John: Miss Francis?
Arlene: Well, it's the Brothers Karamazov.
A reference to The Brothers Karamazov by the late Russian novelist Fyodor Dostoevsky, his final work.
Bennett: (having figured out the mystery challengers) Do you ever get "smothered" by the fans around you?
Arlene: I feel like I'm taking a drunkometer test.
Bennett: (as the second set of twins appears and starts to sign in) Oh no.
Bennett: He multiplieth words, but understandeth them not, John Charles Daly!
REVIEW: Tonight was one of the wildest episodes in the entire 17 year history of WML, because, with the exception of the mystery guest round, all the contestants were identical twins. Unfortunately, the panel's performance this evening couldn't match the specialness of the night as they went a pathetic 1 for 4 on the evening. In the first game, the panel was stumped by the very attractive barbell saleswomen. In the second game, the panel could fare no better as they were again stumped, this time by the twin Lieutenants Junior Grade who were Oceanography instructors at the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis. The mystery guest round was the only game that didn't feature twins. However, it did feature a pair of brothers and it was Bennett who successfully guessed that they were none other than Tommy and Dickie, the Smothers Brothers. The boys were on the show to promote their soon to be debuting comedy/variety show, which not only would be a classic, but would go on to become one of the most subversive shows in the history of television. In the final game of the evening, the panel ran out of time before they could guess that the two sisters were twin interior decorators. After the poor performance this evening, the panel probably went somewhere to have a few adult beverages until they could really see things in double. - Sargebri (2008)
SMOTHERS BROTHERS: As was mentioned during the post game chat following the mystery guest round, the Smothers Brothers would be debuting the following Sunday with their own comedy/variety hour. That show would become an instant classic, not just for its great mixture of comedy and musical guests, but also for its biting social commentary. In fact, no topic was taboo as Tom and Dick would parody everything, including politics, drugs, sex and religion. Of course, this would lead to several confrontations with the CBS censors. Very often, they would submit their scripts just a few hours before taping. Taping would take place a day or two before the show was to air. By submitting their scripts late, they hoped to ensure that if a sketch was thought to be too controversial, that there would be little or no time to edit it out of the show. Also, it was very interesting that the show would be somewhat tolerated by one of their main targets, President Lyndon Johnson. However, all that would change once Richard Nixon took office and it would be a matter of time before the boy's show would be cancelled in 1969. Ironically, at the time of its cancellation, "The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour" was still one of the most popular shows on network television. Years later, it would influence a new generation of social satirists including Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert and Bill Maher. - Sargebri (2008)
FLIP REPORT: The panel was properly stumped on both of the first two regular spots. However, John flipped all the cards for the final contestant at five down because time was running short. - agent_0042 (2008)
(1) "LIVE" WATCH: The kinescope of tonight's live show is the 38th surviving post-Kilgallen edition where the original "live" wording on the intro was left uncut.
(2) "WML?" PANEL WATCH: This was Dina Merrill's fourth and final "WML?" appearance. She will also appear on the February 20, 1967 edition of "I've Got a Secret," hosted by Steve Allen who is sitting alongside her on the "WML?" panel tonight.
(3) THE SMOTHERS BROTHERS - PART I: The program that "The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour" would be replacing the next week was Garry Moore's short-lived 1966-1967 variety show comeback attempt. Up to this point, the Sunday at 9:00 PM time slot was considered a de facto graveyard shift for CBS, in no small part due to the popular NBC western "Bonanza," the Number One show in the nation from 1964 to 1967, which led to many offerings from CBS being chewed up and spit out in that time slot. One of the more famous programs to fall victim in earlier years to the Cartwright juggernaut was Judy Garland's 1963-1964 CBS variety show, not just due to the low ratings but also due to constant network interference and a succession of producers, including George Schlatter, who would later go on to co-produce "Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In." When the Smotherses stepped in to this slot, many critics and pundits predicted the same fate for them; but to the surprise of all, not only did they survive but also thrive. Moreover, in no small part due to the Smotherses, this year proved to be the last that "Bonanza" would be Number One for the whole season.
(4) THE SMOTHERS BROTHERS - PART II: The program was fortuitous in that every episode of their 1967-1969 comedy/variety show was preserved on color videotape as opposed to the B&W kinescopes of "WML?," thus placing Tom and Dick in the same forward-looking league as Allen Funt -- (whose "Candid Camera," which aired in-between the Smotherses and "WML?," was also in its final season on the network) and Jackie Gleason (who returned to the Top 10 this season due to his resuming "The Honeymooners" as a regular series of sketches) -- rather than Gil Fates, whose minimalist attitude towards preservation, which has been noted in other episode notes, extended not only to "WML?" but also to the other Goodson-Todman shows he produced, including "I've Got a Secret" and the nighttime "To Tell the Truth." This factor made it possible for the "Comedy Hour" to be rerun by E! Entertainment Television in the 1990's. On those repeats, the brothers taped new intros and outros, and featured interviews with surviving regulars and guest stars who appeared on the program. The new E! airings also featured routines that had never been aired by CBS, including Harry Belafonte's controversial 1968 performance of "Don't Stop the Carnival," as well as a complete 1969 episode (the next-to-last of the series in production order) that never even aired on the network originally, on which Dan Rowan (of "Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In") filled in for Dick, who was participating in a race car match at the time of original taping.
