What's My Line? Forums

CBS (ended 1967)

The SYNDICATED WHAT'S MY LINE? Forum

  • Avatar of astorino

    astorino

    [1]Aug 16, 2005
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    Post all about Viacom's Syndicated 1968-1975 What's My Line? here.
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  • Avatar of astorino

    astorino

    [2]Aug 16, 2005
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    May 2005

    From: Garrison Skunk

    Arlene's "Honest Answer" on the syndicated show:

    I don't know if you have a place for it anywhere, but I was wondering if you wanted to post Arlene Francis' reply to the lady who accused her of cheating during the mystery guest rounds. Even though it happened on a color episode, she refers to her 20 years on WML, so it would be relevant to her B&W years. It was very heartfelt. After she said it, she turned to Bennett Cerf to say, "The nerve of that..." I might be mistaken, but her tone on saying that sounded to me like she was about to end that comment with an unflattering word describing the letter writer. But, she stopped herself, remembering: 1) that she's on TV and 2) that she's a lady.

    Wally Bruner: "And now, time for Honest Answers. Questions from our audience in the studio and letters from home viewers. Let's start with this letter from Mrs. Florence E. Watts from Washington DC. Mrs. Watts writes, 'I wish someone would tell Arlene Francis to pull her blindfold all the way down so she can't peek out the left at the mystery guest.' Arlene, what do you have to say to Mrs. Watts?"

    Soupy Sales: "THAT you can say on the air!"

    Arlene: "Well, I'd like to say this, Mrs. Watts, wherever you are. I've done this show for twenty years and I'd like to think I've won my service stripes through integrity and honesty. And I think I can say the same for the rest of the panel. NOBODY CHEATED!"

    (The panel and audience both applaud loudly at this. Arlene turns to Bennett as it dies down and says, "The nerve of that....!")

    Wally Bruner: "Do you think that answer was firm enough?"

    Arlene: "Well, if she could feel my insides right now, she'd know how I really felt!"

    Wally Bruner: "Thank you, panel, for your Honest Answers!"
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    The1Factotum1i1

    [3]Aug 16, 2005
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    If you'll recall the several early citations I've quoted from TV magazines from time to time, there was then, and apparently all through the years, a suspicion that the fix was in somehow, even by professional critics and writers. So no matter what, some folks are so afraid they might be taken for suckers, they're going to see a conspiracy of some sort. Call it human nature.
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  • Avatar of astorino

    astorino

    [4]Sep 15, 2005
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    Since he was never a guest on the CBS version, too bad Bob Denver was also never a guest on the syndie WML. That would have been preferable to the 1972 Beat The Clock which GSN aired. It was too lame for words.
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    sixtyfivealive

    [5]Sep 15, 2005
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    astorino wrote:
    Since he was never a guest on the CBS version, too bad Bob Denver was also never a guest on the syndie WML. That would have been preferable to the 1972 Beat The Clock which GSN aired. It was too lame for words.


    For sure. Bob did look great on the 1966 Password episode though.
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    ymike673

    [6]Sep 15, 2005
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    Yes he was good on Password. It was really funny when he could not come up with the word "Skipper". Too bad he was only on that one episode. Allen Ludden mentioned on the show that there were 2 different celebrities on the show each day that week.
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    W-B

    [7]Sep 15, 2005
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    astorino wrote:
    Since he was never a guest on the CBS version, too bad Bob Denver was also never a guest on the syndie WML. That would have been preferable to the 1972 Beat The Clock which GSN aired. It was too lame for words.

