What's My Line?

Season 18 Episode 53


Aired Sunday 10:30 PM Sep 03, 1967 on CBS



  • Trivia

  • Quotes

    • Steve: Oh, dear, I thought it was Goodson and Todman. Or Donder and Blitzen, somebody like that. Now I'm at a loss.

    • John: We'll be back with our (giggles) final mystery guest (giggles) in just a moment.

    • John: (introducing a video clip of Bennett) Now famous for his long, complicated and punny introductions, watch how he did the first time out.

    • Bennett: (regarding the "Mystery Guest") I smell eight rats.

    • (Shortly after the introductions, John Daly salutes the hippies he had seen while on a visit to San Francisco during this 1967 "Summer of Love.")
      John: Bennett, did you hear about the two hippies who were married in the bathtub?
      Bennett: No, I didn't.
      John: It was a double ring ceremony.
      Little did either man know that the following year, the new syndicated What's My Line? would feature mystery guest Sam Levenson commenting on the hippies. In later syndie years such as 1970 and 1971, viewers saw "hippie" mystery guests Buffy Sainte Marie, Frank Zappa and Cass Elliot. Far out.

  • Notes

    • CANCELLATION WATCH - 876 DOWN, NONE TO GO!!! Tonight was the one episode that longtime fans thought never would come; the end of "What's My Line?" As Johnny Olson made that announcement, it was almost a sad occasion. However, the panel seemed to be happy as they walked to their respective spots on the stage. Also, because of the special nature of the evening, there was only one regular game and an unusual mystery guest round with a very surprising mystery guest. After the introductions, John called three very special guests to the stage; Patricia "Pat" Finch, Dr. Seymour Kolodny and Arthur Feinberg. The panel was then asked to guess what the three contestants were up to now by doing something that they hadn't done in a while, the wild guess. First up was Arthur Feinberg and it was Steve and Bennett who correctly guessed that he worked for a diaper service. In fact, Mr. Feinberg was still working for the diaper service that he was employed by when he first appeared on the show. However, he was now a high-ranking executive with the company. Next up, the panel had to guess what Dr. Kolodny was up to. Only Steve correctly guessed that Dr. Kolodny was still working as a veterinarian. Up last was Pat Finch, but none of the panel guessed what her occupation was at the present time. Pat, who was the inaugural contestant on WML all those years ago, had been working as a hat check girl at the time of her 1950 appearance on the show. She changed her occupation by finally becoming a working actress on both the Broadway stage and in television commercials. However, the biggest change for her was taking on the job of mom to a now five year old son. Next up, a television monitor was rolled onto the stage and various WML highlights were played on the screen, including the first appearances on the panel for Bennett, Steve and Martin as well as a classic clip of Arlene. John then paid the highest tribute to Arlene by saying that she had gotten more beautiful every year. In the only regular game of the evening, the panel never realized the rib that was being played on them when they failed to guess that the gentleman from New York worked for the Unemployment Bureau; not that any of them needed his services. In the mystery guest round, the panel really got ribbed when the mystery guest was none other than John Charles Patrick Croghan Daly himself. However, Bennett smelled a rat, or rather, eight of them, as soon as John opened his big mouth. After a couple of minutes, Bennett finally made the identification. It was at that point that John revealed after all those years that he himself was the stand-by mystery guest in case the scheduled guest didn't show up. John finally called out the show's producers, Mark Goodson and Bill Todman, to finally ring down 17 glorious years of "What's My Line?" The pair talked about all the changes that happened during the show's run and they said that it would be strange to not have the show on after that night. They then showed the class that the show was built on by bringing out Johnny Olson, and after that, it was over. "What's My Line?" - the longest running game show in prime time history - was no more. This truly was the end of the line. - Sargebri (2008)

      FRED AND DOLLY MAE!!! After showing the highlight package, John mentioned the late Fred Allen and Dorothy Kilgallen. Unfortunately, there were no clips of either of them shown during the highlights. Perhaps it was done this way to help keep the mood lively rather than bring it down by showing clips of the two late panelists. But, if you listen closely to the clip of Steve's first appearance, you can hear Dorothy's voice in the background. - Sargebri (2008)

