(1) As evident on GSN's February 8, 2008 airing of tonight's show, the program starts on the tail end of the animated sequence, completely skipping the opening sponsor, which may well have been a cigarette manufacturer. In addition, the kinescope goes directly from the gunshot at the end of the animated opening titles to Arlene entering the stage, thus bypassing announcer Johnny Olson's intro as well.
(2) "WML?" PANEL WATCH: Tonight's show was the ninth post-Kilgallen guest panelist appearance for Martin Gabel, whose appearances after Dorothy's death were less frequent than before her death. This is in contrast to Tony Randall, whose own guest panelist appearances increased in frequency after the passing of Dolly Mae. As for Pamela Tiffin, whose stint as a guest panelist turned out to be a disaster on the order of the likes of Wally Cox and the more recent Aliza Kashi, the main contribution to the magazine publishing industry of her then-husband, Clay Felker, was mentioned in the notes to EPISODE #657 of March 31, 1963.
(3) FROM HARVARD TO "NATIONAL": Tonight's first mystery guest duo, Peter Gabel and Jonathan Cerf, were by no means the only notable Harvard Lampoon alumni. In 1969, three other alumni who were involved with the publication in the past -- Douglas Kenney, Henry Beard and Robert Hoffman -- started a new humor magazine called National Lampoon. The first issue was published in April 1970, and continued until 1998. During its heyday in the early to mid-1970's, National Lampoon skewered everything from pop culture to politics to the counterculture, and frequently did so in extremely bad taste. One of its most notable covers, that of the January 1973 issue with a photo of a gun being pointed at the head of a dog and the caption "If You Don't Buy This Magazine, We'll Kill This Dog," was selected as the seventh-greatest magazine cover of the last 40 years by the American Society of Magazine Editors in 2005. The National Lampoon magazine spawned all of the following:
a. A radio show, "The National Lampoon Radio Hour," which ran from 1973 to 1974.
b. A short-lived record label, Banana Records (which was an obvious take-off of The Beatles' Apple label), perhaps whose most famous record was 1972's "Deteriorata" (narrated by veteran announcer and voice-over artist Norman Rose, and with background vocals by a then-little known Melissa Manchester). It was a parody of Les Crane's 1971 spoken-word hit "Desiderata."
c. A stage show, "National Lampoon's Lemmings."
d. Parodies of high-school yearbooks, including the 1972 magazine publication titled "National Lampoon 1964 High School Yearbook Parody."
e. A 1978 parody of Sunday newspapers, called the "Dacron Republican-Democrat."
f. Parodies of several top-grossing movies, from "National Lampoon's Animal House" (1978) to the "National Lampoon's Vacation" series of movies in the 1980's.
Among several contributors to the magazine over the years, who went on to bigger and better things, included P.J. O'Rourke, Tony Hendra, Michael O'Donoghue and Anne Beatts. A handful of National Lampoon staffers, including the aforementioned Mr. O'Donoghue and Miss Beatts, left in 1975 to become involved in a new TV show on NBC which started out as "NBC's Saturday Night," but by 1977 adopted its current title of "Saturday Night Live." Four of the program's early cast members -- Chevy Chase, John Belushi, Gilda Radner and Bill Murray -- got some of their early big breaks in the Lampoon's stage shows and/or radio programs, as did such other writer/performers as Christopher Guest, Harry Shearer and Harold Ramis. It is believed by many that the departure of many key Lampoon staffers at that time signaled the end of its "Golden Age," and the beginning of a long decline which saw many changes in owners (including actor Tim Matheson who played "Otter" in the "Animal House" movie) and culminated in its ceasing publication in 1998.
(4) MYSTERY GUEST #2: Robert Morse became one of the few actors to win a Tony Award in two different categories when he won for "Best Actor in a Play" in 1990 for his portrayal of writer Truman Capote in the one-man play "Tru," 28 years after winning for "Best Actor in a Musical" for his role as "J. Pierpont Finch" in "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying." One year after tonight's show, he co-starred in the short-lived musical comedy series "That's Life," which ran on ABC from September 24, 1968 to May 20, 1969. Mr. Morse played "Robert Dickson," and E.J. Peaker played his wife, "Gloria Quigley Dickson." The show made heavy use of cameos, including one episode which featured recurring "WML?" guest panelist Tony Randall. Other installments featured "WML?"-related actors and/or singers such as Sid Caesar, Ethel Merman, Alan King, Mahalia Jackson, Robert Goulet, Phil Silvers, and Wally Cox. The program was created and produced by Marvin Marx, who for years was head writer for Jackie Gleason -- with whom Mr. Morse had co-starred in the 1959 Broadway musical "Take Me Along."
(5) "WML?" CREW CREDITS AND CREDITS CRUNCH WATCH: Tonight, A.J. Gulino is credited as audio engineer in place of B.A. Taylor. And the blatantly boorish practice of "crunching" the end credits continued once more on the February 8, 2008 airing of this episode by GSN.
(6) Following GSN's February 8, 2008 airing of tonight's show, the cable and satellite channel ran an edition of "I've Got a Secret" which originated "live from New York" on January 28, 1963 and was hosted by Garry Moore. The panel on this occasion consisted of Betsy Palmer, Carol Channing (filling in for the vacationing Bill Cullen), Henry Morgan and Bess Myerson, and the celebrity guest was horror movie legend Boris Karloff. - W-B (2008)