Joey: I asked permission back there. I said, "If Buddy guesses that it's me, can I go over and hit him while he still has the mask on?"
Buddy: No profession is barred on this show? Like, you're allowed to have stripteasers and all that?
THE END OF SUMMER AND THE END OF AN ERA!!! Due to the fact that the next day was Labor Day, this technically was the last episode of the summer of 1966. It also was the end of an era as WML would, from that point forward, be broadcast in "living color." Unfortunately, the era ended on a rather down note as the panel went a very poor 1 for 3 on the evening. In the first game, the panel was absolutely stumped by the bat girl for the Modesto Reds, the Class A minor league affiliate of the Kansas City A's. In the second game, the panel was once again confounded. This time it was by a sponge diver from Tarpon Springs, Florida. The panel did gain some redemption in the mystery guest round as they correctly identified long-time favorite Joey Bishop who, unknown to them, was making his final-ever appearance on the show. Joey definitely looked as if he was having a great time and promoted two upcoming films he was in, "Who's Minding the Mint?" and "Texas Across the River." At the end of the evening, John mentioned that next week the show was going to be broadcast in color and, sadly, that they would be moving to a new studio, meaning that they would be getting a whole new crew. However, little did anyone know that next week would also start the countdown to the end of "The Line." - Sargebri (2008)
As was mentioned earlier, the next week, WML would begin being broadcast in color, as were most of the other shows on television that year. However, it would also be WML's final season on CBS. In 1967, CBS executives decided to execute a purge of all of their prime time game shows including "To Tell the Truth," "I've Got a Secret" and "Password." However, this wouldn't be the only purge that CBS would engage in. In 1971, the network's new head of programming, Fred Silverman, decided to get rid of every rural-themed series on CBS in what has gone down in infamy as "The Rural Purge." After the 1970-1971 season, shows that were thought to only appeal to rural audiences as well as older viewers, including "The Beverly Hillbillies," "Mayberry RFD" and "Green Acres," as well as "The Ed Sullivan Show," were cancelled, despite the fact that many of these shows were still highly rated at the time. Ironically, the year after the purge, a rural drama set in the Depression premiered and became an instant classic. That show, of course, was "The Waltons," which ran from 1972 to 1981. - Sargebri (2008)
"SO LONG, YOU SON-OF-A-GUN": Not only was this the last black-and-white "WML?" episode, and the last to originate from CBS's "Studio 52," but it was also the last-ever appearance of Joey Bishop, appearing here as a mystery guest this evening. He was on the show a total of 26 times as follows: 22 times as a guest panelist, 3 times as a mystery guest, and one cameo appearance on EPISODE #662 of May 5, 1963, where Buddy Hackett was guest panelist. Joey had made his final guest panelist appearance on EPISODE #823 of July 24, 1966, which was transmitted live one week after this episode was taped (and it was the last "live" black-and-white episode). His very first "WML?" appearance, also as a guest panelist, was on the very first show to originate from the studio they were now departing, EPISODE #517 of June 12, 1960.
Less than a year after the airings of this episode and EPISODE #823, Mr. Bishop would begin a more than two-year run as host of his own late-night talk show, "The Joey Bishop Show," which aired on ABC from April 17, 1967 to December 26, 1969, and featured as Joey's announcer and sidekick one Regis Philbin who would go on to further fame in the coming decades with such shows as "Live With Regis and Kelly" (formerly "Live with Regis and Kathie Lee") and "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?" - W-B (2006)
(1) "WML?" SPONSOR WATCH: The opening sponsor for this, the very last black-and-white edition of "WML?," is Champion spark plugs.
(2) This is the seventh pre-taped show this year on which the originating location was not mentioned on the intro by announcer Johnny Olson.
