What's My Line?

Season 17 Episode 44


Aired Daily 12:00 AM Jul 03, 1966 on CBS
out of 10
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Episode Summary

Game 1: Bill Yerkes - "Sells Surfboards" (salaried; he is employed by Keller's Surf Shop in Lavalette, NJ; Bill will be a sophomore at Ithaca College next year; selling surfboards is Bill's summer occupation; Bill reached the finals in the Atlantic States Competition last year; from Pemberton, NJ; as of 2004, Bill owns Balsa Bill Surf Shop in Satellite Beach, Florida; as of the next GSN airing in 2008, he also owns a second shop in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina; visit his web page listed below and see more notes below about Bill's personal recollections about his appearance on tonight's show)

Balsa Bill Surf Shop

A vintage photo of Keller's Surf Shop in Lavalette, New Jersey

Game 2: Mrs. Flossie Malott - "Gives Tests For Drivers' Licenses" (salaried; she was appointed by Indiana's Commissioner of Motor Vehicles; from Peru, IN)

Game 3: Joan Crawford (3/23/1905 - 5/10/1977) (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)

    Joan Crawford

    Joan Crawford

    Mystery Guest

    Guest Star

    Tony Randall

    Tony Randall

    Guest Panelist

    Guest Star

    Suzy Knickerbocker

    Suzy Knickerbocker

    Guest Panelist

    Guest Star

    Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


    • TRIVIA (0)

    • QUOTES (0)

    • NOTES (7)

      • HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY!!! After the previous week's return to good form, it looked as if the panel was going to begin a new streak of great performances. Unfortunately, they went back to the form of two weeks ago as they went a dismal 1 for 3. The first game featured the lone win of the evening as Bennett guessed that the young man from New Jersey had something to do with surfboards, and with that door open, Arlene then figured out that he made them. That was the lone good performance as things went downhill from there. In the second game, the panel was absolutely stumped by the lady from Indiana who administered driver's examinations. However, it could be understandable since she definitely had a very matronly look about her. In the mystery guest round, Bennett correctly identified Joan Crawford. Unfortunately, his correct guess came after John had flipped all of the cards. Joan was on the show to promote her work with the USO, which was definitely a very patriotic thing to do, considering that the next day was the 4th of July. Hopefully, the panel members were able to celebrate with their families after a very dismal night. - Sargebri (2008)

        Interestingly, one of the traditional staples of a WML episode broadcast around Independence Day is the appearance of a fireworks salesman. However, for some reason, there were no contestants on this episode who had even the slightest connection to the holiday. - Sargebri (2008)

      • FLIP REPORT: John flipped all the cards for the first contestant at eight down. However, before the cards were flipped, Bennett had correctly guessed that the product was surfboards and Arlene had come up with "sells." John flipped them for the second contestant at nine down, but she essentially stumped the panel. The panel had identified that she was with local government, and that there was a vague connection to law, but little more. - agent_0042 (2008)

        SIZE MATTERS: Bennett quipped before the game that John now comes in four sizes, and tonight he's the "giant economy size." - agent_0042 (2008)

