DOCTOR OAKLAND I PRESUME? Tonight was a night for celebrating as it was announced that frequent guest panelist Sue Oakland passed her doctorate exams in Political Science from Columbia University. This was also a very interesting episode due to the wild antics of tonight's mystery guest, Judy Garland. As for the panel's performance on the evening, they picked up from last week's excellent performance and went an equally impressive 3 for 4. In the first game, which was a mystery guest round, Sue correctly identified best selling author Jacqueline Susann. Jackie was on the show to celebrate the fact that her classic novel, "Valley of the Dolls," had been on the best seller lists for exactly one year. In the second game, Arlene correctly guessed that the rather young looking contestant was a wine steward. However, what made this particular game so interesting was the fact that Gail Mutrix was probably the first regular contestant to appear onstage wearing slacks. Things really took a bizarre turn in the mystery guest round as Bennett correctly identified Judy Garland, who definitely looked as if she was really out of sorts this evening. As the panel questioned her, Judy used a clicker for "no" and a bell for "yes." Judy didn't have anything to promote that she was appearing in, but she did talk about the recent marriage of her daughter Liza to Peter Allen. Judy also spoke about being recently hired to appear in the film version of "Valley of the Dolls." In the final game, Tony correctly guessed that the lady from England had something to do with Great Danes. Unfortunately, his guess came after John had flipped all the cards due to time. As a result, the contestant won the full prize by default. Still, despite this slip up and Judy Garland's bizarre behavior, this still was a very great night for the panel. - Sargebri (2008)
VALLEY OF THE DOLLS: It was definitely interesting to have the author of "Valley of the Dolls," Jacqueline Susann, and the woman who was supposed to be one of the stars of the film, Judy Garland, on the show on the same night. Also ironic was the statement that Judy made as she left the stage, "I'm the only one in the book that doesn't take pills." Of course, Judy was long known for her battles with pills and alcohol and two years after her appearance on the show, she would die from an accidental overdose of pills. As for the film version of "Dolls," Judy's bizarre behavior would lead to her being fired from the production and she was replaced by Susan Hayward. This may have been a blessing, because the film, which starred Patty Duke, Barbara Parkins and Sharon Tate, would go down as one of the worst films in history, according to the book of the same name. Also, the film would be remade three years later, sort of. Noted soft-core pornography producer/director Russ Meyer released a film inspired by this one titled "Beyond the Valley of the Dolls," which was about an all-girl rock and roll trio. Interestingly, the screenplay for that film was written by film critic Roger Ebert. - Sargebri (2008)
FLIP REPORT: John flipped all the cards for the second contestant as nine down, even though Arlene had more-or-less guessed her line. John flipped them all for the final contestant at eight down and her line was subsequently identified after several wild guesses. - agent_0042 (2008)
LADIES NIGHT: All contestants on this episode, including the mystery challenger, were female. - agent_0042 (2008)
(1) "WML?" SPONSOR WATCH: The opening sponsor for tonight is Poli-Grip denture adhesive cream.
(2) "LIVE" WATCH: Tonight's show is the 42nd post-Kilgallen kinescope of a live telecast which kept uncut the original "live" wording on the intro from announcer Johnny Olson.
(3) In the course of her introduction of Bennett, Sue Oakland mentioned that her children read Bennett's books of riddles. She was referring to at least some (if not all) of the five children (all boys) she had with her first husband, broadcast executive Ted Cott. (Two of their sons were from Ted's previous marriage, and they had three sons together.) Sue also mentioned that Bennett's dictionaries were in the library at Columbia University, where, as mentioned by Tony Randall, she had just passed her doctorate in political science. Interestingly, Sue's future colleague at New York television station WCBS-TV (Channel 2) in the 1970's and early 1980's was fellow editorialist Peter Kohler, who was an alumnus of the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism.
(4) MYSTERY GUEST #1: Jacqueline Susann's "Valley of the Dolls" book was initially published by Bernard Geis Associates, whose titles were distributed by Bennett's Random House concern. Alas, the controversy generated by Miss Susann's book would unfortunately spell the end of Random House's distribution deal with Geis. More about other titles published by Bernard Geis Associates over the years -- including works by at least two onetime "WML?" guest panelists -- can be found in the notes to EPISODE #684 of October 13, 1963.