      PAT FINCH!!! Tonight marked the third, and final, appearance for Pat Finch on the show. Pat was the very first contestant on WML and she returned five years after that to appear on the show's fifth anniversary telecast. At the time of her second appearance, she had quit her job as a hat check girl and had become a chorus girl on Broadway. - Sargebri (2008)

    • MARK GOODSON AND BILL TODMAN: Prolific producers Goodson and Todman took the stage for the final episode of the show. Previously, over the years, Mark Goodson and Bill Todman had appeared together as mystery guests on a few occasions. Mark Goodson had also appeared as a guest panelist on a few occasions, but Bill Todman never made an appearance as a panelist. - agent_0042 (2008)

      FLIP REPORT: John flipped all the cards for the only regular contestant of the night at seven down. - agent_0042 (2008)

    • (1) "WML?" SPONSOR WATCH: The opening sponsor for this 876th and last episode of "WML?" is Prell shampoo, and the closing sponsor is Polident denture cleanser tablets.
      (2) "LIVE" WATCH: Tonight's show is the 52nd and last surviving episode from the "post-Kilgallen" era where the opening words of announcer Johnny Olson's intro led off with, "And now, live from New York..." with no cuts to the intro.
      (3a) "WML?" PANEL WATCH: Tonight, "the distinguished actor and producer," Mr. Martin Gabel, is introduced first, for only the second time since Dorothy Kilgallen's passing. The last time he sat on the far end of the panel was EPISODE #804 of February 20, 1966. While none of tonight's panel lineup were on the very first EPISODE #1 of February 2, 1950, the show effectively came full circle nonetheless this evening, as the same exact panel order was in place as on that very first show: male, female, male, male. This was the last time Mr. Gabel ever appeared on the "WML?" panel. Of his 112 guest panelist appearances (a figure confirmed in the intros by announcer Johnny Olson), the vast majority -- 99 of them -- were from within Dolly Mae's lifetime; his panel appearances dwindled in quantity following Miss Kilgallen's death, especially when compared with the second most prolific male guest panelist, Tony Randall (see the notes to EPISODE #873 of August 13, 1967). Martin would appear on the subsequent syndicated version only once, as a mystery guest, during Week #253 which was taped on September 26, 1974. On the other hand, his and Arlene's son, Peter Gabel, did make an appearance on the syndie panel during Week #5 which was taped on August 6, 1968. Peter also was a syndicated version mystery guest during Week #66 which was taped on December 31, 1969, and again during Week #228 which was taped on December 27, 1973.
      (3b) "WML?" PANEL WATCH: Coincidentally, the panel lineup for tonight's show also comprised the panel of EPISODE #797 of January 2, 1966. Over the long history of "WML?," these are the only two episodes with this specific configuration of panelists: Martin Gabel, Arlene Francis, Steve Allen, Bennett Cerf. However, on these two episodes, the panelists were not situated in the exact same seating order.
      (4a) THE OTHER "SWAN SONG" PANELISTS: A year from tonight's show, Steve Allen began a second daytime talk show, this one lasting from 1968 to 1971 and syndicated by Filmways Television whose most famous programs included "Mister Ed," "The Beverly Hillbillies," "Petticoat Junction," "The Addams Family" and "Green Acres." In New York, two different stations are known to have aired this incarnation of "The Steve Allen Show": WOR-TV (Channel 9) and WPIX (Channel 11). Mr. Allen's prior talk show of the same name, which ran from 1962 until 1964 when he assumed the hosting duties of "I've Got a Secret," was syndicated by Westinghouse Broadcasting (Group W). Steverino only made two sets of appearances on the 1968-1975 syndicated version of "WML?," both during Larry Blyden's run as host: as a mystery guest during Week #192 which was taped on March 22, 1973, on which the panel consisted of Soupy Sales, Meredith MacRae, Bert Convy and Arlene Francis; and during Week #252 which was taped on September 19, 1974, he and his lovely wife Jayne Meadows were guest panelists alongside Mr. Sales and Miss Francis. That week, one of the mystery guests was the most prolific female guest panelist of the CBS "WML?" era, Phyllis Newman.
