REVIEW: This was a pretty good night for the panel as they went 3 for 4 on the evening. They would have had a perfecto if it wasn't for the time running out on the final game. Nevertheless, this still was a winning night for them. In the first game, Bennett correctly guessed that the lady from England was an aviatrix. In fact, she was a champion air racer who held the record for flying around the world solo. In the second game, Arlene correctly guessed that the gentleman from Missouri raised worms. In the mystery guest round, Bennett correctly identified Virna Lisi. Virna was on the show to promote the comedy "Not With My Wife, You Don't," which also co-starred Tony Curtis, George C. Scott and Carroll O'Connor. In the final game, Arlene correctly guessed that the young lady from New York via Germany was a "cool off" horse walker. Unfortunately, Arlene's correct identification came after John had flipped over all the cards due to time. Therefore, the contestant won the round by default. However, nothing could dampen what was a great performance by the panel. - Sargebri (2008)
REMEMBERING DOROTHY KILGALLEN: Following the first game, Bennett mentioned the fact that Dorothy Kilgallen once held the record for the fastest trip around the world by a woman. Of course, it wasn't hard to understand why she was on his mind. Two weeks earlier was the first anniversary of Dolly Mae's tragic passing. - Sargebri (2008)
SMALL CONTROVERSY!!! During the post game conversation with the worm breeder, guest panelist Sheila MacRae innocently asked how he managed to raise so many worms. He innocently replied that the worms were bisexual and that brought down the house and caused John to turn more than a few shades of red. Of course, this was just a couple of months after Tony Randall's infamous "non-profit hooker" comment, which elicited the same type of response. Since this episode was first broadcast in 1966, this was long before any type of references to homosexuality or bisexuality were common on television. - Sargebri (2008)
SHADES OF THE WML SYNDICATED VERSION: It was quite interesting to see Larry Blyden and Sheila MacRae on the panel this evening. A few years after appearing on this episode, Larry would take over as host of the syndicated version of WML and Sheila would appear frequently with him as a guest panelist. Also, Sheila's daughter Meredith would also appear on the syndicated version. In fact, Meredith was one of the panelists on the show's debut week. It is also interesting to note that a few weeks prior to this episode airing, Meredith would take over the role of "Billie Jo Bradley" on the hit rural comedy "Petticoat Junction." Interestingly, she became the third actress to play the oldest daughter on the show, following Jeannine Riley, who played the role from its debut in 1963 to 1965, and Gunilla Hutton, who played the role in the 1965 season. - Sargebri (2008)
(1) At the time of her guest panelist appearance tonight, Sheila MacRae had already landed the role of "Alice Kramden" in the 1966-1970 musical "Honeymooners" remakes on "The Jackie Gleason Show" - as duly noted by Larry Blyden in his introduction of her. Coincidentally, both that show and "Petticoat Junction," on which Sheila's daughter, Meredith MacRae, appeared in the role of "Billie Jo Bradley," were cancelled by CBS in 1970. ("WML?" announcer Johnny Olson's ties to the Gleason show can be found in the notes to EPISODE #560 of April 16, 1961.)
(2) MORE ABOUT "THE JACKIE GLEASON SHOW": Jackie Gleason's long-running variety show was among the "final" group of shows, including "WML?", to convert to color in the 1966-1967 season. Gleason's contract with CBS stipulated that he was to retain ownership of all his shows, which after 1962 were videotaped in advance. However, unlike Goodson-Todman Productions, which only saved episodes of the original network "WML?" in black-and-white kinescope form, Gleason opted to keep the videotapes of all his post-1962 shows. Thus, all his shows from 1966 onwards exist on color videotape. This made it possible for the "Honeymooners" episodes from this later run to be syndicated on their own as "The Color Honeymooners," which began airing in 2003 on the GoodLife TV channel. In 2005, GoodLife changed its name to AmericanLife.
(3) "WML?" SPONSOR WATCH: For the second consecutive week, and the third time over the last four episodes, Supp-hose Stockings is the opening sponsor.
(4) "MEMOREX" WATCH: For the first time since the prerecorded EPISODE #797 of January 2, 1966, announcer Johnny Olson's opening words were, "And now, from New York, let's meet our 'What's My Line?' panel." This was after ten straight pre-taped shows in this year of 1966 where Mr. Olson left out the show's origin, instead leading off with "And now, let's meet our 'What's My Line?' panel" - a wording which, nonetheless, will be used on most remaining prerecorded episodes to the end. It is also one of the longest stretches of airing consecutive pre-taped shows in a period other than the summer months, since the program started taping some episodes in advance in 1959. And this is the third episode this year to be taped on a Monday - which happened to fall on Halloween.
(5) "WML?" PANEL AND NAMEPLATE WATCH: Besides what was already mentioned, the "AC" part of the "MISS MacRAE" nameplate for Sheila MacRae was of a type size similar to that for Orson Bean's nameplate on EPISODE #746 of January 10, 1965 - but only slightly bigger than the type used for the "MISS KNICKERBOCKER" nameplate of frequent guest panelist Suzy Knickerbocker. In part due to her continuing work on the Florida-based "The Jackie Gleason Show," this was Sheila's final "WML?" appearance.
