on to enormous success. Dave Thomas was a former KFC franchise owner and he took what he learned from the good colonel and used it to build up one of the most successful fast food chains in history, Wendy's. - Sargebri

      KFC: As was mentioned in another post, Colonel Sanders would later appear on the syndicated version of WML as a full-fledged mystery guest. However, a year after the Colonel's appearance on this episode, he sold his burgeoning empire to a group of investors, including John Y. Brown Jr., who later was governor of Kentucky from 1980 to 1984. As Kentucky Fried Chicken Corporation, the company was built into a multi-billion dollar empire. However, Brown was smart and kept the Colonel as the face of the company. Brown would later become a U.S. Senator representing Kentucky and was married to former Miss America, and CBS football hostess, Phyllis George. Also, Brown would later sell off his interest in KFC and eventually went into partnership with singer Kenny Rogers to start up a successful chain of wood-roasted chicken restaurants called Kenny Rogers Roasters. - Sargebri

    • MORE COLONEL SANDERS GAME SHOW APPEARANCES: Col. Sanders also made an appearance on Goodson-Todman's "I've Got a Secret." Before his game began, he showed off the multi-million dollar check (or more likely a facsimile of same) that he had received for selling the rights to the "Kentucky Fried Chicken" name and the KFC cooking process. His "IGaS" secret was that he had started his business at age 65 with his first Social Security check of $105. - Garrison Skunk

    • FLIP REPORT: John flipped four cards for Colonel Sanders when Arlene asked if one would either eat or drink his product and he responded that you would eat it. John felt that the Colonel had given away too much information. John flipped the remaining cards for the second contestant at eight down, but not before allowing a couple of free guesses. - agent_0042

    • (1) Based on the taping date cited in Gil Fates' logs, as noted below, this may well be the first instance of a prerecorded "WML?" episode being taped on a night when the show was preempted. See notes for PREEMPTED WEEK #15 OF 25 (November 3, 1963) for more details.
      (2) As with all prerecorded shows aired this year, Johnny Olson starts his introduction of the panelists with the words "And now, from New York, let's meet our 'What's My Line?' panel."
      (3) "WML?" CREW CREDITS WATCH: Though the final end credit graphic is only seen for a split second, Milt Myers is production supervisor tonight. - W-B

    • In Shelley Winters' second autobiography, "Shelley II," she writes that she is certain that Dorothy was murdered for her investigative reporting. Especially, since during the week after President Kennedy was murdered, Shelley was in a cab with Dorothy and heard her say, "I'm going to find out who killed our president." I've been noticing, so far, that Dorothy doesn't exhibit any signs whatsoever that she is depressed, suicidal or even near it. In fact, she seems the opposite, to be enjoying life very much. - Ruth Lowther

    • (Editor's note: Ruth's theory below was wrong, although interesting. This episode was taped 19 days before JFK's death. Ruth wrote these comments before we knew the exact date the program was taped. - Suzanne)

      From Ruth Lowther: I've been looking forward to watching the December 1st WML episode for the last two months! I definitely got the feeling that this episode was in fact recorded after JFK's murder. The reason I think that? Well, I watched each person's body language carefully and noticed some weariness yet a special determination to have fun. It seemed to me as if the producers had asked everyone not to mention anything that might remind the viewing audience of the incredibly devastating shock, especially since there was so much coverage and reaction on the television as a whole up to that point. I think the producers might have decided that WML was a show of fun, that this might be one time that viewers could take a break from grief. Perhaps I am wrong, but I don't think I am. I noticed two things that were different: (1) Every contestant, including the host, was dressed in dark colors. Arlene hadn't worn this dress much at all in the past, and for once I couldn't see her wearing the diamond heart necklace that Martin had given her. Also, Dorothy was wearing something dark, too, even though the top part of her dress did contain a light color lace. (2) At the beginning of John Daly's entrance, as soon as he had arrived at his desk and just before he spoke, he gave a noticeably deep sigh, with a pause. Then, he began his formal welcome of Martin and the usual show introduction. I might be reading too much into things, but I have a hunch I'm not. I'll be watching each night carefully to observe any further responses from this then top keenly news-aware group. By the way, wasn't Colonel Sanders a hoot?! - Ruth

    • Alan King promoted his appearance at the Empire Room of the Waldorf Astoria. He was funny tonight! In speaking of television pilots, he bemoaned, "I've lost more pilots than the Luftwaffe!" - Suzanne

    • During the end credits, Johnny Olson announced that this episode was prerecorded. This would account for the fact that no mention was made of JFK's recent November 22, 1963 assassination. From Gil Fates' logs, we know this episode was taped on November 3, 1963. - Suzanne

    • This show is a classic. The first contestant was fast-food pioneer Colonel Sanders of Kentucky Fried Chicken fame! He walked out on stage unrecognized, since his restaurant chain, while large, was not yet known in all parts of the country. He signed in using his full name, Colonel Harland Sanders. He was magnificently dressed in his trademark white suit with a black string bow tie. He was born on September 9, 1890, so he was 72 years of age at the time of this What's My Line? appearance. This was probably the first and last time he was not recognized on national television. Gil Fates recalled this first WML appearance in his 1978 WML book, especially how the Colonel's white suit and white beard caused problems with the kinescope. (Called "bloom," Gil was referring to the dark halo or flare on the screen which is caused by reflections from shiny objects such as jewelry or lights, and to a lesser degree, by an overabundance of white. It happened due to the high contrast and is very frequently seen on the WML kinescopes, especially with rhinestone jewelry. However, the Colonel's appearance on the kinescope does not seem to have a problem with excessive bloom.) The panel discovered that The Colonel dealt with a food product, but they never specifically guessed "chicken." After John stopped the game, Dorothy got as close as "poultry" when the panel was throwing out guesses before John finally said, in a Southern accent, "Southern fried chicken!" During the post game interview, the Colonel showed off his salesmanship by using the now-familiar KFC phrases "finger lickin' good," "secret recipe" and "eleven different herbs and spices." This was probably the first time a nationwide television audience ever heard those phrases. The Colonel also added that he uses a "patented method of frying" which referred to his use of a pressure cooker. The next year, his restaurant chain of 900 outlets and franchises (at the time, reaching from Honolulu, Hawaii to Manchester, England) was sold to Kentucky Fried Chicken, Inc, for two million dollars. Soon, all of America would recognize this genteel Southern man. On Harland Sanders' next WML visit in 1970, on the syndicated series, he appeared as a full-fledged mystery guest. Of course, he was very well known by then! In fact, in 1976, an independent survey ranked the Colonel as the world's second most recognizable celebrity. You can read more about Colonel Sanders at the KFC web site: http://www.kfc.com/about/colonel.htm - Suzanne Astorino & Eric Paddon

    • Panel: Arlene Francis, Martin Gabel, Dorothy Kilgallen, Bennett Cerf.