(3) "WML?" PANEL WATCH: This evening, Phyllis Newman is the first to be introduced, for only the fourth time (in her case) since the passing of Dorothy Kilgallen. In addition, not only was this Joey Bishop's last-ever appearance on "WML?," albeit as a mystery guest and on tape, but it also marked the last time Buddy Hackett ever appeared on the program. Only his very first appearance, as a mystery guest on EPISODE #370 of July 7, 1957, emanated from a different studio than his other 19 appearances (which include four more as a mystery guest and 15 as a guest panelist) including tonight. And for his final series appearance, Mr. Hackett's nameplate is the professionally typeset variation (set in the usual nameplate font of Title Gothic Condensed No. 11, aka Gothic No. 543), rather than what looked like the handwritten nameplate that was used on several of his other guest panelist runs.
(4) "WML?" END CREDITS AND CREDITS CRUNCH WATCH: Because of John's ending announcement about the program's upcoming switch to color and moving to CBS "Studio 50" (which became The Ed Sullivan Theatre three months after "WML?'s" CBS run ended in 1967), the end credits tonight are truncated, only going so far as to mentioning executive producer Gil Fates and director Franklin Heller before going back to the title card. And on the January 15, 2008 airing of this episode by GSN, the absolutely undesirable "crunching" of the ending credit sequence is once again employed.
(5) GSN's January 15, 2008 airing of tonight's show was followed by a repeat of the April 9, 1962 edition of "I've Got a Secret," hosted by Garry Moore, with the regular panel of Bill Cullen, Betsy Palmer, Henry Morgan and Bess Myerson, and celebrity guest Kim Novak. - 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 July 17, 1966. - Suzanne (2004)
This is not only the end of an era of black and white, but it is also the beginning of the end. John poignantly explained that the show will begin shooting in color, and that it will also be moving from its current studio to a different CBS studio. The cast doesn't know it yet, but this was the beginning of the show's final season on network television. However, all that aside, this was a fun show, which is always the case when you add funnyman Buddy Hackett to the mix. The panel did have a rough time, though, because they didn't guess either the batgirl or the sponge diver. However, they did earn a gold star for identifying mystery guest Joey Bishop. Joey had been on the panel a couple of weeks earlier, and in years past had been a frequent guest panelist. In addition to clowning around with his close friend Buddy, he talked about his latest picture, "Who's Minding the Mint?" which would be released the following year. Besides Joey, the film featured Jim Hutton (the father of Oscar winner Timothy Hutton), Walter Brennan, Dorothy Provine, Milton Berle and Jack Gilford. By the way, the "Italian guy" Joey was talking about was none other than future "M*A*S*H" star Jamie Farr. Joey also elaborated on the story he told about the time that he was on the panel and Buddy fooled him by asking Joey for a ride to the airport, saying he was going to Chicago. Joey took Buddy to the airport, and then Buddy "secretly" came back into town for his mystery guest spot! He didn't name the date, but it was EPISODE #613 of May 13, 1962. In any event, even though the panel didn't have a good night, they left their old studio in style. - Sargebri (2004)
Joey Bishop spoke of his 1967 film, "Who's Minding the Mint?" which is in production. He also promoted his appearance in the 1966 film, "Texas Across the River." - Suzanne (2004)
For a 1950 to 1967 timeline of the CBS studios used by What's My Line?, see the notes to EPISODE #1. - Suzanne Astorino
Tidbits: Mr. Daly announced that this was the final black & white episode of the series. He also said that they would be moving to a new theatre on the next episode. He said they would miss the stage staff of the current theatre. On September 13, 1966, Buddy opens at the Sahara Hotel in Las Vegas, NV. On September 27, 1966, Arlene will be opening in the Broadway play "Dinner at Eight." - Suzanne (2004)
Panel: Phyllis Newman, Buddy Hackett, Arlene Francis, Bennett Cerf.
This is the final WML broadcast from CBS Studio 52 on 254 W. 54th St., NY. They are now moving to CBS Studio 50, later known as the Ed Sullivan Theatre, located at 1697 Broadway at 53rd, NY. - Suzanne (2004)
Click "All Episode Notes" to see all the notes, as they don't all show up on the summary overview page.