What's My Line?

Season 17 Episode 17


Aired Daily 12:00 AM Dec 26, 1965 on CBS
out of 10
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Episode Summary

Game 1: Alan Jay Lerner (8/31/1918 - 6/14/1986) (as Mystery Guest #1 and the panel was blindfolded) "Author & Lyricist, My Fair Lady, Gigi, Camelot, On a Clear Day You Can See Forever" (He said he is thinking about writing a work on the life of clothing designer Coco Chanel; see more notes below)

Game 2: Mrs. Doris Mahelick - "Police Commissioner" (salaried; she is the Police Commissioner of Bergen County, New Jersey; from Wallington, NJ; she has 141 officers under her guidance)

Game 3: Buddy Hackett (8/31/1924 - 6/30/2003) (as Mystery Guest) He signed in as "Newton Fig"

Game 4: Herbert Mayers - "Mink Auctioneer" (salaried; he works for Hudson's Bay Company, where he has been employed for 27 years; from New Hyde Park, NY) . .moreless

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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)

    Alan Jay Lerner

    Alan Jay Lerner

    Mystery Guest #1

    Guest Star

    Buddy Hackett

    Buddy Hackett

    Mystery Guest #2

    Guest Star

    Martin Gabel

    Martin Gabel

    Guest Panelist

    Guest Star

    Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


    • TRIVIA (0)

    • QUOTES (2)

    • NOTES (10)

      • Alan Jay Lerner was a second cousin of perennial Goodson & Todman panelist Henry Morgan (birth name: Henry Lerner Van Ost, Jr.), and had also collaborated on the stage versions of "My Fair Lady" and "Camelot" with director Moss Hart, husband of To Tell the Truth mainstay Kitty Carlisle.

      • SHOULD AULD ACQUAINTANCE BE FORGOT!!! This was the final episode for 1965, which was probably the most turbulent year in the history of WML. To commemorate this special night, the panel began with a special mystery guest round with producer Alan J. Lerner. Bennett was successful in correctly guessing that it was Lerner by referring to his current Broadway hit, "On a Clear Day You Can See Forever." They also brought up Alan's other hit, the film version of "My Fair Lady." In the first regular game of the night, the panel failed to guess that the lady from New Jersey was a police commissioner. In the second mystery guest round of the evening, the panel correctly identified frequent guest panelist Buddy Hackett. Buddy didn't really promote anything, but it was still nice to see a WML favorite. In the final game, Arlene did guess that the contestant had something to do with the fur industry, but she failed to guess that he was a mink auctioneer. No matter what, this was definitely a nice way to end 1965. - Sargebri (2007)

        NEXT CANDIDATE!!! Tonight's entrant in the talent search to replace the late Dorothy Kilgallen was actress Dina Merrill. Dina was no stranger to panel shows as she made several appearances on another Goodson-Todman show, "To Tell the Truth." As for her performance, she asked several good questions. However, she didn't make any correct guesses. Nevertheless, she definitely was a beautiful addition to the panel. - Sargebri (2007)

      • FLIP REPORT: John flipped all the cards for the final contestant at four down. Arlene had come up with an association with fur, but time was running out. - agent_0042 (2007)

      • (1) "WML?" SPONSOR WATCH: As was the case with last week's show (which originally aired after this installment was taped), the opening sponsor was apparently Brown & Williamson Tobacco Co. - as, again, GSN, in its September 3, 2007 airing of tonight's show, broke to their own commercial in the middle of the opening title sequence, to effectively excise the opening tobacco sponsor billboard.
        (2) As was the case with most prerecorded shows since 1963-1964, Johnny Olson begins his introduction of the panel with the words, "And now, from New York..."
        (3) POST-KILGALLEN "WML?" PANEL WATCH: Tonight's show features the second appearance on the panel of Dina Merrill; her first since Dorothy Kilgallen's passing. In her previous guest panelist appearance, EPISODE #666 of June 2, 1963, she had sat alongside Miss Kilgallen, as Arlene Francis at the time was still sidelined from the injuries she sustained in an auto accident. This show was also the second week in a row where a female guest panelist's prior appearance had been with Dorothy while Arlene was out, as Phyllis Newman made her only joint "WML?" appearance with Dolly Mae one week after Miss Merrill had.
        (3) BAD PUN ALERT: As was the custom at Christmastime, Bennett came forth with another Yuletide-themed zinger, this one about John being Santa Claus for the holidays and a team of lawyers alongside him, whom John supposedly dubbed his "subordinate Clauses."
        (4) ALAN JAY LERNER: In the years following "On a Clear Day You Can See Forever," Alan Jay Lerner would be associated with some notable Broadway flops. One of the more talked about was in 1976, when he collaborated with Leonard Bernstein on a musical, "1600 Pennsylvania Avenue" (subtitled "A Musical About the Problems of Housekeeping"), which spotlighted the occupants of the White House in its first century of existence from 1800 to 1900, with a primary focus on race relations. Among the cast included Ken Howard, then a few years away from landing the role of basketball coach "Ken Reeves" in the 1978-1981 TV series "The White Shadow"; and Patricia Routledge, a British actress who is known to many Americans today as "Hyacinth Bucket," a character in the 1990-1995 Britcom "Keeping Up Appearances." "1600 Pennsylvania Avenue" was one of the most ignominious and highly-publicized flops in the history of Broadway, running for only seven performances at the Mark Hellinger Theatre from May 4, 1976 to May 8, 1976. It would also be Bernstein's last original score for Broadway. After closing, the musical was the butt of a joke from Chevy Chase on the May 15, 1976 edition of "Weekend Update" on "Saturday Night Live." A link to the Internet Broadway Database's entry for "1600 Pennsylvania Avenue" can be seen below:


