What's My Line?

Season 18 Episode 51


Aired Daily 12:00 AM Aug 20, 1967 on CBS



  • Trivia

  • Quotes

  • Notes

    • REVIEW: This was a fairly decent night for the panel as they went a respectable 2 for 3 on the night. It also happened to be a very interesting night for a couple of reasons. One reason was the appearance Joan Murray, who was the first African-American woman to sit in on the panel, and the other reason was the fact that all the contestants, including the mystery guest, were women. In the first game, Arlene correctly guessed that the rather attractive young lady from Miami, Florida was a private investigator. The panel wasn't as fortunate in the second game as they were totally stumped by the lady from Colorado who made custom horse blankets. However, the most interesting thing to come out of that game was that it marked the first sign of trouble between Bennett Cerf and Henry Morgan (more on that below). In the mystery guest round, Joan correctly identified Jill St. John, who sounded as if she was channeling Don Adams' famous character "Maxwell Smart" with her "would you believes." Jill was on the show to promote the film "Eight on the Lam," in which she co-starred with Bob Hope, Phyllis Diller and Jonathan Winters. She also talked about the films Banning," in which she co-starred with her future husband Robert Wagner, and "Tony Rome," which starred Frank Sinatra in the title role. However, she also briefly talked about the recent tour of Vietnam she and Bob Hope went on as well. That was definitely a nice way to end a very historic evening. - Sargebri (2008)

      THE FINAL CANDIDATE!!! As was mentioned earlier, Joan Murray became the first African-American lady to serve on the panel. Of course, prior to her appearance on the panel, the only other African-Americans to serve on the panel were Sammy Davis Jr. and Harry Belafonte. As far as her performance went, Joan showed a lot of aptitude for the game by asking several good questions and was responsible for identifying mystery guest Jill St. John. It is just too bad that her only appearance on the panel came about when there were only two more episodes to go. She definitely would have made a fine addition to the show as either a replacement for Dolly Mae or as a frequent guest panelist. - Sargebri (2008)

      HEY HENRY!!! DON'T LET THE DOORKNOB HIT YA WHERE THE GOOD LORD SPLIT YA!!! It probably was a surprise to a lot of viewers to see Henry Morgan on the panel this evening after his antics a few weeks earlier. However, this episode had been taped prior to his childish antics a few weeks earlier. This definitely was his final appearance on the show. - Sargebri (2008)

      CANCELLATION WATCH - 874 DOWN, TWO TO GO!!! Because this episode was taped a few weeks earlier, it was business as usual. So, there was no mention of the show's impending cancellation. - Sargebri (2008)

    • FLIP REPORT: John flipped all the cards for the first contestant at six down, even though Arlene had correctly guessed the line. John flipped the remaining card for the second contestant at nine down because time was running short. He also flipped the remaining cards for the mystery challenger at seven down, well after the game had ended. Of course, all mystery challengers received a full prize of $500 as an appearance fee, regardless of whether or not any cards went over. - agent_0042 (2008)

    • MORE ABOUT GUEST PANELIST JOAN MURRAY: In his introduction of Joan Murray, guest panelist Henry Morgan flubbed the title of the program she co-hosted. It was actually called "Two at One." The "Two" in the title was a double reference, not only to the television dial position of the station on which it aired (WCBS-TV, Channel 2), but also the two hosts - Miss Murray and the legendary WCBS-TV news anchor Jim Jensen (1926-1999), who was considered the "dean" of local television news for decades, as synonymous with the station as Walter Cronkite was with the parent CBS network. The "One" in the title was a reference to the 1:00 P.M. time slot in which it aired. "Two at One" was an early attempt by Channel 2 at a midday news-oriented program and ran from 1965 to about 1968. In the latter year, Miss Murray wrote a behind-the-scenes book about what goes on in a TV news studio, called "The News." The book contained pictures of the studio where "Two at One" originated, as well as shots of Miss Murray and Mr. Jensen in the studio. - W-B (2006)