      (4b) PANELIST BENNETT CERF: As for Bennett Cerf, while he never made any mystery guest appearances during "WML?'s" 17.5-year CBS run, it was a different story on the syndicated version. He appeared as a mystery guest on only its second week on the air, in an episode taped on July 16, 1968. The panel on that occasion consisted of Phyllis Newman, Darryl Hickman, Gawn Granger and Arlene Francis. Mr. Cerf appeared as an occasional panelist on the syndicated version for a total of at least eight weeks within the second and third seasons, up to a few months before his death on August 27, 1971 at age 73. On the occasions where Bennett sat in his old "anchor" position (whenever Arlene Francis was off), he usually introduced the first syndicated host, Wally Bruner, as the "emcee," as opposed to the "panel moderator" description for John Daly. When Arlene was on the panel, Bennett was usually in the seat next to her.
      (4c) PANELIST ARLENE FRANCIS: While Arlene Francis remained a part of the panel of the "new and improved" "WML?" for all of its seven years in daily syndication, she was never a mystery guest in any of its incarnations.
      (5) THE FINAL "SIGN IN" VARIATION: In introducing himself as the very last mystery guest, John gives the following instruction: "Will you come out, mystery challenger, and sign in, please?" This variation was used very fairly early in the show's run, most notably on EPISODE #212 of June 20, 1954 during the first of two mystery guest appearances by singer/actress Doris Day. Some time thereafter, Mr. Daly had modified the wording to "Will you come in and sign in, please?"; and that, in turn, gave way beginning in about October 1960 to the far more polished "Will you enter and sign in, please?"
      (6) "THAT MAKES IT 876 DOWN AND 1,315 TO GO": While the curtain rang down on the "classic CBS" version of "WML?" with tonight's show, this was not the end yet. Only a year from now, a new version was mounted in a daily syndicated form, with Wally Bruner hosting from 1968 to 1972 and Larry Blyden as host from 1972 to its 1975 cancellation. (Incidentally, Mr. Blyden was a mystery guest on its ninth week in syndication in 1968 and again on Week #100 which was taped on October 22, 1970; as well as serving as a guest panelist during Week #95 which was taped on September 17, 1970, on which he sat alongside Soupy Sales, Joanna Barnes and Arlene Francis. Conversely, after Mr. Blyden assumed hosting duties, Mr. Bruner appeared as a mystery guest during Week #201 which was recorded on June 21, 1973; the panel that week consisted of Jack Cassidy, Anita Gillette, Bert Convy and Arlene Francis, and Mr. Bruner was on to promote his "Wally's Workshop" syndicated series.) In its first season, no copyright date was mentioned, but in the second and third seasons, the copyright holder was given as the Columbia Broadcasting System, Inc. From 1968 to 1971, the syndicator of record was CBS Films. After CBS was ordered in 1971 to divest of its syndicated division, which was spun off as a stand-alone company called Viacom, the syndicated "WML?" was among the first titles to be offered by the new company. The copyright holder was then changed to "Goodson-Todman Associates, Ltd.," which was also listed as the copyright holder on syndicated episodes of "To Tell the Truth." For the syndicated "WML?'s" first three seasons (1968-1971) at the Ed Sullivan Theatre, Norelco PC-60 cameras (possibly replaced during this stretch by PC-70's) were used; then, after the show moved to NBC studios at Rockefeller Center in 1971 (where it would remain for the balance of its run), the cameras used were RCA TK-44A's. Alas, a few of the TK-44A cameras used on the program had blacks that came out a bit reddish on the air. One of the studios at "30 Rock" where the syndicated "WML?" originated later became the home, from 1975 to the present day, of NBC's "Saturday Night Live."
