What's My Line?

Season 16 Episode 47

EPISODE #774

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Aired Daily 12:00 AM Jul 25, 1965 on CBS

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  • Notes

    • (1) MIKE DOUGLAS AND THE WESTINGHOUSE/NBC LICENSE SWAP: At the time of his guest panelist appearance tonight, Mike Douglas was a month into his daytime talk show, having moved from Cleveland, OH (the show's original base of operations from its 1961 debut) to Philadelphia, PA. This was a consequence of the end of a convoluted nine and a half year broadcast license saga between Group W (Westinghouse Broadcasting), owners of KYW-TV which produced "The Mike Douglas Show," and NBC, with which the station was affiliated. In January of 1956, NBC and Westinghouse had agreed to a license transfer of their respective TV and radio stations, where Westinghouse's KYW would relocate to Cleveland on Channel 3 and NBC would move to Philadelphia, where that city's TV station's call letters, previously WPTZ, were changed to WRCV-TV (which was also on Channel 3; the radio outlet also adopted the WRCV calls). Westinghouse later filed a complaint with the Federal Communications Commission alleging that NBC forced them to agree to the license switch by coercive means, and in 1965, the FCC ordered the two companies back to the cities where they were licensed prior to 1956. Thus, on June 19, 1965, KYW returned to Philadelphia - and as Mr. Douglas was employed by Group W then, he went with them. NBC changed the Cleveland station's call letters to WKYC-TV, which it remains today, though NBC relinquished ownership in the late 1980's. WKYC continued to air "The Mike Douglas Show" for several more years in its original time slot after the license switch. It would be another 30 years from tonight's show before NBC owned a Philadelphia station again, when in 1995 they acquired, and switched the network affiliation of, WCAU-TV (Channel 10) from CBS, which became the new affiliate for KYW. Several months later, Westinghouse acquired CBS and all of Westinghouse's TV stations therefore became CBS O&O's (owned-and-operated stations).

      As a side note about KYW, a month after tonight's show, that station's news director, Al Primo, launched a new type of newscast called "Eyewitness News." Primo had said that the application and debut of this format was brought about due to the fact that the station's newscasters were under contract to AFTRA (American Federation of Television and Radio Artists), and as written in their contracts, they could cover news stories in the field without extra compensation over their base pay. The new newscast was a hit and eventually surged past WCAU and its legendary news anchor John Facenda. In 1968, Primo moved to WABC-TV (Channel 7) in New York and revamped all its newscasts under the "Eyewitness News" banner. Under his leadership there, the station, a former also-ran in the ratings, leapfrogged over its rivals, WCBS-TV (Channel 2) and WNBC-TV (Channel 4), in the process becoming a kitsch icon with the addition of another element called "Happy Talk." But it wasn't just KYW-TV that made broadcast news history in Philly in 1965; on September 21 of that year, KYW-AM (1060) became the second of Group W's stations to adopt an all-news format, following in the footsteps of New York's WINS-AM (1010), which became all-news on April 19, 1965. Both stations provide "all news, all the time" to this day.
      (2) MORE ABOUT MIKE DOUGLAS: During the opening, Dorothy introduced Mike as "the delightful star of television and records." In late 1965, Mr. Douglas released his biggest hit as a solo artist, "The Men In My Little Girl's Life" (Epic single #5-9876), which hit the Top Ten in early 1966. In later years, he would record for other labels such as Decca, MGM, Word, 20th Century Fox, Stax (in 1975, towards the end of the legendary R&B label's existence) and, in 1976, a record for Atlantic which he made with many of the musicians who played on many classic 1970s hits that to many music fans epitomized the "sound of Philadelphia." Prior to "The Men In My Little Girl's Life," his biggest hit had been a song he recorded when he was a vocalist with Kay Kyser and his Orchestra, the Hoagy Carmichael composition "Ole Buttermilk Sky" (Columbia 37073, 1946).
      (3) LUCILLE BALL: Beginning with the 1965-1966 season, Miss Ball's series, "The Lucy Show," would be aired by CBS in color. However, she had produced the show in color since 1963, although the network continued to air it in black-and-white until the 1964-1965 season. The following year, 1966, her company, Desilu Productions, would start production on two TV shows that remain icons to this day, "Mission: Impossible" and "Star Trek." But whereas the original "Star Trek" was a virtual ratings flop for NBC and only lasted until 1969, "Mission: Impossible" hit the Top 20 in the 1968-1969 season (in the time slot once occupied by "Candid Camera" and "WML?") and ran on CBS until 1973. In 1967, Lucy would sell Desilu to Gulf & Western, which rebranded the unit as Paramount Television. Due to a series of media mergers and acquisitions over the last few years - not to mention being one of the main ironies of the situation - Paramount today shares common corporate ownership with CBS. It was also in 1967 that her classic "I Love Lucy" sitcom was first aired in syndication on local TV stations across the country.
      (4) "LIVE" WATCH: This is the 59th known surviving kinescope of a live "WML?" episode to have the word "live" cut from the intro.
      (5) BAD PUN ALERT: Bennett strikes again, this time with a tall tale about John (whom he called "our host" this time out) attempting to recruit convicts at Sing Sing Prison to play against the Army football team in the fall. Mr. Cerf concluded this story by noting that "he wants to prove once and for all that the pen is mightier than the sword." This was a play on the famous phrase which in that wording originated from Edward Bulwer-Lytton's 1839 play about Cardinal Richelieu, with "pen" in the context of Bennett's yarn being short for "penitentiary," and "sword" a reference to the Army football team. After taking his seat at his desk and talking about his hosting the Miss Universe Pageant in Miami, John got in a little pun of his own when he mentioned that a local chowder club extended an invitation to Bennett and added, "They want to put some mussels on you." John's pun was a play on the word "muscles."
      (6) "WML?" CREW CREDITS WATCH: For this final live show for the summer, the same substitute production supervisor, technical director and lighting director as were on duty the previous two weeks, are credited tonight. Also, effective with this episode, co-associate producer Ann Kaminsky is hereafter credited as Ann Krieger, as she will be known for the rest of the "classic CBS" run of "WML?", with the possible exception of the pre-taped "new" episodes that will air over the next few weeks.
      (7) Following GSN's April 2, 2007 airing of tonight's show, the channel ran a black-and-white kinescope episode of the "classic CBS" nighttime edition of "To Tell the Truth" which was originally broadcast on June 21, 1965, one month and four days prior to tonight's "WML?" installment. The host was Bud Collyer, the announcer was Johnny Olson, and the panel consisted of Orson Bean, Peggy Cass, Fritz Weaver (substituting for Tom Poston) and Kitty Carlisle. The first contestants were British mod designer Angela Cash and two impostors, the second contestants were hotel owner James Blackford and two impostors, and the third contestants were Boston University professor Gerald Hawkins and two impostors. The opening sponsor of this "TTTT" episode was Chef Boy-ar-dee Pizza, and closing sponsor was Dristan. Coincidentally, James Murphy was production supervisor on both the "WML?" and "TTTT" shows that aired on GSN on April 2, 2007. The quality of this kinescope at certain points suggests that it may have been recorded off a videotape. - W-B (2007)

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