      • (1) "WML?" SPONSOR WATCH: Tonight's opening sponsor is Polident denture adhesive tablets, another newcomer to the program.
        (2) For the first time since EPISODE #743 of December 20, 1964, announcer Johnny Olson's opening dialogue starts with "And now, let's meet our 'What's My Line?' panel," leaving out the "...from New York..." part. This practice of not indicating the show's base of production on prerecorded shows was prevalent from 1961-1963 (after the "award-winning" intro was dropped), and will become increasingly common again in the remaining 14 months of the show's CBS run. For the most part, up until EPISODE #797 of January 2, 1966, pre-taped shows led off on the intro with "And now, from New York..."
        (3) Once again, only Suzy Knickerbocker's (pen) first name is on her nameplate. As noted in the guides to other episodes on which she has appeared to date, this fact, plus John's addressing her as Suzy, was more reflective of her status as a columnist, as well as in comparison to the amount of letters in her pen surname, than of the start of a trend towards a more casual approach, which in any case would not take hold until the syndicated version of "WML?" began production in 1968. As well, having only her first name on the nameplate kept the type size the same as the nameplates for the other panelists and Mr. Daly, thus making it relatively easier to read - especially on the surviving 16mm kinescopes which would have been of somewhat lower quality, in terms of detail elicited, than either the original live transmissions or the videotapes which were stocked up for future airing at times such as tonight.
        (4) This was Joan Crawford's first appearance on the program since Dorothy Kilgallen's tragic death. Of course, Miss Crawford, Miss Kilgallen and Arlene Francis had made a now famous - but unfortunately, since lost to history - appearance on a (pre-taped) episode of the daytime "To Tell the Truth" on the afternoon of Dolly Mae's passing on November 8, 1965, where the two regular female "WML?" panelists were the impostors. Tonight's show was also Joan's fifth and final appearance on "WML?" in any incarnation.

        A side note about Miss Crawford is that in 1968, two years after tonight's show, she would substitute for her adoptive daughter, Christina Crawford, in the role of "Joan Borman Kane" on the CBS daytime soap opera "The Secret Storm," when Christina was off the show for several weeks following an operation for an ovarian tumor. Unfortunately, the character of "Joan" was in her twenties while the real-life Joan at the time was in her sixties; her stepping into the role turned out to be a disaster of such magnitude that the character was written out of the show entirely after 1969.
        (5) "WML?" CREW CREDITS WATCH: Because this show was recorded prior to last week's live EPISODE #819, the same production crew as in place then is also credited tonight.
        (6) Following GSN's January 7, 2008 airing of tonight's show, the cable and satellite channel ran the February 12, 1962 edition of "I've Got a Secret," on which French magician Michel de la Vega returned to perform a hypnosis trick. The host was Garry Moore, and the panel was comprised of Bill Cullen, Betsy Palmer, Henry Morgan and Bess Myerson. - W-B (2008)

      • During the end credits, Johnny Olson announced that this episode was prerecorded. From Gil Fates' logs, we know this episode was taped on June 26, 1966. - Suzanne (2004)

        Joan Crawford, as always, was greeted by wild applause from the audience. She then stumped the panel, before Bennett guessed her identity after the last card was flipped. He asked if she sipped on Pepsi. Joan seemed to have fun tonight, and was relaxed and cheerful. She even did a spot-on imitation of Judy Holliday! She also mentioned her former husband, Franchot Tone, as part of a pun when Mr. Daly said, in reference to her disguised voice, "that tone comes through." Joan then said, "Franchot Tone?" When the pun dawned on Mr. Daly, he remarked, "Oh you! Don't be like Bennett, Joan, pleeeease! Heavenly days!" It was a cute moment! Crawford and Tone were married from 1935 until their divorce in 1939. - Suzanne (2004)

        Tidbits: We see a new sponsor, Polident Denture Tablets. Bennett's book, "Laugh Day" is now in its 6th printing. Suzy Knickerbocker is the pen name of journalist Aileen Mehle. - Suzanne (2004)

      • From Bill Yerkes, August 2004:

        Seeing this show almost 38 years later brings back some great memories. All that summer of 1966, people would come into Keller's Surf Shop and say, "I saw you on What's My Line?!" Then, when I went back to college in the fall, the same thing happened for a month or two. Now, I've gotten a phone call and an email from the August 6, 2004 GSN showing last week. It's deja vu all over again! My mother, who arranged to get me on the show, is still living. She printed out the video screenshots that Suzanne sent to me, and showed them to everyone at her church Sunday morning. I don't know if they were interested or not, but it's been fun!

