REVIEW: Anytime the prodigal son Steve comes home, it is a special occasion. However, tonight was even more special because not only there were two mystery guests, but also the panel scored a perfecto. In the first mystery guest round of the night, Arlene correctly identified John's fellow newsman, "CBS Evening News" anchor Walter Cronkite. Among the topics John and "Uncle Walter" discussed were their days as war correspondents during World War II as well as the recent Gemini mission. Steverino got into the act in the second game, which was the only regular game of the evening, as he correctly guessed that the young lady from Woodland Hills, California was an employee of the Internal Revenue Service. Of course, this could have been seen as the yearly reminder for the audience in the theater and at home that April 15th was fast approaching and that there was less than a month to go until the dreaded tax deadline would be upon them. Bennett put the cap on the perfect evening as he correctly identified the second mystery guest of the evening, Art Carney. Art was on the show to promote his return to the "Jackie Gleason Show" as well as the upcoming television special he would be appearing on, "The World of Mike Nichols." John and Art also reminisced about their days on the "March of Time" radio show in which John would discuss the news and Art would provide the comedy by imitating such world figures as Franklin Roosevelt and Winston Churchill. In fact, just before Art left the stage, he did a wonderful impersonation of Roosevelt. And that's the way it was, Sunday March 27, 1966. - Sargebri (2007)
NEXT CANDIDATE!!! The latest lady to sit in Dorothy's position was Kirk Douglas' lovely wife Anne Buydens. Interestingly, she was only referred to as Mrs. Douglas and not by her first name. At the time of her appearance on the panel, Anne and Kirk were about to celebrate 12 years of marriage and, as of this writing, they have been married an incredible 50 years. - Sargebri (2007)
AND THAT'S THE WAY IT IS: Walter Cronkite was in the middle of his run as anchor of the "CBS Evening News." His cool demeanor and incredible honesty made him one of the most trusted newsmen on television. However, there were a couple of times when he showed his emotion. The first time was when he had the unpleasant task of announcing the death of President John Kennedy. You could see his eyes well up as he was informing America of the tragedy. The second most famous incident was when he was announcing the landing of Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin on the moon in July 1969. He definitely got caught up in the moment on that one. However, one time when he didn't lose his cool when he was giving his assessment of the growing stalemate in Vietnam in 1968. His brutal honesty on the situation might have been the moment when President Johnson decided that he would not run for reelection that year. - Sargebri (2007)
FLIP REPORT: In the second game, John flipped all the cards at eight down for the only regular contestant of the night. Steve Allen had come up with "income tax agent," which John felt was good enough to stop the game. - agent_0042 (2007)
(1) "WML?" SPONSOR WATCH: Tonight's opening sponsor, Westinghouse, is a newcomer to the "WML?" series. There was some irony to this, as nearly 30 years after this episode, Westinghouse would acquire CBS.
(2) "LIVE" WATCH: The kinescope of this telecast is the 15th surviving post-Kilgallen edition to retain the "live" wording on the intro.
(3) "WML?" PANEL WATCH: Not only was Anne Buydens (aka Mrs. Kirk Douglas) addressed as "Mrs. Douglas" by Mr. Daly and the other panel members, but her nameplate on the panel desk likewise reads "Mrs. Douglas." She is the second guest panelist in three weeks, after New York City's First Lady Mary Lindsay, to have such a distinction - and alas, as with Mrs. Lindsay, this will be Mrs. Douglas' only appearance as a panelist on "WML?" In her introduction of Bennett, she slipped in references to the titles of two books: the Truman Capote book "In Cold Blood" which Mr. Cerf's Random House firm published; and secondly, the Ted Berkman book "Cast a Giant Shadow," the film adaptation of which - released on March 30, 1966, three days after tonight's show - starred her husband as "Colonel David 'Mickey' Marcus."
(4) "WML?" CREW CREDITS WATCH: Once again, there is no listing of program staff in the end credits. Other variations seen tonight: A.G. Gulino is credited as audio engineer in place of B.A. Taylor, and Vern Cook is subbing for Gene Ulrich as lighting director.
(5) FROM THE GOODSON-TODMAN VAULT: Following GSN's November 26, 2007 airing of tonight's show, the cable and satellite channel ran an episode of the 1953-1956 game show "Choose Up Sides." This particular installment came from early in the show's run when it was on CBS, given that the host here was Bob Kennedy; its later host, Gene Rayburn, wouldn't come onboard until after the program switched to NBC within a few years of this show. Moreover, the "sides" on this edition were designated "Space Rangers" and "Cowboys"; after the series changed hosts and networks, the sides would be renamed as "Space Pilots" and "Bronco Busters."
(6) NO CREDITS CRUNCH: Notably, GSN did not air split-screen promos over the closing credits on either program tonight, as they have done for the past several months. Both sets of closing credits were left intact. - W-B (2007)
(1) ART CARNEY: Less than three months prior to this, his final "WML?" mystery guest appearance tonight, Art Carney reprised his most famous role as sewer worker "Ed Norton" in a musical remake of an old "Honeymooners" episode named "The Adoption," which ran on "Jackie Gleason and His American Scene Magazine" on January 8, 1966. This was a key to his coming back from a hospitalization following a nervous breakdown in the wake of his appearing as the original "Felix Unger" in the 1965 Broadway production of Neil Simon's "The Odd Couple."
For this special "Honeymooners" show, which proved to be the pilot for Gleason's last four years on weekly network television, Audrey Meadows came back to reprise her old role of "Alice Kramden," however, she would not be available to do regular episodes of what would come to be called "The Color Honeymooners." For those episodes, frequent "WML?" mystery guest and occasional guest panelist Sheila MacRae would be recruited as "Alice" in the final four years of "The Jackie Gleason Show" from 1966 to 1970.