(5) MYSTERY GUEST #2: Judy Garland was one of the more famous victims of the "Bonanza" juggernaut of the early to mid-1960's. Her variety show ran in the Sunday 9:00 PM time slot on CBS from September 29, 1963 to March 29, 1964, never once able to penetrate the ratings momentum of the highly popular 1959-1973 NBC western. "The Judy Garland Show" went through several different producers, including future "Laugh-In" mastermind George Schlatter and future movie director Norman Jewison; was subjected to constant network interference throughout its run, including an attempt to emulate the format of Garry Moore's 1958-1964 variety show (ironically, Mr. Moore's own 1966-1967 comeback attempt likewise crashed and burned in the face of "Bonanza"); and was the subject of a book by Mel Torme (who was a "musical advisor" on the show) called "The Other Side of the Rainbow" which was published in 1970, one year after Judy's death. Mr. Torme appeared in the past on two different CBS "WML?'s": as a mystery guest on the unfortunately lost to history EPISODE #90 of February 17, 1952, and as a guest panelist on EPISODE #516 of June 5, 1960, which was the last "WML?" episode to originate from CBS "Studio 59," aka the Mansfield Theatre, which as of tonight's show (and continuing into this writing in 2008) is the Brooks Atkinson Theatre. The "Velvet Fog" was also one of the mystery guests on the very first week of the syndicated version of "WML?" in 1968, as well as in a 1972 episode; and was a guest panelist on two different weeks in the Larry Blyden era, in 1972 and again in 1973. As for Miss Garland's short-lived variety show, which has been preserved on videotape (although, like virtually all CBS programs at the time, it was in black-and-white), selected bits and pieces have been rebroadcast on public TV over the years, as well as certain highlights having been released on VHS and DVD. Her two daughters, Liza Minnelli and Lorna Luft, were parodied as "Lorna Minnelli" by Andrea Martin on the Canadian sketch comedy show, "Second City Television" (aka "SCTV"), in the 1970's and 1980's.
(6) "WML?" CREDITS CRUNCH WATCH: The atrociously asinine habit of "crunching" the screen during the end credit sequence continued unabated on GSN's February 7, 2008 airing of this episode.
(7) The February 7, 2008 airing by GSN of tonight's show was followed by a repeat of the January 21, 1963 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; the celebrity guest was Carol Channing, who the next week would be subbing for Mr. Cullen on the panel. - W-B (2008)
Immediately prior to tonight's live broadcast, the future EPISODE #856 of April 9, 1967 was pre-taped. - Suzanne (2004)
The "dolls" in the movie title are prescription drugs. Specifically, depressants or "downers." In the "Valley of the Dolls" credits at IMDB, Judy Garland is listed as being in "scenes deleted." Amazon.com shows a January 2004 UK DVD release (Region 2) of this film bundled with "Beyond The Valley Of The Dolls." There must be "special features" on the DVD featuring Judy's cut scenes as "Helen Lawson." There has been no American release of this film on DVD, only on VHS. - Suzanne (2004)
Interestingly, Tony Randall jokingly said that he had thought that Judy Garland was Senator Everett Dirksen, who will appear as a mystery guest in a few months on EPISODE #868. Both Garland and Dirksen died in 1969, a little more than two years after their appearances. In addition, Bud Collyer also passed away in 1969, and he was a mystery guest on the episode following Dirksen's appearance. - Dan Albertson (2004)
This had to be "Ladies Night" due to the fact that all of the contestants were women. The panel had a pretty good night tonight. Sue Oakland was able to identify Jacqueline Susann, who was celebrating the fact that her novel, "Valley of the Dolls," had just passed the one year mark on the best seller list. The panel did have some trouble figuring out that the second contestant was a wine steward. Perhaps it was due to the fact that she looked especially young and was also dressed in a pantsuit. Bennett was able to figure out that the mystery guest was Judy Garland, especially after she spoke and everyone could hear her distinctive voice. Tony was able to figure out that the final contestant was a breeder of Great Danes, but, the time had run out. - Sargebri (2004)
Judy, Judy, Judy - Miss Garland was in town for the wedding of her daughter Liza to her protege Peter Allen. The marriage lasted for five years until the couple divorced in 1972. This marriage may have been a "convenience marriage" or a "cover" for Allen, because he was gay. In 1967, homosexuality was still a very taboo subject. Allen would later go on to have a successful career as a songwriter. His song, "I Honestly Love You," became the first number one single for Olivia Newton John. Unfortunately, in June of 1992, Peter succumbed to AIDS. A musical based on his life, "The Boy From Oz," became a huge hit on Broadway. Its star, Hugh Jackman, won the Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical. As for Liza, she would go on to have a highly successful career of her own. In 1972, she would win the one award her mother never won, the Oscar for Best Actress for her role as "Sally Bowles" in the 1972 film "Cabaret." Unfortunately, Judy would never see her daughter's triumph, because two years after her appearance on this show, she would die from an accidental barbiturate overdose. Also of note, Judy mentioned that she was going to be starring in "Valley of the Dolls." However, just as production was beginning on the film, she was fired due to her instability. It might have been a blessing though, due to the fact that the film was recently called one of the worst films of all time, according to the book of the same name. - Sargebri (2004)