        Here is my story of how I came to be a guest on "What's My Line?":

        The Initial Contact:

        In the school year of 1965-1966, I was attending Ithaca College in Ithaca, New York majoring in Radio, Television and Film. During the summers, I was working at Keller's Surf Shop in Lavallette, New Jersey as a surfboard salesman. My mother had heard John Daly mention on an earlier broadcast of What's My Line? that Carnegie Tech was the only college that he had heard about that would prepare one for work in the broadcast industry. In those days, there were very few colleges that offered coursework, much less a major, in the broadcasting or film field. My mom, being quite a promoter (she had put me in front of the TV camera since I was 5!) wrote Mr. Daly on January 7, 1966 and informed him of Ithaca College and also of Temple University in Philadelphia, PA, which both offered majors in the field. She also mentioned that I sold surfboards as my summer job. He sent back a kind letter in reply. Several months later, probably about June 1966, I received a call at Keller's Surf Shop and was asked if I would like to be on the show. Of course, I said "yes!" Because the scheduled air date was to be July 3, 1966, they taped my show a week prior to this actual date, so they wouldn't have to work on the 4th of July holiday weekend.

        The Night of the Show:

        This was a family event. My mom and dad and two little brothers and I met in New York on June 26, 1966. I drove my '55 DeSoto 4-door sedan from the beach. We had dinner at the Cattleman's Steak House. Two shows were produced this evening. They taped my show first and then at 10:30 PM aired the live show. I don't remember meeting Joan Crawford. They just kind of whisked the stars in and out. I was paying much more attention to Carroll Baker, who was the mystery guest on the live show. The highlight of the evening for me was seeing her in the tightest dress I had ever seen in my life. She could barely walk in it. I don't remember much about the staff, except that they were very nice and John Daly was the consummate gentleman. I also remember that there wasn't much of a pre-show interview. John Daly and I just chatted a little prior to the show. During my game, I wasn't nervous. I'd been appearing before TV and film cameras since I was 5, doing commercials and dramatic shows in the Philadelphia area. In addition, I was doing a weekly show on our local college station in Ithaca, NY. After the show, I chatted a bit with the panel. I told Bennett Cerf how, as a youngster, I had grown up reading his column "Bennett's Cerf Board" with a little cartoon logo of him surfing. He was very gracious, as was the rest of the panel. After the show, I couldn't wait to get back to the beach. My family stayed overnight in a room at the Americana Hotel which was so graciously provided by the producers of the show.

        My Surfing History:

        I had started surfing in the late 1950s in Lavallette, NJ. While on a trip to California in 1961 for my show business career, I saw that people of all ages were surfing everywhere. When I returned to NJ, I became very involved in the sport, and later in 1990, I was honored as a "Surf Pioneer" at an induction ceremony in San Diego, CA. In 1998, I was inducted into the East Coast Surfing Hall of Fame.

        What am I doing today in 2004?:

        Selling surfboards, of course. I operate Balsa Bill Surf Shop in Satellite Beach, Florida. Here is a link to my Balsa Bill website:

        Balsa Bill Surf Shop


        and a second link to my website for my other business:

        Tropical Design T-Shirts:


        I mixed my two interests of film-making and surfing by producing surfing films, a compilation of which is available as "The Summer of '67." Visit this page for more information about this film:

        The Summer of '67


        Thanks for reading this and stop by if you're in my area!

        Balsa Bill Yerkes

      • This was a pretty rough night for the panel. They were barely able to guess what the first contestant did with surfboards, and they were totally stumped by the second contestant as well as mystery guest Joan Crawford. After the final card was flipped, Bennett did guess Joan Crawford, but it was too late! Miss Crawford was able to stump the panel by using different tones for her voice, and this trick threw them off completely. At one point, Bennett asked Joan if two mystery guests were present. That showed how great an actress she was, even at the tail end of her career. She got big laughs and applause when Tony asked, "Are you a boy?" and she stood up to show off her womanly curves. During the post game chat, John mentioned that Joan is a vice-president of the USO, and heads up the women's activities for USO. In closing, Arlene gave a mini public service announcement in regards to the Independence Day holiday, by reminding everyone to drive safely. - Sargebri (2004)

      • Panel: Arlene Francis, Tony Randall, Suzy Knickerbocker, Bennett Cerf.

    • ALLUSIONS (1)