REVIEW: This was definitely one of the best nights the panel had in a while as they essentially scored a perfecto for the evening. In fact, the real star of the night was Phyllis. In the first game, Phyllis correctly guessed that the two high school girls from Michigan had something to do with worms. The panel was really shocked when they found out that the girls actually counted worms for a bait wholesaler. Phyllis was the big hero in the second game as she made a last second save by guessing that the lady from New York via Jamaica was an interpreter at the United Nations. In the mystery guest round, Phyllis also had a hand in the panel's identification of Hugh O'Brian when she asked if he had been to Vietnam and he replied "yes." Hugh was on the show to promote his upcoming tour with the play "Cactus Flower." He also talked about his experiences in Vietnam when he performed in "Guys and Dolls" there. That definitely brought a nice close to the penultimate edition of WML. - Sargebri (2008)
HUGH O'BRIAN: As Hugh O'Brian mentioned, he had just returned from Vietnam, performing in "Guys and Dolls" for the troops there. He said that he was in many of the places that became household names in that era and that he was truly honored to have been there. He also made an impassioned plea to the public that no matter how they felt about the war, to please support the troops. However, a few months after Hugh's appearance on the show, public opinion drastically changed with the Tet Offensive in January of 1968. - Sargebri (2008)
FAREWELL PHYLLIS!!! This was the final appearance for Phyllis Newman on the WML panel. The all-time leader in guest panelist appearances for a woman, Phyllis definitely left her cute mark on the panel with her bubbly personality. In the years after Dorothy's passing, she helped to return the panel to normalcy. However, this wasn't the end of her association with WML as she would become a frequent guest panelist on the syndicated version. As of February 2008, Phyllis is alive and well and still occasionally acts as well as sings. - Sargebri (2008)
CANCELLATION WATCH - 875 DOWN, ONE TO GO!!! During the good nights, Arlene related a joke that guest panelist Gene Rayburn had told her: "If you have any interesting occupations, don't send them in." Of course, this was the next-to-last edition of WML and, in many ways it, was the final regular edition of the show -- because on the final episode, there was only one regular game played and the rest of the time was spent reminiscing and saying goodbye. - Sargebri (2008)
FLIP REPORT: John flipped five cards, one at a time, on the first set of contestants for a series of wild guesses from Phyllis Newman as to the exact line. The product had been figured out, and in the end, all of the cards ended up going over. - agent_0042 (2008)
(1) "MEMOREX" WATCH: This, the final prerecorded episode in the history of "WML?'s" network run, is the seventh surviving show from this year of 1967, the eleventh in the 1966-1967 season, and the eighteenth since EPISODE #820 of July 3, 1966, in which announcer Johnny Olson's intro made no mention of the show's New York production origin.
(2) "WML?" PANEL WATCH: The entire panel lineup this evening is exactly the same as on the live (and sadly, lost to history) EPISODE #870 of July 23, 1967 which aired immediately after the taping of this installment. Tonight's episode was Phyllis Newman's 34th and final guest panelist appearance on the CBS "WML?" Her first appearance had been on EPISODE #650 of February 3, 1963, and all her appearances were as a panelist, never as a mystery guest. However, when the syndicated version of "WML?" began a year from tonight's show, all that changed. Over the seven years the syndicated "WML?" ran, Miss Newman made a total of four mystery guest appearances between 1968 and 1974. In addition, Phyllis did at least five sets of appearances as a guest panelist, as early as the second week of the syndicated version in 1968 and up to 1970. Also, tonight Arlene introduces second-time "WML?" guest panelist Gene Rayburn as "the most effervescent man on television." Nowhere was this more evident than on the "wild and crazy" 1970's version of "Match Game," the far more staid version of which was running at the time of this episode.
