What's My Line?

Season 17 Episode 7


Aired Daily 12:00 AM Oct 17, 1965 on CBS
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Episode Summary

Game 1: Mrs. Sharon Hutchens & Jesse Ratcliffe (mother & son) - "U.S. Army Privates" (salaried; from Roanoke, VA; Sharon is with the WACS in Fort Jackson, SC; Jesse is in Battery D with the 4th Missile Battalion in Edgewood, MD)

Game 2: Jack Premo - "Sells Water" (self-employed; from Staten Island, NY, he owns Premo and Son Transportation Co.; his name was pronounced "Primo" but spelled as listed; John Daly mentioned a current 1965 New York water shortage; water restrictions had been put on the population of NY due to the drought)

Game 3: Oscar Levant (12/27/1906 - 8/14/1972) (as Mystery Guest) . .moreless

Who was the Episode MVP ?

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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)

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (0)

  • QUOTES (1)

    • At the very beginning of the program, after the introductions, John Daly publicly recognizes newspaper boys in light of National Newspaper Boy Day which occurred just the day before. Guest panelist Milton Berle interrupts John to insert a joke at this point, in regard to his own infamous reputation of stealing and copying the jokes of other comedians. Amazingly, John does not seem to catch this humor, perhaps because he was distracted by the point he was in the midst of making.

      John: Dorothy, it was nice to have our New York newspapers back.
      Dorothy: It certainly was.
      John: And be able to read you again. BTW, This - I don't know whether you know this - this is National Newspaper Boy Day yesterday. What, 900,000 nearly.
      Dorothy: Well, I've never been a Newspaper Boy!
      John: Well I was. That's why I wished... I thought it was.
      Milton: (interrupting John) I was a Copy Boy! I was a Copy Boy!
      John: (speaking seriously) You were a Copy Boy?
      Bennett: I got that.
      Dorothy: (laughing) He's been copying for years!
      John: Who did you copy? (this question goes unanswered except for Dorothy's continued giggling)
      John: (now looking confused while he continues to honor newspaper boys, apparently unaware of the joke) Well, all of those self-employed independent young businessmen; a lot of people don't realize that newspaper boys buy their newspapers from the newspaper company and they sell them. They are independent businessmen and it's a great tradition in America. So, I think it's good that we got our newspapers back this week and...
      Dorothy (interrupting John) We should salute them.
      John: We do salute them indeed. And Mr. Berle, it's nice to have you there.

  • NOTES (10)

    • REVIEW: The panel put in a fairly good performance this evening. It was even made more fun as they were joined by comedic legend Milton Berle. As for the games themselves, the panel basically went two for three tonight. In the first game, they were given partial credit for a correct guess as Bennett figured out that the mother and son contestants were in the army. What they didn't guess was the fact that they both were privates. The mother was stationed in South Carolina and the son was stationed in Maryland. Also, this was the first time the two of them had seen each other in quite a while. In the second game, the panel didn't do as well and were completely stumped by the water salesman. However, the big highlight of this game was when, in the middle of the game, "Uncle Miltie" got up out of his seat, walked over to John's desk and shook hands with the contestant. In the mystery guest round, the Bennett correctly identified Oscar Levant. The ever-neurotic Oscar was on the show to promote his latest book. He also took time to reminisce with Dorothy about her early days with the New York Journal-American. All in all, this was a pretty fun night. - Sargebri (2007)

      When Arlene introduced Milton Berle, she mentioned the film that he would be appearing in, "The Oscar," which was released the following year in 1966. The film also starred Stephen Boyd, Tony Bennett and Jill St. John. Unfortunately, the film has gone down in film history as one of the worst motion pictures in history. - Sargebri (2007)

      In June 2007, following this episode, GSN showed a syndicated WML episode. Joining Arlene and Soupy Sales on the panel that week were Anita Gillette and Henry Morgan. Interestingly, besides Arlene, all of the panel, including host Larry Blyden, were all on the classic version of the show either as panelists, mystery guests or both. Soupy and Henry were both mystery guests and guest panelists; and Anita and Larry were both guest panelists. In fact, Henry had a very infamous stint on the panel when he proceeded to insult both Bennett and John. - Sargebri (2007)

    • FLIP REPORT: John flipped all the cards for the first pair of contestants at nine down. The panel had gotten extremely close and nearly identified them both as army privates. John flipped them all for the second contestant at five down, as time was running short. - agent_0042 (2007)