      (7) THE SYNDICATED "WML?'S" AIRING TIMELINE IN NEW YORK CITY: Throughout its run on the air, the syndicated version of "WML?" had a presence in the New York City market, although it wasn't always constant. The first station to air the new version was WOR-TV (Channel 9, now WWOR-TV), which ran the show from its September 9, 1968 debut until July 28, 1972. In a way, the station's airing made some sense, as permanent regular panelist Arlene Francis hosted a radio show on its sister radio station (WOR 710 AM) from 1960 until 1984. Alas, the new "WML?" was bumped up and down on the schedule (ranging from 11:30 AM to 11:00 PM and slots in-between) during its nearly four years on WOR-TV, including airing in time slots which were frequently preempted for New York Mets baseball games and a few other sporting events such as basketball or hockey, and by the spring of 1972 some weeks being shown were from its second (1969-1970) season. There were a few other stretches in that four-year period when Channel 9 didn't show "WML?" at all. After Wally Bruner left "WML?" and was replaced as host by Larry Blyden, the syndicated "WML?" moved from WOR to WCBS-TV (Channel 2), which ran the show beginning on September 18, 1972. This was a homecoming of sorts, as WCBS-TV ran the original 1950-1967 network version as the New York flagship of the CBS network. The show aired weekdays at 1:00 PM through October 4, 1974, then moved to 9:30 AM for a two-week stretch until October 18, 1974. Between October 1974 and June 1975, WCBS-TV aired the syndicated "WML?" on a very infrequent basis, usually on Saturdays at 6:00 PM or Sundays at 5:30 PM, on days when CBS's sports programs didn't fill the entire afternoon. The syndicated "WML?" then returned to weekday status on Channel 2 on June 2, 1975 (airing at 9:00 AM), following another change in the daytime schedule, and remained there until 1976 -- one year after Mr. Blyden's death. The syndicated "WML?" also aired on two other stations in the tri-state (New York/New Jersey/Connecticut) region: WNHC-TV (Channel 8, which changed its call letters to the current WTNH-TV in 1971) in New Haven-Hartford, Connecticut; and WSNL-TV (Channel 67) in Patchogue/Smithtown, New York.
      (8) NAME CHANGE FOR THE FINAL CBS "WML?" STUDIO: On December 10, 1967, CBS Studio 50, the final home of the CBS network version of "WML?," was officially renamed The Ed Sullivan Theatre in a ceremony presided over by New York City Mayor John V. Lindsay and telecast on that night's edition of "The Ed Sullivan Show." The theatre remained in CBS hands until a few years after Mr. Sullivan's long-running Sunday night institution was cancelled by the network in 1971. Among the shows produced there included the syndicated versions of "WML?" and "TTTT," as well as "The $10,000 Pyramid" for its original 1973-1974 CBS run. For several years thereafter, the theatre was owned by Reeves Teletape which also owned the former CBS Studio 72 at Broadway and West 81st Street (from which the experimental color EPISODE #225 of September 19, 1954 had been telecast). During that company's aegis, the most famous program to emanate from The Ed Sullivan Theatre was the 1984-1989 CBS sitcom "Kate & Allie" which starred Susan Saint James (formerly of "The Name of the Game" and "McMillan & Wife") as "Kate McArdle" and Jane Curtin (formerly of "Saturday Night Live" and later to co-star in "3rd Rock from the Sun") as "Allie Lowell." In the early 1990's, CBS repurchased and refurbished the theatre for the "Late Show with David Letterman," which premiered on August 30, 1993 and has remained a late-night staple on CBS to this day (as of this writing in February 2008).
      (9) "WML?" CREW CREDITS AND CREDITS CRUNCH WATCH: Time ran so short after the final goodbyes that only the ending "WML?" slide card graphic and the closing sponsor were shown on this 876th and last CBS episode. On the plus side, however, GSN ran these ending moments in full screen, to the ultimate delight of the show's viewers, at the most recent airing on February 25, 2008.
      (10) Right after the February 25, 2008 airing of this final CBS "WML?" episode, GSN ran an edition of "I've Got a Secret," hosted by Garry Moore, which originated "live from New York" on May 27, 1963. The regular panel of Bill Cullen, Betsy Palmer, Henry Morgan and Bess Myerson was still in place, and the celebrity guest was Joan Crawford. - W-B (2006, updated 2008 + 2009)