Jacqueline Susann was celebrating the first anniversary of "Valley of the Dolls" being on the best seller list. However, not all books on the best seller list were critical or literary successes. Some of them were called downright trashy. But, that didn't stop these books from becoming popular with the public. Susann was also celebrating the fact that the book was about to be made into a movie featuring Barbara Parkins, Patty Duke and Sharon Tate. Even former frequent WML guest panelist Joey Bishop has a bit part in the movie. Unfortunately for her, the campy film was not a huge success. Ironically, the film would spawn a 1970 sequel in the Russ Meyer boob fest "Beyond the Valley of the Dolls," which was co-written by a man who would go on to become one of the most powerful film critics in history, Roger Ebert. However, this would not be the last of Susann's novels to be made into a film. Two of her other books, "The Love Machine" and "Once is Not Enough" would also be made into films in 1971 and 1975, respectively. Unfortunately, Susann would die from breast and lung cancer in September 1974. Also of note, before she became a novelist, she was also an unsuccessful actress and a playwright. In fact, she was Arlene's understudy when Arlene was appearing in the play "The Women." - Sargebri (2004)
Judy uses a bell for her "yes" answers and a clicker for her "no" answers, as she tries to hide her famous voice. She speaks once during the game, and that is all it takes to give her away to Bennett's sharp ear. It's a cute mystery guest spot considering all of the legendary backstage carryings-on. - WML Fan (2004)
Regarding Judy Garland's statement about her upcoming appearance in 1967's "Valley of the Dolls," which was based on Jacqueline Susann's best-selling 1965 novel of the same name. Judy would eventually be dropped from production, and replaced by Susan Hayward in the role of "Helen Lawson." These facts were detailed in an AMC (American Movie Classics) television documentary on the making of this film titled, "Backstory: Valley of the Dolls," produced in 2001. Judy Garland's screen test was shown, and she didn't appear to be in very good shape at the time before she was fired. Unfortunately, Garland didn't have much longer to live. She died two years later in 1969 at age 47. - Walt (2004)
The second contestant, the wine steward, was the first female regular contestant to wear pants on stage. While today in 2004 this is commonplace, in 1967, it was still very rare to see women in pants. The very first woman to wear pants on WML was Carol Channing in February 1965. Since then, we've also seen Phyllis Newman, Arlene Francis and Suzy Knickerbocker wear pants outfits. - Walt (2004)
This is a great episode! It doesn't take the panel long to figure out who the mystery guest is, in spite of the fact that Judy uses a clicker to disguise her famous voice. After her identity is revealed, Judy explains that she is in town for her daughter Liza Minnelli's wedding to Peter Allen. She also promotes her appearance in the upcoming 1967 film "Valley of the Dolls." She ironically quips that her character is the only one who doesn't take pills. - dacktyl (2004)
JUDY GARLAND CAUSES A STIR! Gil Fates relates this nerve-wracking story in his 1978 WML book: Time was crucial since this show was broadcast live. Judy Garland arrived half an hour late to the studio, accompanied by young men, bottles of wine and dress bags. She claimed she didn't know what to wear, and was not cooperating with the production staff. Finally, she demanded her $500 mystery guest appearance fee up front and in cash, or she would refuse to go on. Of course, no banks were open on Sunday night! There was no way they could come up with the cash she demanded. Management was in a panic as to what to do. With 2 minutes left to go until Judy's air time, Mark Goodson was quickly chosen as a substitute mystery guest. With 20 seconds left before Mark's entrance, Judy walked in stating, "What's all the ####ing rush? We've got plenty of time." On she went, and the house came down in admiration! The panel and the audience never had a clue as to what had transpired backstage! Gil's Garland quote might not have been Judy's exact words. Arlene Francis quoted Garland slightly differently in her autobiography, but Arlene's Garland quote did contain the same 4-letter word. - Suzanne (2004)
Tidbits: Bennett mentioned he saw Frank Sinatra sing at the Fontainebleau Hotel in Miami Beach, Florida. Frank was engaged there from February 16 to March 1, 1967. When Bennett said he attended Frank's "last performance," he probably meant the final performance of this engagement. Frank did not announce his "first" retirement until 1971. Bennett likened the great Sinatra to the great John Daly, both excellent in their fields. For the second week in a row, Bennett has said kind things about John in his introduction. This is probably because of the recent cancellation announcement of WML, and it will be interesting to see if Bennett goes back to his usual sarcastic brand of humor with John. - Suzanne (2004)
Panel: Arlene Francis, Tony Randall, Susan Oakland, Bennett Cerf.
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