        This litany of flops would also include the 1969 movie version of "Paint Your Wagon," for which Lerner briefly reunited with his old collaborator Frederick Loewe. This film, which co-starred Lee Marvin, Clint Eastwood and Jean Seberg, and was the only movie that Lerner ever produced, went way over budget and failed miserably at the box office. In later years, "Paint Your Wagon" would be rated as among "The Worst Films of All Time," by the book of the same title. As a side note about "1600 Pennsylvania Avenue," Leonard Bernstein never appeared on "WML?" in all the 17.5 years it was on CBS, not even to promote his long-running series of "Young People's Concerts" which ran sporadically from 1958 to 1972.
        (5) "WML?" CREW CREDITS WATCH: The same production crew credited on last week's show was also in place for this edition.
        (6) The September 3, 2007 GSN broadcast of tonight's "WML?" was followed by a 1976 edition of the 1974-1978 series "Tattletales." This particular episode was guest-hosted by Richard Dawson, who that year began a nine-year run as host of the original "Family Feud"; regular host Bert Convy and his wife were among the contestants, as were fellow game show hosts Bob Barker, Jack Narz and their respective spouses. - W-B (2007)

      • From mportmore: My father was a contestant on this show which aired 12/26/65. As I was a little girl, I don't remember seeing it when it was originally broadcast. My Dad died suddenly when I was a teenager of age fifteen. Thanks to the net, I was able to obtain a copy of this episode to view and show to my children. - mportmore (2004)

      • During the end credits, Johnny Olson announced that this episode was prerecorded. From Gil Fates' logs, we know this episode was taped on December 19, 1965. This explains why, during the goodbyes, some panelists say "Merry Christmas" instead of "Happy New Year." - Suzanne (2004)

      • Happy Boxing Day! This is the UK name for the day after Christmas. This is also the final show of 1965. The panel put in a good performance tonight. They were able to guess the first mystery guest, Allen Jay Lerner. Although Lerner didn't specifically promote anything, which was probably an oversight on Mr. Daly's part, Lerner's Broadway musical play, "On a Clear Day You Can See Forever" had recently opened on October 17, 1965. Barbara Harris played the main role of "Daisy Gamble." Lerner produced the show and penned the lyrics. In 1970, Barbra Streisand starred in the film version. Lerner did say that he possibly had a play in the works. However, the panel didn't guess the second contestant, who was a police commissioner in New Jersey. They only came as close as narrowing her line down to working in some capacity of the law. They more than made up for it when Buddy Hackett hit the stage as the second mystery guest of the night. He really made the audience laugh, not only by signing in as "Newton Fig," but also by sounding like Peter Lorre as he was being questioned by the panelists. And so, with the close of this episode, the panel rang out the most tumultuous year in the history of What's My Line? - Sargebri (2004)

      • Alan Jay Lerner did indeed write a play about Coco Chanel. Named simply "Coco" the Broadway musical ran from December 1969 to October 1970 for a total of 329 performances at the Mark Hellinger Theatre. Coco Chanel was played by Katharine Hepburn. - Suzanne (2004)

      • Tidbits: Martin's hair was longer or fuller than usual. Both Martin and Buddy visited a doctor named Philip Ruben, MD. He was an ear, nose, and throat disorders specialist.

      • Panel: Arlene Francis, Martin Gabel, Dina Merrill, Bennett Cerf.

    • ALLUSIONS (1)