(1) "WML?" SPONSOR WATCH: This evening, the opening sponsor is creamy Jif peanut butter. In Johnny Olson's announcement of the product, however, he mispronounced the name Jif. Instead of using the correct "j" sound as in "jiffy," he used a "g" sound as in "gift." It would be many years later before this brand of peanut butter adopted the slogan, "Choosy mothers choose Jif."
(2) "LIVE" WATCH: This episode is the 51st surviving "post-Kilgallen" kinescope of a live transmission to maintain, uncut and unaltered, the complete "live" wording in announcer Johnny Olson's intro.
(3) "WML?" PANEL WATCH: Tonight, Sue Oakland becomes the fourth female guest panelist (after Phyllis Newman, Jayne Meadows and Suzy Knickerbocker) to be introduced first more than once in the twenty months following Dorothy Kilgallen's passing. This edition marked both Miss Oakland's and series co-producer Mark Goodson's final appearances on the CBS "WML?" panel. Over the past twelve months, Sue made a total of nine appearances, all as a panelist -- and none as a mystery guest. She will make two more sets of appearances, in the first and second seasons of the 1968-1975 syndicated version of "WML?," during Wally Bruner's run as host. The first was Week #6, recorded on August 13, 1968, with Soupy Sales, Danny Goldman and Arlene Francis seated alongside her on the panel; the second was Week #47, taped on August 21, 1969, with her fellow panelists being Nancy Dussault, Jack Cassidy -- and tonight's co-mystery guest, Gene Rayburn (on that week, both Mr. Sales and Miss Francis had the week off). And while Mr. Goodson this evening, during the intros, may have technically gotten the honorific wrong in initially referring to Sue as "Miss Cott" (before she corrected him), in another sense, his first reference ended up being highly prophetic, as within a few years of her last-ever "WML?" appearance in 1969, Sue began to use her (first) married surname full-time. One of the earliest known cases of this was in 1971, when she wrote a dissertation on the impact of television on the 1968 Presidential election for Columbia University. The byline read: "Suzanne Cott, Ph.D." As for "the boss," he and his partner in game-show producing, Bill Todman, will make a cameo appearance on the very final network EPISODE #876 of September 3, 1967.
(4) BUD COLLYER: Besides being associated with the original versions of Goodson-Todman's "Beat the Clock" (1950-1961) and "To Tell the Truth" (1956-1968), Bud Collyer was well-known to old-time radio buffs as the voice of "Superman" for most of the run of the 1940-1951 radio series "The Adventures of Superman." His run on the radio series ended in 1950, around the time "BTC" first moved to television. Mr. Collyer also supplied the voice of the "Man of Steel," aka newspaper reporter "Clark Kent," in the 1941-1943 series of animated cartoons which were produced by animation legend Max Fleischer in the first year, and Famous Studios thereafter; and on the following Saturday morning cartoons: "The New Adventures of Superman" (1966-1970), "Aquaman" (1968), and "The Batman/Superman Hour" (1968-1969). During much of the runs of the above projects, the voice of fellow reporter "Lois Lane" was supplied by actress Joan Alexander, who was a panelist on G-T's "The Name's the Same" throughout its 1951-1955 ABC run, as well as a guest panelist on "WML?" EPISODE #65 of August 26, 1951, which is sadly lost to history. In a bit of irony, on the same day Mr. Collyer died on September 8, 1969 from a circulatory ailment, the daily syndicated, Garry Moore-hosted version of "TTTT" was first made available to local television stations.
