(1) "WML?" SPONSOR WATCH: The opening sponsor tonight is Phillips' Milk of Magnesia antacid/laxative, while newcomer Shell No-Pest Strips is the closing sponsor.
(2) "LIVE" WATCH AND VARIATIONS ON A THEME: The kinescope recording of this evening's live transmission was the 46th surviving "post-Kilgallen" episode where the "live" wording on announcer Johnny Olson's intro was left untouched. Also, Mr. Olson's intro of Arlene was varied somewhat tonight, as "That delightful star of stage and television."
(3) "WML?" PANEL WATCH: For the final "WML?" appearance of the pseudonymous Suzy Knickerbocker (the nom de plume of journalist Aileen Mehle) -- not only on CBS, but on the show itself -- the nameplate used on the panel desk is the hard-to-read "MISS KNICKERBOCKER," the same as used on her debut appearance on EPISODE #797 of January 2, 1966, thus coming full circle. Interestingly, her nameplate trajectory this season was the reverse of the previous season, with the easier-to-read, one-name "SUZY" only in use on her next-to-last appearance on EPISODE #850 of February 19, 1967, in contrast to its being used on all her remaining guest panelist appearances of the 1965-1966 season. This episode aired two weeks and two days after the New York World Journal Tribune, for which her column was most recently published in the New York area, put out its final issue on May 5, 1967. In later years, Suzy, who ditched the "Knickerbocker" moniker not long after this final "WML?" appearance, would write her column, at different times, for the both the (New York) Daily News and the New York Post. In more recent years, her writings appeared in Woman's Wear Daily and W magazine. Also, the past four shows were perhaps the longest stretch of consecutive episodes on which Tony Randall had served on the "WML?" panel, a feat previously accomplished on Bennett's prior vacations in earlier years by Martin Gabel. And at the time of Mel Ferrer's guest panelist appearance tonight (his second, after EPISODE #457 of March 22, 1959), Mel Ferrer was still married to actress Audrey Hepburn, although one year from tonight's show, in 1968, their 14-year marriage -- which yielded a son, Sean Ferrer -- ended in divorce. Alas, Miss Hepburn never appeared on "WML?" in any of its incarnations.
(4) THE SUPREMES - PART I: At the time of their mystery guest appearance tonight, The Supremes had a #1 hit with "The Happening" (Motown 1107), the title track from the 1967 movie of the same name starring Anthony Quinn and Faye Dunaway, and featuring as a supporting player onetime frequent "WML?" mystery guest Milton Berle. "The Happening" (the song) was written by the now-legendary Motown songwriting team of (Eddie) Holland, (Lamont) Dozier and (Brian) Holland, together with Frank DeVol who composed the film's score, and at the time was also musical director for the 1960-1972 sitcom "My Three Sons." Mr. DeVol would go on to play bandleader "Happy Kyne" on the programs "Fernwood 2-Night" (1977-1978) and "America 2-Night" (1978-1979). As for The Supremes, following Florence Ballard's ouster from the group which came not long after this appearance, she was replaced by Cindy Birdsong who had previously sung in the group Patti LaBelle and The Bluebelles. With this personnel change, The Supremes became Diana Ross and The Supremes, with the first single under their new moniker being "Reflections." It should be noted that prior to the personnel and group name change, The Supremes had ten Number One pop hits under their belt; afterwards, they only had two, "Love Child" (Motown 1135, 1968) and "Someday We'll Be Together" (Motown 1156, 1969). Ironically, on the latter track which was the last credited to the group before Diana's departure, neither Miss Birdsong nor Mary Wilson were present; it was technically Miss Ross' first solo single, with backing vocals from sisters Maxine and Julia Waters, and a male vocal in the form of one of the song's writers, Johnny Bristol, who would later have a hit of his own with "Hang On In There Baby" (MGM 14715, 1974). As for Miss Ballard, she would attempt a solo career, but ended up virtually destitute, and died of coronary thrombosis on February 22, 1976 at age 32.
(5) THE SUPREMES - PART II: The "reunion" attempt in the 1983 TV special "Motown 25: Yesterday, Today, Forever" was not the only bumpy ride. In 2000, Diana Ross attempted a Supremes "reunion" tour, to be called the "Diana Ross and the Supremes Tour - A Celebration of the Music." Unfortunately, Mary Wilson and Cindy Birdsong refused to take part in the tour because they wouldn't be paid as much as Miss Ross. This left Diana to recruit two later members from the group's final years in the 1970's, Lynda Laurence and Scherrie Payne (neither of whom were in The Supremes at the same time), to accompany her, with the end result being that Miss Ross was the only original member taking part in this "reunion," not to mention that she was to be the bigger star in the shows. The results, both critically and financially, were a total disaster -- with excessively high ticket prices, nearly empty seats, and the press referring to this group as "the ersatz Supremes" -- and the plug was pulled in July of 2000 with only half of the concerts being performed up to that point.
(6) "ONE OTHER THING...": This was not the first time The Supremes appeared as mystery guests on a show where Suzy Knickerbocker was a guest panelist. This happened previously on EPISODE #805 of February 27, 1966.
(7) "WML?" CREW CREDITS AND CREDITS CRUNCH WATCH: Once again tonight, David Roth is credited as associate director. And once again, grateful GSN viewers were treated to seeing the end credits uncompressed and in full screen on the most recent airing on February 14, 2008.
(8) Following GSN's broadcast of tonight's episode on February 14, 2008, the cable and satellite channel ran the March 11, 1963 edition of "I've Got a Secret" which was the second straight show to emanate from the "CBS Television City" studio in Hollywood, California. The panel, as introduced by host Garry Moore, consisted here of Betsy Palmer, Morey Amsterdam (filling in for Bill Cullen), Rosemary Clooney (subbing for Bess Myerson), and Henry Morgan. The celebrity guest was Dick Van Dyke, on whose popular 1961-1966 CBS sitcom Mr. Amsterdam was a co-star, and the announcer on this and the previous show was Bern Bennett, who after 1960 transferred from New York to Hollywood. Mr. Bennett on these occasions was subbing for "IGAS's" longtime regular announcer, John Cannon. Also of note was that Irwin Kostal was musical director on this show, in place of the regular musical director Norman Paris. Interestingly, the panel order, in spite of the substitutes, was a forerunner of what would come to be in the last years of the "IGAS" CBS run, especially the "Steve Allen era," with the panel seating arrangement as Miss Palmer, Mr. Cullen, Miss Myerson and Mr. Morgan. - W-B (2008)