(5) THE SMOTHERS BROTHERS - PART III: Besides the below-mentioned examples (in Sargebri's 2004 notes) of Rob Reiner and Steve Martin, one other individual who went on to bigger and better things was Lorenzo Music, who during his time as a writer and sketch performer on "The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour" was known as Jerry Music. In the early 1970's, he became part of a writing-producing duo with David Davis at MTM Enterprises, and together they worked on such shows as "The Bob Newhart Show" and "Rhoda." In fact, it was on the latter show that Mr. Music's voice first became known in the role of "Carlton the Doorman." Starting in the 1980's, he became known to a generation of young viewers as the voice of the irascible cartoon cat "Garfield" in a series of animated specials, and also the 1988-1995 Saturday-morning series "Garfield and Friends." Another writer who became famous through his association with the Smotherses was Mason Williams. In 1968, he had a Top 10 hit with an instrumental, "Classical Gas," on Warner Bros.-Seven Arts (single #7190). The record was produced by Mike Post, who would become famous in later years as the composer of many TV show themes including "The Rockford Files," "The Greatest American Hero," "Hill Street Blues," and "Law & Order." Mr. Williams was also the co-writer, with Nancy Ames (of "That Was the Week That Was" fame), of "The Brothers' Theme" which was the opening theme music for "The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour." Yet another performer who got his start on the show was Bob Einstein, who played "Officer Judy" on the program. In the 1980's, Mr. Einstein would gain fame as inept stuntman "Super Dave Osborne."
(6) SIBLING IRONY: A little irony to GSN's February 2, 2008 airing of the Smothers Brothers' mystery guest appearance tonight had to do with such airing falling three days prior to the anniversary of the February 5, 1967 premiere of "The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour."
(7) "WML?" CREDITS CRUNCH WATCH: Once more, GSN committed its daily egregious violation of viewer ethics by "crunching" the screen during the end credit sequence on the February 2, 2008 airing of this episode.
(8) Following the February 2, 2008 airing of tonight's show, GSN ran an edition of "I've Got a Secret" which originated "live from New York" on November 26, 1962. There was no celebrity guest on this episode which was hosted by Garry Moore, with the usual panel lineup of Bill Cullen, Betsy Palmer, Henry Morgan and Bess Myerson; however, in one segment a male comedian billed as the "world's fastest talker" appeared. In another segment, a woman who could read (out loud) 750 words per minute appeared. - W-B (2008)
This was a fun episode, even though the panel did rather poorly this particular evening. They didn't guess that the first pair of twins had anything to do with selling barbells. But who could blame them, due to the fact that the sisters were extremely beautiful. They also had problems with the second contestants who taught oceanography at Annapolis, and they ran out of time with the sisters who were interior decorators. However, they were successful in guessing the Smothers Brothers! - Sargebri (2004)
The Smothers Brothers were on WML to promote the debut of "The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour," which would be broadcast from 9 PM to 10 PM on Sunday nights. This show was one of the hits of the 1960s. It premiered on February 5, 1967 and went off the air in June 1969. The comedy/variety show not only featured great sketch comedy, but it was also one of the few shows of that era to feature many of the top rock acts such as Jefferson Airplane, Buffalo Springfield (featuring Stephen Stills and Neil Young) and The Who. However, it wasn't poor ratings that cancelled the show. It was the scathing political and social satire and the brothers' ongoing battle with the censors that proved to be their downfall. One example of this was when folk singer Pete Seeger appeared on the show. Seeger was scheduled to perform the song "Knee Deep in Big Muddy," but the network executives refused to air the song because of its strong anti-war message. Another example was a sketch that was to feature Tommy and guest star Elaine May portraying a couple of network censors. Also, during an appearance by Jefferson Airplane, Grace Slick performed while in blackface. The show also was notable for one of the most shocking incidents in rock and roll history. The Who were scheduled to make their American television debut on the show and they were going to end their performance with their usual instrument-smashing finale. During the finale, smoke bombs were also supposed to go off inside drummer Keith Moon's bass drum, but during the rehearsals that afternoon, the band didn't like how the effect went off so they asked one of the technicians to put more of a charge into the drum. However, unknown to the band and the technicians, Moon added even more of a charge to the inside of the drum. The result almost was disastrous for the band. After the band finished performing their classic song "My Generation," they immediately began their instrument-smashing routine. When the smoke charges went off, a huge explosion occurred. The explosion not only caused Pete Townshend's hair to catch fire, but Keith Moon suffered cuts when one of the cymbals from his drum kit hit him in the arm. Also, because of the explosion, along with the years of playing onstage, Townshend began to suffer a severe loss of hearing that still affects him to this day. Also, of note about the show, two young writers that worked on the show would later achieve fame in their own right. One was Rob Reiner, who would later gain fame as Michael "Meathead" Stivic on the classic 1971-1979 sitcom "All in the Family." Reiner would also later become an acclaimed director. The other young writer was Steve Martin, who would become one of the most popular stand-up comics in history, as well as an acclaimed actor. Also, the same year that the show premiered, Tommy acted as one of the celebrity MCs (master of ceremonies) at the Monterey International Pop Festival which took place the weekend of June 15, 16 and 17, 1967. - Sargebri (2004)
The Smothers Brothers are Tom and Dick Smothers. (They are listed by both their individual names and group name so their appearance will be listed in their respective databases.) They promoted their upcoming television series which will be aired next Sunday from 9:00 to 10:00 PM on CBS. - Suzanne (2004)
Tidbits: We see a new sponsor, Creamy Jif Peanut Butter. Steve Allen's new book is titled "The Ground is Our Table." It is a serious book detailing the plight of migrant farm workers. - Suzanne (2004)
Panel: Arlene Francis, Steve Allen, Dina Merrill, 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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