Regular Panelist (1950-1967)
Regular Panelist (1951-1967)
Regular Panelist (1950-1965)
Regular Panelist (1950-1953)
Arlene: (regarding Winifred Brodie) Judging by her handwriting, I think she would specialize in writing the Lord's Prayer on the head of a pin.
TICK TOCK, TICK TOCK: After granting 30 seconds to the panel for a conference in EPISODE #42 of March 18, 1951, which is the most recent previous episode known to still exist and air on GSN, John reverted to the practice of granting only 20 seconds. - agent_0042 (2008)
(1) THE LOOK OF THINGS: Coming a year and 12 days from the last extant kinescope in the FremantleMedia/GSN archive (EPISODE #42 of March 18, 1951), a few things have changed. First, the announcer's (presumably Lee Vines) introductory words have settled into, "And now, let's meet our 'What's My Line?' panel of well-known personalities whose lines you already know. First, the popular columnist whose 'Voice of Broadway' appears in the New York Journal-American and papers coast to coast, Miss Dorothy Kilgallen." While the first sentence will be changed around several times over the next 15.5 years, only a slight change to Dorothy's intro will be effected several years from this show -- with "the New York Journal-American and" part taken out -- and in its essence, be used for Dolly Mae for the rest of her run on "WML?" Second, Bennett is wearing a business suit and straight tie tonight, and Hal Block has the look of a 1950s travelling door-to-door salesman as described in the notes to EPISODE #42. John, meanwhile, is somewhat semi-formal -- he is wearing a variation on the attire that will come to define the program, but his tuxedo or suit looks somewhat like a slight step down from the prior surviving shows from EPISODE #5 through EPISODE #42. Third, while the panel desk nameplates for Miss Kilgallen, Mr. Cerf and Miss Francis remain set in Franklin Gothic Extra Condensed, it appears Mr. Block's nameplate, as well as that for Mr. Daly on his moderator's desk, is now set in Gothic No. 13. However, in a portent of the future, mystery guest Arthur Godfrey's nameplate is set in Title Gothic Condensed No. 11 (aka Gothic Condensed No. 543, per Monotype's parlance), which within a year or so will become the typeface to be used for all nameplates. Finally, after two years, the typesetting for the occupation overlay screens are still hand-painted. It won't be long before the production crew settles on actual pre-existing, professional-looking type for such overlays. However, it won't be until EPISODE #112 of July 20, 1952, after Gil Fates puts a stop to CBS's shameful and wanton destruction of most "WML?" kinescopes from up to that point, that we will truly get to see the rest of the evolution of "WML?" over the years. On the other hand, the sign-in board is the same as the previous year.
(2) MYSTERY GUEST: Tonight's show marked the first of five appearances by "The Ol' Redhead," Arthur Godfrey. Only one of his appearances -- EPISODE #697 of January 26, 1964 -- was as a guest panelist; all the other times he was on, from tonight up to EPISODE #812 of April 17, 1966, was as a mystery guest. At the time of his "WML?" appearance tonight, Mr. Godfrey was at the apogee of his career, with two hit TV shows on the air, "Arthur Godfrey and His Friends" and "Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts"; a radio show, "Arthur Godfrey Time," which ran from April 30, 1945 to April 30, 1972; and a recording career with CBS's then-subsidiary, Columbia Records. In fact, around the time of his appearance this evening, he had his last major Top 10 hit with the double-sided "Dance Me Loose"/"Slow Poke" (single #(4-)39632). His biggest hit for the label, which went all the way to #1 in 1947, was a ditty with a title that would today be considered too "politically incorrect": "Too Fat Polka (I Don't Want Her) (You Can Have Her) (She's Too Fat For Me)" (Columbia 37921). For a time in 1950, he even had a third TV show, "Arthur Godfrey and His Ukulele." Around the time of tonight's show, in fact, it was estimated that Mr. Godfrey was personally responsible for about an eighth of CBS's profits.
(3) "WML?" END CREDITS AND CREDITS CRUNCH WATCH: In the year since the last-aired surviving kinescope, an important change in the production credits order has taken effect, where "WML?" is now listed as "A Mark Goodson-Bill Todman Production in association with the CBS Television Network." However, the last-named card is only shown for a few milliseconds before flipping back to the title card. This order will hold in place through EPISODE #421 of June 29, 1958, after which Messrs. Goodson and Todman sold the series to the network. However, for about a year or two from tonight, these production credits will come after the few crew members mentioned at this point in time (in this evening's case, coordinator of production Bob Bach and director Franklin Heller). Unfortunately, when GSN aired this show on March 5, 2008, they marred the viewing experience by once again applying their torturous, tiresome and tedious "crunching" of the screen during these end credits.