(3) MYSTERY GUEST - PART I: At the time of tonight's show, Hugh O'Brian was appearing in the play "Cactus Flower." Interestingly, Lauren Bacall, who also appeared in the same play on Broadway, had been a mystery guest on the "lost" EPISODE #870. This comedy, adapted by former "WML?" guest panelist Abe Burrows from the French play "Fleur de Cactus," was made into a movie in 1969, starring Walter Matthau, Ingrid Bergman and Goldie Hawn. The film's director, Gene Saks, was married to actress Beatrice Arthur between 1950 and 1978. Miss Arthur, who at the time of tonight's show was appearing in the Broadway musical "Mame" (and later appeared in the 1974 movie adaptation of same), went on to greater fame as "Maude Findlay" on the 1972-1978 TV series "Maude," and then as "Dorothy Petrillo Zbornak" on the 1985-1992 hit series "The Golden Girls," the latter of which also co-starred another former occasional "WML?" guest panelist, Betty White, as "Rose Nylund."
(4) MYSTERY GUEST - PART II: During the post-game chat, Gene Rayburn mentioned that he did a taped interview with Hugh O'Brian from Vietnam. This was likely a reference to an interview that aired on the 1955-1975 NBC radio weekend series "Monitor," on which Mr. Rayburn was a host at the time. Other famous figures who were involved with the program for many years included former "I've Got a Secret" panelist Henry Morgan, the comedy team of Bob & Ray (Bob Elliott and Ray Goulding), and "WML?'s" own "grande dame" Arlene Francis. There is a tribute website to this venerable radio series, the link of which can be found below:
(5) "WML?" CREW CREDITS AND CREDITS CRUNCH WATCH: As with the live EPISODE #870, David Roth is credited tonight as associate director. And GSN yet again did right by its steadfast and loyal audience by running the end credits in full screen mode on February 24, 2008.
(6) GSN's February 24, 2008 airing of tonight's next-to-last CBS "WML?" episode was followed by an edition of "I've Got a Secret," hosted by Garry Moore and with the "regular" panel of Bill Cullen, Betsy Palmer, Henry Morgan and Bess Myerson, which originally emanated "live from New York" on May 20, 1963. The celebrity guest was Morey Amsterdam. - W-B (2008)
MEANWHILE, IN THE WORLD OF RADIO: Seven hours after tonight's edition commenced airing, at 5:30 AM on August 28, 1967, WCBS (880 AM), up to this point a MOR (middle-of-the-road) station with increasingly failing ratings in competition with WNEW (1130 AM) and WHN (1050 AM), inaugurated an all-news radio format called "Newsradio 88." This format change was adopted to compete with 1010 WINS, which had been "all-news, all the time" since April 19, 1965. However, at the time of the switch, the "Newsradio 88" format was initially in effect from 5:30 AM to 8:00 PM, expanding up to 11:30 PM in early 1968 ("Music 'Til Dawn," an overnight music show sponsored by American Airlines, ran from 11:30 PM to 5:30 AM up to January 1970). The new format also premiered on the FM station (101.1), as several hours before, a helicopter crashed into the High Island transmitter where WCBS and WNBC (660 AM) shared facilities. In the early years, among the news reporters and anchors included such future broadcasting legends as Ed Bradley, Charles Osgood and former football great turned sportscaster Pat Summerall. In its early years, the "Newsradio 88" format was severely hampered by several CBS network commitments including Art Linkletter's show and the long-running "Arthur Godfrey Time," as well as the overnight "Music 'Til Dawn." WCBS largely moved more towards a total all-news format after "Music 'Til Dawn" ended in January 1970, and finally achieved that goal after "Arthur Godfrey Time" came to an end on April 30, 1972, exactly 27 years to the day after its 1945 debut. For the rest of the 1970's, WCBS had a decisive ratings lead over 1010 WINS. Even today, years after its heyday, WCBS remains one of the top all-news stations in the United States, leading in suburban areas while WINS leads in the city. - W-B (2008)
During the end credits, Johnny Olson announced that this episode was prerecorded. From Gil Fates' logs, we know this episode was taped on July 23, 1967. - Suzanne (2004)
Tonight's opening billboard sponser is Bayer Aspirin, and the ending billboard sponsor is Prell Shampoo. - Garrison Skunk (2004)
This is Gene Rayburn's second of two WML appearances as a guest panelist. Unfortunately, his first appearance as a guest panelist, which aired on July 23, 1967, is on an episode which is lost to history. His first-ever WML appearance was as a mystery guest on July 16, 1967. - Kirk Morgan (2004)