(5) "TO TELL THE TRUTH": Nowhere was the difference among individual Goodson-Todman producers in terms of preservation of individual episodes more evident than on the 1956-1967 nighttime and 1962-1968 daytime versions of "To Tell the Truth." The executive producer of the nighttime "TTTT" was Gil Fates, who also served in that same capacity on "WML?" and the recently ended "I've Got a Secret." All three shows bore witness to Mr. Fates' "minimalist" attitude towards preservation -- that is, he stipulated that the programs be saved only as black-and-white kinescopes. Only two episodes of the nighttime version, both from its final season -- which originally aired on December 26, 1966 and April 24, 1967 -- are rumored to exist today on color videotape. Meanwhile, the daytime "TTTT's" producer was Bruno Zirato, Jr. who, unlike Mr. Fates -- but more like Frank Wayne who was executive producer of the CBS "Password" from 1964 until its 1967 cancellation -- was more "forward-looking" in this realm, opting to shell out more money to keep the videotape masters. While the first three years of the daytime "TTTT" (1962-1965) have been lost to history -- including the November 8, 1965 edition on which "WML?" panelists Dorothy Kilgallen and Arlene Francis appeared as "celebrity impostors" alongside screen legend Joan Crawford, in an episode which aired only hours after Miss Kilgallen was found dead -- those episodes that still survive are in videotape form, whether in black-and-white up to the end of 1966, or in color from January 1967 onwards.
(6) ED McMAHON: While he was hosting Goodson-Todman's "Snap Judgment" during this period, Ed McMahon was already known by this point as the announcer and sidekick of Johnny Carson on the 1962-1992 NBC late-night series "The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson." Mr. McMahon, in fact, was the second regular Carson-era "Tonight"-associated figure to make a mystery guest appearance on "WML?" Mr. Carson himself, once one of the occasional "WML?" guest panelists, was a mystery guest on EPISODE #601 of February 11, 1962.
(7) During the post-game chat, announcer Johnny Olson mentioned that "scheduling conflicts" rendered him unable to announce for "Password." At this point, besides his duties for the New York-based, G-T produced shows "WML?," "TTTT," "Snap Judgment" and "The Match Game" -- the first two of which aired on CBS, the last two on NBC -- Mr. Olson flew every week to Florida to announce for "The Jackie Gleason Show," which remained a Saturday night staple on the CBS schedule through 1970. Interestingly, Sue Oakland herself appeared in two of the other G-T programs in question in the past. Nearly two months prior to tonight's "WML?" edition, she appeared on the May 29, 1967 episode of "Snap Judgment" (her fellow celebrity panelist was Nipsey Russell, who would go on to be a perennially favorite G-T panelist in the 1970's and 1980's); and back on February 4, 1963, she was a guest panelist on the nighttime "TTTT," alongside regular Tom Poston, fellow guest panelist Barry Nelson, and resident "grande dame" Kitty Carlisle. On that occasion, Kitty and Sue appeared together on-screen for the first time since their days on the very short-lived game show "What's Going On?" in 1954. The next, and last, time Sue and Kitty appeared together on "TTTT" was in two episodes of Week #2 of the syndicated version in 1969, alongside Orson Bean and Bill Cullen on the panel.
(8) "WML?" CREW CREDITS AND CREDITS CRUNCH WATCH: For the second straight week, Peter Levin is associate director, and may well have served in that capacity for the last two "live" editions (the next, EPISODE #870, being lost to history, and the final EPISODE #876 not even mentioning the production crew) as well; Carl Schutzman returns to the technical director's chair after an absence of three shows; and in another case of "old home week," former "WML?" lighting director Hal Anderson makes yet another return to his old position, filling in for Gene Ulrich. Announcer Johnny Olson mentioned that Sue Oakland's gowns were by designer Oscar de la Renta. And the February 19, 2008 airing of this episode by GSN once again maintained the complete full screen during the end credit sequence, refraining from its usual habit of "crunching" as seen on the tail end of most of the cable and satellite channel's other offerings.
(9) Right after the February 19, 2008 airing of tonight's show, GSN ran an edition of "I've Got a Secret" which first came "live from New York" on April 15, 1963, with host Garry Moore, the regular panel of Bill Cullen, Betsy Palmer, Henry Morgan and Bess Myerson, and celebrity guest Horst Buchholz. - W-B (2008)