(4) The airing of tonight's show by GSN on March 5, 2008 was followed by an episode of "I've Got a Secret" which first emanated "live from New York" on September 23, 1963. Host Garry Moore introduced his panelists on this occasion as "Conway" Cullen, "Itsy Bitsy" Betsy Palmer, Henry "Hot Lips" Morgan and "Bouncin'" Bess Myerson. The celebrity guest was George Hamilton, who was described by Garry as "a teen idol" (and this was hit home in the opening moments when screaming teenage girls swarmed the affable host, in this edition which preceded The Beatles' first appearance on "The Ed Sullivan Show" by some five and a half months). There was a bit of unintentional (and indirect) irony to Mr. Moore's nicknaming Mr. Morgan as "Hot Lips" on this occasion -- as it was due to the acerbic humorist that, beginning in the early 1950's, a supporting actor who had previously been known as Henry Morgan had to change his professional name to Harry Morgan (although in the interim period from then to the early 1960's, some of his credits listed him as Henry "Harry" Morgan). Harry would go on to play "Colonel Sherman T. Potter" starting in 1975 on the TV series "M*A*S*H," and remain with the show until its last episode in 1983. One of the co-stars of "M*A*S*H" was Loretta Swit who played "Major Margaret 'Hot Lips' Houlihan" for its entire run. On a side note, another "M*A*S*H" co-star, Alan Alda, who played "Captain Benjamin Franklin 'Hawkeye' Pierce" from its 1972 debut to the end, appeared from time to time on the 1970's syndicated versions of "WML?" and "To Tell the Truth" as a panelist. Alas, Harry Morgan never appeared on any game or panel show, whether from G-T or other producers. - W-B (2008)
THE LOOK OF THINGS - Since so many shows are lost to history, we don't know when the change occurred, but the flip cards now feature advertising for Stopette. John did not smoke during this episode, and has evidently stopped the practice of smoking during broadcast time. Notice the large additional seat cushion on John's chair which makes him sit tall in the seat. It's very visible as he is helping the first contestant get seated. - Suzanne (2004)
John mentioned that Arthur Godfrey's Red Cross donation would help the tornado victims, but gave no details. From March 21-22, 1952, 28 tornadoes hit Arkansas and Tennessee. Especially hard hit was Judsonia, Arkansas. On March 21, 1952, a devastating F-4 rated tornado struck Judsonia, killing 50 people and injuring 325, and causing severe property damage. - Suzanne (2004)
Tidbits: Bennett said that Arlene Francis has a "double page spread" in the current issue of Life Magazine. During the mystery guest game, we see a rare look at John Daly wearing his reading glasses. - Suzanne (2004)
REVIEW: This was a pretty good night for the panel. Dorothy discovered that the first contestant, a cute little old lady who John said was 86 years old, helped in the design of elephant's costumes. Specifically, she embroidered their blankets. Hal, with the panel's help, was able to guess that the second contestant made lipstick. Dorothy had the final honor of guessing that the mystery guest was Arthur Godfrey. Godfrey was definitely the hit of the evening as he used an almost childlike vocal disguise. Another humorous moment came when Hal removed his blindfold during Godfrey's game. Hal blurted out, "I've gotta see this guy" and tore off his mask. John was not amused, but the audience laughed at this unexpected behavior from one of the panelists. Ironically, Bennett asked Godfrey he cried when he sang. This most likely was a reference to singer Johnnie Ray, who often burst into tears as he sang. Of course, this was a few years before Dorothy's infamous affair with Ray. Also, this was also a few years before Dorothy and Godfrey began feuding. That feud was a result of Godfrey's firing of his biggest discovery, Julius LaRosa. That incident not only caused Dorothy to turn on Godfrey, but a great majority of the press turned against him as well, for what they perceived as a very classless act. However, on this particular evening, the old redhead was class personified! In addition, he donated his winnings to the American Red Cross. All in all, this was a very entertaining night. - Sargebri (2004)
FIVENINEGAL'S THOUGHTS: 86-year-old Mrs. Brodie was a delight! Bennett mentioned the pink ribbon she was wearing in her hair and she told him that she had worn a pink ribbon for the past 60 years! That's devotion! She was quite talkative and witty. When Hal asked her if he could wear the product (blankets for elephants), she quipped, "I think you'd look rather ridiculous." John Daly and Arthur Godfrey were hilarious together as they imitated Dave Garroway, who was the host of the "Today" show from 1952-1961. They both put their glasses on, pulled down to the end of their noses, and looked at each other while the audience roared. Another highlight for me was the beautifully coifed Dorothy Kilgallen. She wore such a lovely dress, it's too bad we couldn't have seen the whole thing. I can't wait until they start walking on in the beginning! We've got a while to wait, though, since the "curtain entrance" doesn't become a permanent new feature until November 1955. - fiveninegal (2004)
Panel: Dorothy Kilgallen, Bennett Cerf, Arlene Francis, Hal Block.
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