(6) "WML?" CREW CREDITS AND CREDITS CRUNCH WATCH: Due to a vintage glitch, many of the end credit slide graphics are shown out of order, with the last of the slides (showing the positions of production supervisor, technical director, audio engineer and lighting director) not being shown tonight. And as always, the January 23, 2008 airing of this episode by GSN marred the end credit sequence by showing them in the exceedingly egregious "crunching" manner.
(7) GSN's January 23, 2008 airing of tonight's show was followed by a repeat of the June 4, 1962 edition of "I've Got a Secret," hosted by Garry Moore, with the "classic '60's" panel of Bill Cullen, Betsy Palmer, Henry Morgan and Bess Myerson, with Carol Burnett - then a regular on Mr. Moore's 1958-1964 variety show - as the celebrity guest. - W-B (2005, updated 2008)
During the end credits, Johnny Olson announced that this episode was prerecorded. From Gil Fates' logs, we know this episode was taped on October 31, 1966. - Suzanne (2004)
This had to be international beauty night. Each of the female contestants, including mystery guest Virna Lisi, were from foreign countries. Only the male worm breeder was an American. This episode was very interesting due to the fact that Larry Blyden was on the panel. He would become the second host of the syndicated version of WML, and the third WML host overall. Also on the panel was Sheila MacRae, whose daughter Meredith MacRae would become a frequent panelist on the syndicated show. In fact, Meredith was on the panel the first week of the syndicated show. Also, a few weeks earlier, Meredith made her debut on "Petticoat Junction," taking over the role of oldest daughter "Billie Jo Bradley" from Gunilla Hutton. As for the game itself, the panel had a pretty good evening. Bennett guessed that the first contestant was an aviatrix. After that round, Bennett made mention of Dorothy's round the world trip. Perhaps subconsciously, Dolly Mae was on Bennett's mind as this episode was taped a few weeks before the first anniversary of Dorothy's tragic death. Arlene also managed to correctly guess that the second contestant raised worms. One of the biggest laughs of the night came during this contestant's post game chat. Sheila asked, "So how do you grow them, from other worms or eggs or what?" Gerald replied with a smile, "They're bisexual and they take care of that very well themselves." John's face must have turned about three shades of red as he said, "That will be enough!" Remember, this was 1966 when bisexuality of any form, even worms, was never discussed on television. Arlene also guessed Virna Lisi, who seemed to have a really good time playing the mystery guest round. She promoted her 1966 comedy film "Not with My Wife, You Don't!" in which she co-starred with Tony Curtis and George C. Scott. Unfortunately, time ran out when they were questioning the horse walker, so she won the game by default. All in all, this was a good night for the panel and a fun night for the show. - Sargebri (2004)
Dorothy's flight contest mimicked the "Nellie Bly" tale. "Nellie Bly" was the pen name of Elizabeth Jane Cochrane, a pioneering female investigative journalist. Daring for her day, Cochrane gained world fame when she beat the travel record of Jules Verne's fictional character, Phileas Fogg. In the 1873 Verne novel, "Around the World in Eighty Days," Fogg made his globe-trotting trip in 80 days. Cochrane beat him by more than a week, 8 days. She departed on November 14, 1889 and returned to New York on January 25, 1890, which was a span of 72 days for her to circle the globe. - Suzanne Astorino (2004)
In Lee Israel's 1979 book "Kilgallen," she states that the winner, Bud Ekins, didn't play by the rules in the 'round the world race. She said that the race required the traveler to fly via public transportation means, and that Ekins didn't do this! She stated that the other participants followed the rules. - ironcreekguy (2004)
Tidbits: John Daly used an old phrase, "apple-pie order," meaning a perfect order or arrangement, very tidy. John Daly misspelled annelid (worms with cylindrical bodies segmented both internally and externally) during game two, by stating "anelid." - Suzanne (2004)
Bennett mentioned that "our very much missed Dorothy Kilgallen was the first girl who ever went around the world by herself using aircraft, many years ago." Bennett did not clarify that Dorothy was not the pilot, which prompted Sheila Scott to add that in 1964, Jerrie Mock became the first woman to fly solo around the world as a pilot. Bennett and John then clarified that Dorothy was not the pilot, but a reporter. In September 1936, Dorothy participated in an around-the-world airplane race against fellow newsmen "Bud" Ekins (Herbert Roslyn Ekins, born 1901, aka H.R. Elkins) of the NY World-Telegram and Leo Kieran of the New York Times. Dorothy was the only female contestant in this aviation race around the world on commercial flights. The race also inspired Dorothy's autobiography, "Girl Around The World," which would later be turned into a 1937 mystery movie titled "Fly Away Baby" featuring the character "Torchy Blane." The film's loosely-based screenplay was written by Don Ryan and Kenneth Gamet, and the UK title of this movie was "Crime in the Clouds." The actual trip took Kilgallen 24 days and she came in second to Bud Ekins of the New York World-Telegram, who completed the trip in 21 days. - Suzanne Astorino
Panel: Arlene Francis, Larry Blyden, Sheila MacRae, Bennett Cerf.
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