(2) TOTAL TABULATION OF "HONEYMOONERS" PERFORMERS ON THE CLASSIC CBS "WHAT'S MY LINE?" - This was Art Carney's fourth and final appearance on "WML?", on all occasions as a mystery guest. In terms of total appearances, Carney was second to Sheila MacRae, the fourth and final "Alice Kramden" in the long history of "The Honeymooners," who made a total of six "WML?" appearances between 1961 and 1966, of which four were as a co-mystery guest with her then-husband Gordon MacRae, and her other two appearances were as a guest panelist. Jackie Gleason, "Ralph Kramden" himself, appeared twice on "WML?" as a mystery guest, on EPISODE #145 of March 8, 1953, and again on EPISODE #277 of September 25, 1955, an episode unfortunately lost to history, in which he appeared in his "Ralph Kramden" bus driver's uniform. Of the remaining major stars, only Audrey Meadows, the second and most famous "Alice Kramden," made a single appearance as a mystery guest, on EPISODE #272 of August 21, 1955.
But it wasn't just certain "Honeymooners" cast members who dropped by "WML?" from time to time. On occasion, some behind-the-scenes crew members from Gleason's show also did work on "WML?", including director Frank Satenstein, who helmed five "WML?" episodes between 1954 and 1956; lighting director Stan Alper, who worked on Gleason's "American Scene Magazine," and who would later be lighting director on the syndicated "WML?" in its early years; audio engineer Jay Fairman, who manned the sound board on a few 1964 "WML?" episodes and went on to be audio engineer on Gleason's show during its last years on the air; technical director Hal Warner, who served in that capacity on a few late 1950's and early 1960's "WML?" episodes and made the move with Gleason to Florida; and Ed Waglin, who filled in from time to time on "WML?" during the 1961-1962 period as associate director, and later became associate director and associate producer of the Gleason show. In addition, Gleason's gag writer, Howard Harris, appeared on EPISODE #180 of November 8, 1953.
Lastly, unrelated to the "The Honeymooners," but connected to Gleason, we met Gleason's personal valet, Michael Lenarsey, on EPISODE #700 of February 16, 1964; and Frank Fontaine, aka "Crazy Guggenheim" in the "Joe the Bartender" routines, on EPISODE #718 of June 21, 1964.
(3) WALTER CRONKITE: At the time of his appearance tonight as the first mystery guest, "Uncle Walter" was in the fourth year of his 19-year stint as anchor of what became the "CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite" upon his succeeding Douglas Edwards in 1962. In his first years on the job, Cronkite trailed NBC's anchor duo of Chet Huntley and David Brinkley by a considerable margin in the nightly ratings, even with the CBS newscast being expanded to 30 minutes in 1963 one week before the competition (ABC's newscast remained at 15 minutes through 1967), but after 1964 the gap began to narrow, and starting in 1967 Cronkite took the lead in the evening news ratings race. This has been attributed to a host of factors, ranging from a building up of CBS News' resources, competitiveness and staff of reporters since Walter first assumed anchor duties, to the 1967 AFTRA strike where Huntley anchored "The Huntley-Brinkley Report" solo as Brinkley walked the picket line, to NBC's then-parent company, RCA, not providing NBC News with financial support comparable to CBS's backing of its news division. All this would come to a head following Huntley's retirement in 1970, after which Cronkite's lead in the ratings solidified and held until he stepped down from the anchor desk in 1981. - W-B (2006)
This was a pretty good outing for the panel. Anne Buydens (aka Mrs. Kirk Douglas) made an okay showing for herself. She asked a few good questions, but never did any real opening of doors for the panel. Throughout the night, she was constantly referred to as Mrs. Douglas. However, during the good nights, you can barely hear Steve address her by her first name, as he does say "Good night, Anne." Arlene guessed Walter Cronkite, who showed his funny side during his turn. In what was an annual occurrence during the show's run, the only non-celebrity to appear on the show was a female tax examiner. This probably was the producer's way of reminding everyone that the deadline for filing was just around the corner. In fact, it was two weeks after this episode aired. For the record, Steve was able to figure out her occupation with two questions to spare. Also, Bennett was able to figure out that Art Carney was the second mystery guest of the night. Carney had the audience in hysterics with the "little boy" voice he used. After the round, John and Art reminisced about their days in radio and Art gave a funny impersonation of FDR. Of course, anyone who grew up during the 1940s through the 1950s practically grew up listening and watching Walter Cronkite. "Uncle Walter," as he was affectionately known, was probably the most trusted newscaster in the history of television journalism. He also had the most watched evening news broadcast for most of the first 30 years of the medium. He conveyed the emotions of the country when he broadcast such emotional events as the Kennedy assassination as well as the moon landing. He would retire 15 years later in 1981. - Sargebri (2004)
Tidbits: Kirk Douglas and Anne Buydens are husband and wife. On this episode, Anne's first name is never formally mentioned. John refers to her as "Mrs. Douglas." They were married in 1954 and are still married as of 2004. - Suzanne (2004)
ART CARNEY TRIBUTE OF TWO "WML?" EPISODES BACK-TO-BACK: On November 17, 2003, as a tribute to Art Carney, who had passed away on November 9, 2003, GSN aired both this episode and also EPISODE #207 of May 16, 1954. On tonight's episode, Art Carney delivers an adorable and hilarious mystery guest performance. His impersonation of Franklin D. Roosevelt is excellent! - Suzanne (2003)
Anne Buydens Douglas (b. 4/23/1919)
Panel: Arlene Francis, Steve Allen, Anne Buydens (Mrs. Kirk Douglas), Bennett Cerf.
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