HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!! This Christmas season episode definitely was a mixed bag of candy canes and coal for the panel as they went .500 for the evening. In the first game, Bennett correctly guessed that the young lady from Egypt was a guide at the pyramids. In the second game, the panel was totally stumped by the gentleman from Missouri who made ivory billiard balls. After the game, he announced that he was donating his winnings to Boys Town in St. James, Missouri. Also, as he was leaving the stage, he presented ivory rings to the two ladies on the panel, Arlene Francis and Helen Gurley Brown. In the mystery guest round, Arlene correctly identified Steve McQueen, who tried fooling the panel by using a voice reminiscent of either Bob Cummings "Grandpa Collins" character or Walter Brennan. Steve was on the show to promote the soon to be classic film "The Sand Pebbles." In the finale, Steverino Allen correctly guessed that the gentleman from just across the river in Newark, New Jersey was a camel handler. Unfortunately, Steve's identification came after all the cards had been flipped, so the contestant won by default. And thus ended another interesting installment of WML. - Sargebri (2008)
THE EGYPTIAN PYRAMIDS: As the first contestant mentioned, the tour of the pyramids in Egypt was often accompanied by a "Sound and Light" show to add to the experience of visiting the great historical monuments. However, twelve years later in 1978, the famed pyramids were the site of another type of sound and light show, as the legendary rock band the Grateful Dead performed there for a series of legendary performances at the foot of The Great Pyramid of Giza. - Sargebri (2008)
JOHN'S TURN FOR A PUN: During the post game chat with the gentleman who handled the camel that was used at Radio City Music Hall's Christmas spectacular, John said that the contestant's job was a "lucky strike." This was John's pun on two famous cigarette brands, "Camel" and "Lucky Strike." - Sargebri (2008)
ONE-HIT WONDERS: During the good nights, Bennett joked about singing the song "Winchester Cathedral" to John as a Christmas present. That novelty 1920s-reminiscent song which was sung by a group known as the New Vaudeville Band was the surprise hit of 1966. It became the top record for that year, beating out such classic singles as "Paperback Writer" by the Beatles, "Good Vibrations" by the Beach Boys and "Paint it Black" by the Rolling Stones. Also, the group won the Best Contemporary (Rock and Roll) Recording Grammy for 1966. However, that proved to be the highlight for the band, as this song turned out to be their only hit, and they soon after broke up and disbanded. - Sargebri (2008)
(1) "LIVE" WATCH AND "WML?" DOUBLEHEADER: The kinescope copy of tonight's live transmission is the 34th surviving edition of the post-Kilgallen era to retain the uncut "live" wording on announcer Johnny Olson's intro. And prior to the airing of this installment, the future EPISODE #842 of December 25, 1966 was taped.
(2) "WML?" PANEL NAMEPLATE WATCH: Unlike Helen Gurley Brown's previous "WML?" guest panelist appearances to date, her nameplate on the panel desk reads "MISS BROWN" this evening.
(3) For this show which aired the week before Christmas, Bennett incorrectly introduces "our panel moderator" as John Francis Kris Kringle Daly. After taking his seat at his desk, John read a message from a Columbus, GA resident who'd read the Time magazine cover story, and wrote that "People who ride a wave of prosperity are usually Cerf-ing" - a frequently used play on the word "surfing."
(4) "WML?" CREDITS CRUNCH WATCH: GSN's deeply disgusting proclivity for "crunching" the end credit sequence was in full display once more for the January 27, 2008 airing of tonight's show.
(5) Following the January 27, 2008 airing of this episode, GSN ran the September 10, 1962 edition of "I've Got a Secret." This season premiere, which led off with the 1961-1962 opening title sequence, featured no celebrity guest, instead host Garry Moore was the one who had the secret. The panel, as always, consisted of Bill Cullen, Betsy Palmer, Henry Morgan and Bess Myerson. This "IGAS" episode was also the first to incorporate the National Association of Broadcasters' "Seal of Good Practice" insignia on the "A Telecast Enterprises, Inc. Production" overlay screen. The significance of this seal - which was the 1959-era design - is mentioned in the notes to "WML?" EPISODE #630 of September 9, 1962. - W-B (2008)
This was a pretty decent outing for the panel this particular evening. Bennett was able to correctly guess that the first contestant was a guide. He opened the door for himself when he surmised that she had something to do with tourism. However, in the next game, the panel was completely stumped by the second contestant who made billiard balls. Part of the reason for this was because Arlene asked if the product had ever been alive, and got a "yes" answer, which threw the panel off track. In those days, billiard balls were made from ivory, which was legal for procurement and trade. Later, due to the over-hunting of elephants for their ivory tusks, the widespread use of ivory was eventually banned. In 1989, the ivory trade was declared illegal throughout much of the world. After the game, the contestant presented Arlene and guest panelist Helen Gurley Brown with ivory bracelets. Steve McQueen got a chance to show off his humorous side when he used his best Walter Brennan impersonation to try to stump the panel. Unfortunately, he didn't succeed, as he never gave a "no" answer and he was correctly identified by Arlene. Unfortunately, time ran out as the panel was questioning the camel handler, so he won the game by default. - Sargebri (2004)
Steve McQueen showed what a good actor he really was. His vocal disguise was excellent, and he was an interesting story teller. His story involving interpreters on the set of "The Sand Pebbles" was quite interesting. He said that only one interpreter was used on a set with 1500 extras, so they had communications trouble. The studio interpreter only knew one dialect, but the extras spoke several dialects! So, the extras had to translate the directions amongst themselves. During the goodbyes, Bennett wanted John Daly to sing the popular song of the day, "Winchester Cathedral." John declined, but got a laugh when he said that it would be better if he sung it this week (Christmas) instead of next week (New Year's) because if he sung it next week, it would ruin the new year. - ironcreekguy (2004)
Steve McQueen promoted his 1966 film which opens on Tuesday, "The Sand Pebbles." He said he spent 9 months in the Orient filming this movie. For his mystery voice, he used what sounded like Bob Cummings' "Grandpa" voice. It was very good, but yet the panel was too clever. - Suzanne (2004)
Tidbits: We see a new sponsor, Institute of Life Insurance.
Panel: Arlene Francis, Steve Allen, Helen Gurley Brown, Bennett Cerf.
Click "All Episode Notes" to see all the notes, as they don't all show up on the summary overview page.
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