    • 1967 N. Y. TIMES NEWSPAPER ARTICLE - What's My Line? Signs Off After 17 Years on TV - New York Times - September 4, 1967.


      Suzanne (2004)


      1967 TV GUIDE ARTICLE - Read an article from TV Guide Magazine, June 17, 1967, regarding the cancellation of What's My Line? - "End of the Line: Why the Granddaddy of the TV Game Shows Is Finally Finished" by Richard K. Doan - END OF THE LINE


      Suzanne (2004)


      For the fourth airing, the episodes took longer than usual to cycle through their full rotation because GSN switched from daily airings to weekly airings between the dates of October 2, 2006 and January 1, 2008, when they once again resumed daily airings. - Suzanne (updated 2008)

      1) Aired on December 31, 1999 as part of GSN's "Y-2-PLAY" marathon of final episodes of game shows.
      2) Aired on July 1, 2002, in regular rotation.
      3) Aired on September 25, 2004, in regular rotation.
      4) Aired on February 25, 2008, in regular rotation.

    • PANEL OBSERVATION - None of the people who are on the panel for tonight's final show were on the panel the night the show premiered on February 2, 1950. Arlene didn't make her debut until two weeks later, on the second show. Ironically, Dorothy wasn't on the panel that night in 1950. - Sargebri (2004)

    • MOST FREQUENT MYSTERY GUESTS - Lucille Ball holds the top honors with 6 mystery guest appearances on the classic WML. From February 21, 1954 to July 25, 1965, 20 performers appeared as mystery guests 5 times each. They are: Phil Silvers, Hedda Hopper, Bob Hope, Victor Borge, McGuire Sisters, Bob Cummings, Steve Allen, Jayne Meadows, Milton Berle, Ginger Rogers, Gordon MacRae, Bette Davis, Edward G. Robinson, Buddy Hackett, Mickey Rooney, Carol Channing, Jerry Lewis, Joan Crawford, James Mason and Shelley Winters. - cpdelta (2004)

    • LIFE AROUND "LINE" - As Mark Goodson mentioned, during the time the show was on the air, a lot of important, fun and sad events occurred. Here is a small sample. - Sargebri (2004)

      • The United States' involvement in the Korean war (1950)
      • Elizabeth Taylor's first of eight marriages (1950)
      • Mickey Mantle's first home run (1951)
      • The birth of rock and roll (1954)
      • Jonas Salk creates the polio vaccine (1955)
      • Future computer guru Bill Gates is born (1955)
      • The Suez Crisis (1956)
      • The Soviet Invasion of Hungary (1956)
      • The arrival of Elvis Presley (1956)
      • The birth of the American Football League (1960)
      • Man conquers outer space (1961)
      • The Boston Strangler begins his reign of terror (1962)
      • The Cuban Missile Crisis (1962)
      • The assassination of President Kennedy (1963)
      • The March on Washington featuring Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech (1963)
      • The emergence of the Beatles (1964)
      • The United States' involvement in the Vietnam war (1964)
      • The Watts Riots in Los Angeles, CA (1965)
      • The Monterey Pop festival (1967)
      • The release of "Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" (1967)

      Mark also mentioned that the popular London fashion model Twiggy was only six months old at the time of the show's February 2, 1950 debut. Here are the ages of some other famous individuals at the time of WML's debut.

      • John Belushi (1 year old)
      • John Ritter (1 year old)
      • George W. Bush (3 years old)
      • Bill Clinton (3 years old)
      • Mia Farrow (4 years old)
      • Diana Ross (5 years old)
      • Mick Jagger (6 years old)
      • Barbara Streisand (7 years old)
      • Paul McCartney (7 years old)
      • Janis Joplin (7 years old)
      • John Lennon (9 years old)

    • LIFE AFTER "LINE" - Even though everyone thinks first of the most frequent panelists, Arlene, Martin, Bennett and Dorothy, here is a brief look at what some of the more popular guest panelists did after the show went off the air. - Sargebri (2004)

      The Guys:

      • Tony Randall - The second most prolific guest panelist in the history of WML, with 63 panel appearances and 3 mystery guest appearances. He was a great game player and always had fun, even when he got his usual "no" answers. Three years after the show's cancellation, Tony would take on the role that he would become the most identified with, neat freak "Felix Unger" on the classic 1970s sitcom "The Odd Couple." Tony would also become a frequent guest on "The Late Show with David Letterman," and would continue to act and appear in various Broadway productions until his death in 2004.

      • Robert Q. Lewis - With 42 panel appearances and 1 mystery guest appearance, RQL was the third most prolific guest panelist in the history of WML. He was an excellent serious game player, with the majority of his appearances occurring in the 1950s. Having started out as a child actor, his acting career continued until his 1991 death.

      • Joey Bishop - With 22 panel appearances, 3 mystery guest appearances and one cameo appearance, Joey brought a lot of fun to the panel. His low-key, deadpan humor made him very popular. He would continue to appear on various television series and game shows throughout the 1970s and 1980s. He holds the record for most guest-hosting performances on "The Tonight Show," with 177 appearances. He also is the last surviving member of the "Rat Pack" and as of 2004 is currently is living in semi-retirement in Los Angeles.