      (1) "WML?" SPONSOR WATCH: Tonight's opening sponsor is Johnson Wax's Pronto "push-button" floor cleaner.
      (2) "MEMOREX" WATCH: Tonight's prerecorded episode is the sixth surviving show of 1967, the tenth this season, and the seventeenth since EPISODE #820 of July 3, 1966, on which announcer Johnny Olson's intro led off with "And now, let's meet our 'What's My Line?' panel."
      (3) "WML?" PANEL WATCH: This was technically Henry Morgan's third-to-last CBS "WML?" episode in production order, as well as his last in airing order. He was pulling double-duty this evening, as he also appeared on the live EPISODE #864 of June 4, 1967 which aired right after the taping of tonight's show. Besides his eventual appearances as a guest panelist on the syndicated "WML?," Mr. Morgan was a mystery guest in only its third week on the air in 1968. In addition, he appeared frequently as a guest panelist, between 1970 and 1977, on the syndicated version of "To Tell the Truth." In an interesting coincidence, his two "WML?" appearances on the night of this taping were alongside two present and future reporters for New York television station WCBS-TV (Channel 2), as Pia Lindstrom, who was a guest panelist on EPISODE #864, worked at WCBS-TV as a reporter from 1971 to 1973. In addition, in the here and now, Joan Murray was the second active Channel 2 reporter to be a guest panelist, following Jeanne Parr who sat on the panel on EPISODE #807 of March 13, 1966. Joan's nameplate on the panel desk reads "JOAN MURRAY," following in the footsteps of Alan King in his first two years' worth (1960-1962) of guest panelist appearances, and Orson Bean on his first "WML?" guest panelist appearance on EPISODE #746 of January 10, 1965. This was to be both Miss Murray's first and last "WML?" appearance.
      (4) ANOTHER PORTENT OF THE FUTURE: Besides being the first African-American female guest panelist in "WML?'s" history, Joan Murray's appearance tonight pointed towards another aspect of the future syndicated run of "WML?," as a few of the guest panelists on the later version, especially in the last few years of its run, were largely New York-based TV or radio personalities whose fame did not necessarily translate to the rest of the nation. Aside from Melba Tolliver, who was a reporter and occasional anchor on New York station WABC-TV's (Channel 7) "Eyewitness News" from its launch in 1968 until 1976 when she joined WNBC-TV (Channel 4) for a four-year run, there was also Leonard Harris, the arts and entertainment critic until about 1974 for WCBS-TV, whose "Eye on Art" special about the arts in the 1960's preempted "WML?" EPISODE #867 of July 2, 1967 in New York; as well as Sherrye Henry, a radio personality during the 1970's and into the 1980's on WOR Radio (710 AM), on whose airwaves Arlene Francis was also heard at the time. On a tangent, there was also Mr. Harris' mid-1970's successor as WCBS's film and theatre critic, Pat Collins. Miss Collins -- who is not to be confused with the hypnotist of the same name who was a contestant on "WML?" EPISODE #563 of May 7, 1961 -- made a few appearances on the panel of the syndicated "TTTT" in its last years on the air, as did Dr. Frank Field who was a meteorologist at the time on WNBC-TV, and later worked at stations such as WCBS-TV, WNYW (Channel 5) and WWOR-TV (Channel 9). As of February 2008, Miss Collins is the entertainment editor for WWOR-TV. She was married for years to Joe Raposo, the composer for such famous public TV children's shows as "Sesame Street" and "The Electric Company," until his death in 1989.
      (5) BAD PUN ALERT: Bennett brings forth yet another lame play on words, with a story of a girl who inherited 10 million yen. His punch line was that she was a "Chinese fortunate cookie." However, there was a little goof: While that phrase was a pun on the term "Chinese fortune cookie," the yen is of Japanese currency. The proper nomenclature for the Chinese currency is the yuan.
      (6) "WML?" CREW CREDITS AND CREDITS CRUNCH WATCH: As with the live EPISODE #864 of June 4, 1967, Rowland Vance is credited as associate director this evening. And as in the past nearly two weeks, the end credits were shown in complete full-screen mode by GSN on February 23, 2008. "WML?" fans feel pleased and fortunate that GSN has been resisting the urge to "crunch" the screen as seen on the ending moments of most of the cable and satellite channel's other offerings.
      (7) ONE MORE DOUBLE-DOSE OF HENRY MORGAN: Following GSN's February 23, 2008 airing of tonight's show, the cable and satellite channel ran the May 13, 1963 edition of "I've Got a Secret," hosted by Garry Moore, with the panel of Bill Cullen, Betsy Palmer, Henry Morgan and Bess Myerson, and celebrity guest Robert Goulet. - W-B (2008)

    • By the time What's My Line? was syndicated by Viacom, they featured black female guest panelists. GSN aired one such syndicated episode during their "Jerry Orbach Tribute." On January 9, 2005, GSN aired a syndicated episode which was originally taped on October 12, 1972. The host was Larry Blyden and the panel consisted of Soupy Sales, Melba Tolliver, Allen Ludden and Arlene Francis. Melba Tolliver was a television news reporter for WABC (Channel 7, WABC-TV, New York) on their "Eyewitness News" program. - Suzanne (2005)