875 DOWN AND 1 TO GO!!! - This definitely would have made a good final episode. However, it is the next-to-last episode, and what a way for Phyllis, or as Gene referred to her, "Miss Miniskirt of 1967," to go out, on a blaze of glory! She probably wore the shortest skirt or dress ever worn by a female member of the panel. She looked good in it, too! Bennett even made a pun about it being a "discotheque" dress, because it was covered with those thin plastic "disks" that used to be sewn on 1960s apparel. Bennett had told his dress pun backstage, and John relayed the story on stage. Even though Miss Miniskirt didn't guess that the two young girls were worm counters, she did manage to guess that they had something to do with worms. She also made the last-second "save" when she correctly guessed that the second contestant was an interpreter for the United Nations. She then topped off her evening by blowing the door wide open, which enabled Gene to correctly guess that the mystery guest was Hugh O'Brian. Hugh not only was on the show to promote his upcoming tour with the play "The Cactus Flower," he also took time to talk about his second trip to Vietnam, where he performed in "Guys and Dolls" for the troops. He mentioned that he was a former Marine, and asked the audience to support our men in Vietnam. Of course, this was when the majority of America was still in favor of the U.S. being in Vietnam, But, the tide was starting to turn, and that turning tide was escalated by the Tet Offensive in January 1968. This was Gene Rayburn's second appearance on the panel, but it is the only one we'll ever see, since his first appearance is lost to history. At this time in 1967, he was still hosting the original 1962 version of "The Match Game," which was airing on NBC. That version would stay on the air until September 20, 1969. Four years later in 1973, Gene would host a new and far more double entendre laden version of the show. It featured among its panelists: Brett Somers, Richard Dawson and former WML guest panelist Charles Nelson Reilly. Also, in the interim, he would work on the panels for the syndicated revivals of WML and "To Tell the Truth." This was definitely a fun evening, considering the circumstances of WML's rapidly approaching end. - Sargebri (2004)
What was Gene Rayburn thinking? Actually making his initial "What's My Line?" appearances on a show that had already been cancelled and was soon to end? A show he would probably have never done again? Well, turns out old Geno was crazy like a fox. Within a year of his three CBS WML appearances, "What's My Line?" would be back with a new set, a new host, new studio home at NBC in New York and a new five-day-a-week format. And it turns out that Gene Rayburn, no stranger to the rigors of panel shows, would prove to be an exceptional panelist on not only the color run of WML, but also on the color version of "To Tell the Truth." On the syndicated WML, only Soupy Sales surpasses Gene in overall excellence. But, the most remarkable thing about his appearance tonight is that he got a chance to display his devilish humor. During the goodbyes, Arlene was laughing, and explained that Gene had said something funny! She said that Gene had said to her, "If you have an interesting job, don't call us!" Gene then tacked on the ending himself, "Start your own show!" Yes, he was jokingly saying that there's no need to mail in those cards, because we're going out of business! - Robair (Robert Mackey) (2004)
CANCELLATION WATCH - This is the next-to-last episode. Bennett was very sentimental! During the goodbyes he said, "Well, next week's the last, John. And I'm gonna miss you! G'night." John replied, "We'll get together, anyway. We'll have an alumni association." - Suzanne (2004)
This is Phyllis Newman's final WML appearance. She has been a guest panelist 34 times since February 3, 1963, but has never been a mystery guest. She has been a cheery and welcome addition to the panel. - Suzanne (2004)
Tidbits: Mystery solved, of sorts. Phyllis again appears with longer hair. Thus, in her two previous shows with short hair, she was evidently wearing a short-hair wig. This episode was taped on July 23, 1967, and the "short-hairdo episodes" (#868 & #871) were both performed on July 9, 1967. (One was aired live and the other was taped.) - Suzanne (2004)
Panel: Arlene Francis, Gene Rayburn, Phyllis Newman, Bennett Cerf.
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