      • Buddy Hackett - With 15 panel appearances and 5 mystery guest appearances, Buddy also added a lot of fun. His crazy persona would make him one of the more popular guests to ever grace the panel. He would continue to act and perform his stand-up comedy routine until his death in 2003. His last appearance would be on the reality show "Last Comic Standing" as one of the talent scouts.

      • Ernie Kovacs - With 10 panel appearances and 2 mystery guest appearances, Ernie remains a favorite panelist of the 1950s. His zany humor was ground-breaking for its time. He married Edie Adams in 1954. His acting career continued until his 1962 auto accident death. The epitaph on his tombstone reads "Nothing In Moderation."

      The Gals:

      • Phyllis Newman - The most prolific of all the female guest panelists, with 34 panel appearances and unfortunately no mystery guest appearances. She emerged at a crucial time in the show's history when she began appearing after Dorothy's death. She not only was one of the smartest panelists to ever grace the show, she also brought a youthful enthusiasm that was missing from the show. She made history a few years after WML went off the air when she became the first woman to guest host "The Tonight Show." She also is a breast cancer survivor and she continues to act and sing to this day in 2004, and most recently appeared in the 2003 film "The Human Stain." She also began a second career as a make-up artist. She was married to former WML guest panelist and mystery guest Adolph Green until his death in 2002. They have two children, Amanda Green and Adam Green.

      • Aileen Mehle (aka Suzy Knickerbocker) - With 10 panel appearances and 1 mystery guest appearance, Suzy made the biggest splash when she debuted on the panel in January 1966. She was a very intelligent panelist who asked good questions. Along with Phyllis, she was among the top candidates to replace Dorothy after Dorothy's untimely death. As of 2004, Suzy continues to write and make her rounds in the New York social scene. After the closing of the "New York Journal-American" and the "New York World Journal Tribune," she would go on to write for such periodicals as "Women's Wear Daily" and "W Magazine."

    • THIS IS THE END!!! Tonight was the night that many people were waiting for when the cancellation announcement was made back in February of 1967. But even though it was a sad occasion, it probably came as a big relief of sorts, and it was also a night of celebration. As usual, the panel was introduced and took their seats. Interestingly, the alignment was the same as it was on the first telecast in 1950, with three male panelists and only one female panelist. It was also fitting that Martin was on the show, since he held the record for the most appearances by a guest panelist. Martin, too, was "family." It was a very nice touch for them to bring out the first contestants to ever have appeared on WML. Pat Finch seemed to have been the busiest during the past 17 years. Besides starting her acting career, she also made a second appearance on the show when it was celebrating its 5th anniversary, and she also became a mother. When they played the old kinescopes for the panel, it was funny to see how the panel looked in some of their earliest appearances on the show. It was a shock to see how much heavier Martin looked before his 1964 weight loss, and it was amusing to see Bennett and John with full heads of hair. However, as John pointed out, Arlene was the one who really aged gracefully. It also was amusing to see the unemployment counselor come out as part of the jokes for the evening. Of course, Bennett, Arlene and John all had careers outside of WML. The most touching moment, as well as the most amusing moment, came when John went behind the curtain and came back out and signed in as the mystery guest. That really helped make the evening fun. The saddest moment came when the producers, Mark Goodson and Bill Todman, as well as the show's announcer, Johnny Olson, stepped out to bring down the curtain on 17 glorious years of quality television. As it turned out, this would not quite be the end for the show. After a year off the air, WML would return, but not on network television. It would be seen five days a week in syndication, from 1968 to 1975, with a new set and host. The only links to the original show would be Arlene Francis and announcer Johnny Olson. The new host would be Wally Bruner, who would host the show from 1968 to 1972. The announcer, Johnny Olson, also left with Wally Bruner in 1972. After Bruner's 1972 departure to start his own series, "Wally's Workshop," his place would be taken by former guest panelist Larry Blyden, who would host the show until his untimely death in 1975. Bennett would pop in as a guest panelist from time to time until his death in 1971. Another frequent guest panelist as well as mystery guest, Soupy Sales, would join Arlene on the syndicated panel where he would stay until the show went off the air. Other former WML guest panelists who would appear on the syndicated version would include Phyllis Newman, Gene Rayburn and Anita Gillette. Also, the show would have its share of famous guests as well. In fact, two guests that appeared on the syndicated version would later become presidents of the United States, Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter. However, this version will always come in second to the one that helped make Sunday nights one of the best nights for television viewing. - Sargebri (2004)