      During game 2, we see some drama. Bennett spoke out of turn and interrupted Henry with the cards at "9 down and 1 to go," to offer help to Henry. Henry blurts out, "Oh stop it, Bennett." He proceeds to tell Bennett, "I don't care... it's my turn." The camera shows a silenced and glum Bennett resting his head in his hand. Soon Arlene speaks too, so Bennett speaks again also, offering the advice to Henry that "athletics" had not been asked about. Henry then sarcastically says to Bennett, "Well, if it ever gets up to you again, you do that." The audience laughs and so does Bennett. It's no wonder that the next time they clashed, it was the final straw for Henry. - Suzanne (2004)

      During Jill St. John's game, Henry Morgan asked her, "Are you under 25?" She replied, "yes" and then gave a sheepish grin. Per IMDB, her date of birth is August 19, 1940, so she was almost 27 years old when this episode was taped, and had turned 27 by the time this episode aired. John said that she had 5 unreleased movies, so she's been busy. Her five 1967 films are: "Banning," "Tony Rome," "The King's Pirate," "Eight on the Lam" and "How I Spent My Summer Vacation." - Suzanne (2004)

      During the end credits, Johnny Olson announced that this episode was prerecorded. From Gil Fates' logs, we know this episode was taped on June 4, 1967. - Suzanne (2004)

    • ABOUT JOAN MURRAY - Guest panelist Joan Murray, born November 6, 1941 in Ithaca, New York, is a local reporter and news correspondent for WCBS-TV in New York. During the introductions, Henry Morgan said her program is called "Two For One." However, Henry made a mistake, as her program was actually titled "Two at One." In April 1965, she became one of the first black newswomen employed by a major television station. She also received the Mary McLeod Bethune Achievement Award from the National Council of Negro Women. Mary McLeod Bethune was the founder of the National Council of Negro Women (NCNW) in 1935. - Suzanne (2004)

      Besides being a historic night in the show's history, due to the lovely Joan Murray's appearance, this was a decent night for the panel. Arlene managed to correctly deduce that the first contestant was a female private investigator. Unfortunately, the panel members were unable to guess that the second contestant made custom horse blankets. After the game, John pointed out that if they had asked if the product were used in connection with animals, they probably could have gotten it right. Up next was mystery guest Jill St. John, who was identified by the aforementioned Miss Murray. After the round, Jill talked about her work with Bob Hope. In addition to co-starring with him in the 1967 film "Eight on the Lam," she also joined him in Vietnam, entertaining the troops in his Christmas USO tour. Also discussed were two 1967 films that were about to be released: "Tony Rome," in which she co-starred with Frank Sinatra, and "Banning," in which she co-starred with Robert Wagner. Coincidentally, in 1990, 23 years after she and Wagner co-starred in the film, the two of them would co-star in a different way, by getting married! As for Joan Murray's performance, she proved that she was an admirable panelist. She asked some very intelligent questions, and was able to identify the mystery guest. It is a shame that her first appearance on the series came just as it was about to go off the air. Also of note, even though this episode was taped before the infamous incident between Henry Morgan, John and Bennett, on EPISODE #868, you already could see some tension between Henry and Bennett, as Henry and Bennett interrupted each other on separate occasions. Other than that, it was a pretty calm evening. - Sargebri (2004)

      JOAN MURRAY - FIRST BLACK FEMALE PANELIST - Joan Murray is the first, and only, African-American woman to ever sit on the "classic" CBS WML panel. It is fortunate that she made her appearance when she did, considering the looming cancellation. As for male African-American guest panelists, over the years we have seen only two men, Sammy Davis, Jr. and Harry Belafonte. Blacks were definitely under-represented on the WML panel. However, during the years that WML aired, blacks were generally under-represented on all of American television. Gil Fates wrote about the subject of black guests in his 1978 WML book. He said that when they did book a black guest, they wanted to make sure that the person did not represent any stereotypes. So, they booked black contestants and mystery guests who were either highly educated, held management jobs, or were influential or popular in society. - Sargebri (2004)

    • CANCELLATION WATCH - Nothing discernable, but if we didn't look for clues, we couldn't call ourselves fans! - Suzanne (2004)

      Tidbits: Bennett makes a pun about a "Chinese Fortunate Cookie," a girl who inherited ten million yen. - Suzanne (2004)

    • Joan Murray (b. 11/6/1941)

      Panel: Arlene Francis, Henry Morgan, Joan Murray, Bennett Cerf.

  • Allusions

    • Click "All Episode Notes" to see all the notes, as they don't all show up on the summary overview page.