    • (1) "WML?" SPONSOR WATCH: Tonight's opening sponsor is Supp-Hose stockings.
      (2) "LIVE" WATCH: Once more, the word "live" has been edited out of the kinescope of this live transmission - the 65th known episode still in existence to have this done.
      (3) It does appear that with the new season, "WML?" went straight from John's pleasantries with the panel to the first contestant, and didn't cut to a commercial until such first round was over. This will largely be in place to the end of the "classic" CBS run, and be carried over to the syndicated version.
      (4) MILTON BERLE: Tonight's show was "Mr. Television's" first and only appearance as a guest panelist - and also, his very last classic CBS "WML?" appearance. (He will, however, appear again as a mystery guest on the syndicated version of "WML?" within its final weeks of production in 1974-1975.) With this episode, Mr. Berle has been on the show a total of six times, and on one of them, EPISODE #463 of May 10, 1959, was when John accidently closed that "WML?" edition with his ABC News sign-off, "Good night, and a good tomorrow." Over the next few years, Milton will be a recurring guest on "The Jackie Gleason Show" within its last four years (1966-1970) on the air, in not too dissimilar a manner to, say, Steve Lawrence on "The Carol Burnett Show" or Steve Martin on "Saturday Night Live" - so recurring, indeed, that they would be (erroneously) considered semi-regulars on the respective shows in question.
      (5) Following GSN's June 25, 2007 airing of tonight's show, the channel aired another episode of "WML?", this one from Week #159 of the color syndicated weekday version which was recorded on August 3, 1972. The host was Larry Blyden who was at the time in his third week at the helm (he took over from Wally Bruner who was host in the first four seasons in its syndicated incarnation), the announcer was Wayne Howell (a veteran New York-based NBC staff announcer), and the panel consisted of Soupy Sales, Anita Gillette, Henry Morgan and Arlene Francis. The mystery guest on this occasion was an old favorite from the classic CBS days, Jack E. Leonard, in one of his final appearances on television; he died less than a year later, on May 9, 1973, in New York, of complications from diabetes at age 62. This was one of at least two time periods, if not more, that Miss Gillette and Mr. Morgan were on the panel of a Goodson-Todman game show at the same time; within that same 1972-1973 season, they would be part of the panel on an episode of the ill-fated, Steve Allen-hosted syndicated version of "I've Got a Secret." A little side note about this 1972 "WML?" episode: The two stage managers mentioned in the end credits, Joe Dicso and Bob Van Ry, would later serve in that same capacity on "Saturday Night Live" - which would originate from the same NBC studio, 8H in Rockefeller Center, where the final four years of the syndicated "WML?" were taped. - W-B (2007)

    • Oscar Levant once said, "There's a fine line between genius and insanity. I have erased this line." - Concert pianist, composer, actor, recording artist, radio & television star and best-selling author Oscar Levant promoted his new 1965 autobiography, "The Memoirs of an Amnesiac." To me, however, Oscar's appearance was mostly sad. Oscar, only age 58, looked ill and displayed constant facial tics and blinking. He lit a cigarette and nervously smoked during his game. A blindfolded Bennett asked if the guest had had a lifetime of ailments. Oscar didn't respond to Bennett's question, so Mr. Daly carefully paraphrased Bennett's question. When there was still silence, John answered "yes" for Oscar. This naturally seemed a bit awkward for John. Oscar broke the ice by moaning, "My health... is the concern of the nation." His identity was then guessed by Bennett. The pace and mood picked up for the post game chat. Oscar was talkative, cutting John off at one point. He told Dorothy that he had been approximately her third interview when she started her newspaper column, "The Voice of Broadway." He said it was before the Sam Sheppard murder. She was unable to recall that she had interviewed him during her first week at the New York Journal-American, or that they had eaten stuffed grouse together, which she denied. Dorothy mentioned that it was a long time ago, and that she was young. Oscar said he wouldn't mention the year! But, it was in November 1938 when Dorothy began her column, and she was 25 years old. She is now 52 years old. It was true, Oscar had both real and imagined health problems all his life. He was a hypochondriac and had addictions. He had frequent stays in mental hospitals and received eighteen ECT (electroconvulsive therapy, or shock) treatments which he describes in the book being promoted this evening. This is probably one of Oscar's final public appearances. He spent the remainder of his life in increasing seclusion with his wife and three daughters. The once-close personal friend of George Gershwin died of a heart attack in 1972 at age 65. Luckily, we have films such as 1951's "An American in Paris" where you can see Oscar in his brilliant days. - Suzanne Astorino (2004)

    • Dorothy Watch: As she did on the previous episode, Dorothy again looked and sounded good. She was wearing a feminine dark Grecian one-shouldered sleeveless dress. A flat bow adorned the shoulder strap on Dorothy's left side of the bodice.

    • John said it was good to have the newspapers back. He also said that yesterday was "National Newspaper Boy Day." The main New York newspapers had been on strike from September 16, 1965 to October 10, 1965.

    • This was a very funny episode. Anytime you add a comic icon like Milton Berle to the mix, the results are bound to be hilarious. He got a little out of control at times, such as standing up several times, playing with his glass of water, and once leaving his seat. In spite of this, he still asked some good questions during game play. However, the panel had a rough time this particular evening. They came close on the mother and son army privates, but they ran out of time and John ended the game and threw all the cards over. They didn't even come close with the water salesman, however, his interaction with "Uncle Miltie" provided most of the humor. The water salesman told Milton that he used to watch his show a long time ago. Milton deadpanned, "Oh, YOU were the one" and got a huge audience laugh! Oscar Levant was a very interesting guest. Even though he was quite funny, you could see that the years of mental illness were beginning to take their toll. However, he still provided more laughs on an already funny episode. - Sargebri (2004)

    • It was indeed nice to see Dorothy in such good shape. She obviously thought highly of Mr. Levant. She said of Oscar, "I think he's said more funny things than any man of our time." The other panel members agreed. Mr. Berle was very funny in this episode, without going overboard. He teased Bennett's humor a couple of times, which Bennett seemed to appreciate. Milton also interacted humorously with the water salesman, even kissing the top of the salesman's balding head as he shook hands with the panel! - ironcreekguy

    • Tidbits: Arlene's Broadway play, "Mrs. Dally," is at the John Golden Theatre in NYC. Milton Berle will be the host on "Hollywood Palace" this coming Saturday, it was stated.

    • Milton Berle (7/12/1908 - 3/27/2002)

      Panel: Arlene Francis, Milton Berle, Dorothy Kilgallen, Bennett Cerf.