    • JOHN'S NEXT STOP, VOICE OF AMERICA - After What's My Line? ended, John Charles Daly began a very brief broadcasting career with the Voice of America. He was employed by them from September 1967 to June 1968. The Voice of America (VOA) was established in 1942 and is an international broadcasting service funded by the U.S. government. Under United States law, then and now, the Voice of America is forbidden to broadcast directly to American citizens. This is necessary, in order to prevent the government from having a direct mouthpiece to the public. However, VOA can still be heard in America over shortwave and the internet. - Suzanne (2004)

    • PANEL STATS from cpdelta - (2004):

      Breakdown of the 3504 total panel appearances over 17.5 years. Includes repeat appearances.

      Total Number of Panel Appearances:

      876 episodes x 4 panelists = 3504 panel appearances

      This figure does not contain partial appearances, such as times when a panelist played one game for the evening. For instance, when Steve Allen joined the panel for one game only after his mystery guest appearance on EPISODE #187. - Suzanne (2008)

      This figure also does not contain the special September 17, 1953 "Community Chest" program. - Suzanne (2008)


      REVISED (ACTUAL COUNT) PANEL STATS from cerfnet and Suzanne - (2008):

      1) The Regulars = 2664 panel appearances as follows:

      Arlene Francis = 830 panel appearances
      Bennett Cerf = 755 panel appearances
      Dorothy Kilgallen = 733 panel appearances
      Hal Block = 124 panel appearances
      Steve Allen = 118 panel appearances
      Fred Allen = 62 panel appearances
      Louis Untermeyer = 37 panel appearances
      Richard Hoffmann, MD = 3 panel appearances
      Harold G. Hoffman = 2 panel appearances

      2) Frequent Guest Panelists = 349 panel appearances as follows:

      Martin Gabel = 112 panel appearances
      Tony Randall = 63 panel appearances
      Robert Q. Lewis = 42 panel appearances
      Phyllis Newman = 34 panel appearances
      Joey Bishop = 22 panel appearances
      Buddy Hackett = 15 panel appearances
      Steve Lawrence = 12 panel appearances
      Ernie Kovacs = 10 panel appearances
      Eamonn Andrews = 10 panel appearances
      Jayne Meadows = 10 panel appearances
      Aileen Mehle as Suzy Knickerbocker = 10 panel appearances
      Sue Oakland = 9 panel appearances

      3) All Other Guest Panelists = 491 panel appearances



      The Regulars = 2664
      Frequent Guest Panelists = 349
      Other Guest Panelists = 491
      Total = 3504

    • THE SYNDICATED VERSION OF WML - After this 1950 to 1967 primetime series ended, WML was revived in 1968 and went into syndication, distributed to local stations by the newly-formed CBS-spinoff, Viacom Enterprises. It first aired on September 9, 1968, and was in production until September 1975. In total, 1,315 syndicated shows were produced. It was broadcast during the daytime, Monday to Friday, five episodes a week. In addition, the five weekly episodes were all taped on one day. Slightly different from the classic WML, it would have a new format, blending in entertainment segments similar to those seen on "I've Got a Secret." It featured two hosts, Wally Bruner (9/1968 - 9/1972) and Larry Blyden (9/1972 - 9/1975). If you count the total classic shows, plus the syndicated shows, you end up with a combined total of 2,191 episodes of What's My Line?! - Suzanne (2004)

    • FINAL MYSTERY GUEST JOHN DALY - The final mystery guest was host John Daly himself. John signed in and took his seat. John alternated between a falsetto "guest" voice and his standard moderator voice, fooling the panel for a number of questions. He fliped the cards over all the way down to "6 down and 4 to go." Finally, Bennett Cerf asked, "Could Mr. Daly possibly be impersonating himself?" Bennett pegged him! John explains that the gimmick of using him as the mystery guest had been devised years earlier as backup plan in case the scheduled mystery guest didn't show up. He said that despite a few close calls, this never happened, so the producers decided to use this stunning trick for the final episode. - Suzanne (2004)

    • PAT FINCH - Patricia Finch makes her third and final appearance on WML over a 17.5 year span. She was a guest on the very first show, EPISODE #1 on February 2, 1950. Next, she was a contestant on the 5th anniversary show, EPISODE #244 on February 6, 1955. Finally, she makes her last appearance on this final show. Over the years, her occupation has changed from "Hat Check Girl" to "Broadway Performer." She also mentions on this episode that she now has a five year old son, Kenneth. To see Pat's list of Broadway performances, see the web site below. - Suzanne (2004)


    • WHERE WAS PHIL RIZZUTO? - It would have been nice if the very first mystery guest on EPISODE #1, Phil Rizzuto, had also appeared on this episode. It is possible that he may have been invited, but was unable to take part. His last appearance was as a guest panelist on EPISODE #373 of July 28, 1957. Overall, he made a total of 4 "WML?" appearances from 1950 to 1957. Sports writer Bill Savage tells me: Phil Rizzuto was broadcasting for the N.Y. Yankees in 1967, along with Joe Garagiola, another "WML?" alumnus, but that doesn't seem to be why he wasn't on the show. The Yankees played at home that day, Yankee Stadium, and the game only lasted 2 hours and 20 minutes. The score? Washington Senators 6, New York Yankees 3. - Suzanne (2004)

      PHIL RIZZUTO RETURNS FOR THE SYNDICATED VERSION: Although Phil Rizzuto was not on tonight's network series finale, he would appear on "WML?" again - in the course of its 1968-1975 color syndicated incarnation. Mr. Rizzuto's appearance on the syndicated version, in which he was once again the mystery guest, was taped on February 5, 1970, which was exactly twenty years and three days after his mystery guest appearance on the premiere "WML?" EPISODE #1 of February 2, 1950. The host at the time of the 1970 show was Wally Bruner, the panel on that occasion had consisted of Soupy Sales, Sheila MacRae, Bert Convy and Arlene Francis, and Gene Wood was filling in for then-announcer Johnny Olson. The 1970 episode was aired by GSN on August 2, 2006 as part of a month-long commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the Baseball Hall of Fame. - W-B (2006)

    • THANKS FOR THE MEMORIES - Appearing are the first three contestants on the first episode of February 2, 1950. Next, early clips are shown of each panelist. We see a clip of a hesitant Steve Allen on his first show, and a remarkably sharp Arlene Francis. Arlene once wrote that she was very involved in the development of WML with Goodson and Todman. Next, an unemployment claims clerk comes on and plays a game. After that, John Charles Daly himself signs in as the mystery guest. Arlene is absolutely convinced it's Mark and Bill, but Bennett "smells eight rats" and senses foolishness afoot. Bennett wisely lets the questioning cycle once more before nailing John. Finally, Mark Goodson and Bill Todman, proud to have been a part of the longest running primetime game show ever, join the panel to say goodbye. - Robair (Robert Mackey 2004)

    • THE REPLACEMENT SHOW - The hour-long CBS 10:00 PM to 11:00 PM Sunday night time slot that "What's My Line?" and the also-cancelled "Candid Camera" had occupied was next replaced by "Mission: Impossible," which had debuted a year earlier in 1966 on Saturdays. "Mission: Impossible" aired until 1973. - Kirk Morgan (2004)

    • FINAL AND LAST PRIMETIME EPISODE - Broadcast live from CBS Studio 50, later named the Ed Sullivan Theater. In addition to regular panelists Arlene Francis and Bennett Cerf, Arlene's husband Martin Gabel (who was a guest on the show 114 times, twice as a mystery guest and 112 times as a guest panelist) and one-time regular (and many-times guest panelist) Steve Allen comprised the final panel. John Daly was the final mystery guest, doing his best to stump the panel, but laughing hard along the way. He explained that he was always a backup mystery guest in the 17 and one-half years they were on the air, in case a guest never made it on time. The first 3 occupational guests from the very first broadcast (February 2, 1950) were on this last episode. The "joke" guest was a man from the New York Unemployment office. At the end, series producers Mark Goodson and Bill Todman took the stage, and John Daly invited announcer Johnny Olson to join them. This was a very funny and sentimental episode for fans of this show. - Suzanne (2004)

    • Panel: Martin Gabel, Arlene Francis, Steve Allen, Bennett Cerf.

  • Allusions

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

      The notes appear "backwards" because their posting order was automatically reversed when they were moved from TV Tome to TV.com in June 2005.