    That BTC episode did seem lame even in comparison with the 1950's Bud Collyer version. I did seem to recall the logo, though . . . and I also seemed to notice that they used four-tube Marconi Mark VII color cameras, from the few shots they had during that episode. (I've read, I think on IMDb, that this version of BTC was taped in Canada[!]) It was also apparently from the 1971-72 season, as announcer Gene Wood succeeded Jack Narz as host for the last two seasons (1972-74) of this version.
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  • Avatar of ymike673

    ymike673

    [8]Sep 15, 2005
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    Did anyone notice that when Allan Ludden spoke to Bob Denver at the beginning and end of the show it seemed like something was cut out.
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    dad1153

    [9]Sep 16, 2005
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    ymike673 wrote:
    Did anyone notice that when Allan Ludden spoke to Bob Denver at the beginning and end of the show it seemed like something was cut out.


    Probably the advertisements (particularly if they were for cigarrette brands). Thank God 'Password' didn't have the sponsor's logo visible on the set, or this episode with Denver would have been deemed off limits!
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  • Avatar of astorino

    astorino

    [10]Oct 6, 2005
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    You'd think that GSN would show some syndicated WML episodes for the Nipsey Russell tribute, but I guess they are only going to show MATCH GAME episodes.
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  • Avatar of astorino

    astorino

    [11]Oct 8, 2005
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    From: Garrison Skunk

    I've written a summary of the syndicated WML? where Bennett guest-starred as a panelist and Nipsey Russell was the mystery guest.

    To pinpoint when this episode was taped, Soupy Sales announced that Sandy Duncan was currently appearing in a Broadway show called "The Boy Friend." This play ran from 4/14/1970 to 7/18/1970.

    Sandy Duncan: "And now a man as pleasant in person as he is on television...Mr. Bennett Cerf!"

    Bennett: "Sandy it's been great sitting next to you all week." (To the camera) "And on the other side of me of course is a beautiful lady... people ask me all the time where she gets her good looks from. Well, she gets them right from her father... he's a plastic surgeon! Arlene Francis!"

    (Arlene enters from around the curtain, puts her hands on her hips and (even though not miked) plainly says, "What?!?" She joins the panel and hugs Bennett as he gives her a small kiss on the cheek.)

    Arlene: "That was very adorable, Bennett, although you got it wrong. It's my UNCLE who's the plastic surgeon."

    (Soupy comes up behind them)

    Soupy: "Because I'M her father!" (Arlene and Bennett laugh)

    Arlene: "It's true! And he's some cut-up!"

    (Arlene gets her revenge on Bennett by beating him to a pun.)

    Arlene introduces Wally as "Father of Bear" and Tammy Grimes as "Mother of Bear".

    Since "my wife is watching this!" Wally quickly explains that Bear is a dog that Tammy Grimes gave him.

    Bennett says, "Lets get back to the plastic surgeon...."

    Wally quickly brings out the first guest.

    The first guest, "World Champion Figure Skater Tim Wood" (Who signed in as 'Mr X.') stumps the panel.

    Bennett: "Mr. X, is your work done primarily with ladies?"

    Tim Wood: "Yes, it could be, yes."

    Wally: "That is a truthful answer, but terribly misleading."

    The second guest, Eileen Lawlor - who sells caviar from a pushcart - also stumped the panel.

    Bennett: "Miss Lawlor, would the food that you sell be a nice thing to chew on if you're having a beer?"

    (Miss Lawlor starts to say 'no' as Wally quickly steps in.)

    Wally: "Oh, I think it could be, yeah. Why not?" (To Bennett) "If you like beer, I'm sure you'll like whatever she sells."

    Bennett: "I'm flirting with the pretzel family is that....?"

    Wally "Ah, pretzels!"

    Bennett: "No, huh?"

    Wally: "No, Bennett."

    Once the food is revealed, Soupy objects saying you CAN buy caviar in delicatessens One of his questions being 'Can you buy this in a delicatessen?' and getting a no. Bennett and Arlene object, saying vodka is served with caviar, not beer. Wally said "I didn't say it necessarily GOES with beer, just said 'If you like to drink beer, you'd like to eat this with a beer.'" John Daly would have been proud.

    The mystery guest, Nipsey Russell, stumped the panel as well, although Bennett came close with "Do you ever answer to the name 'Flip'?"

    Wally: "I don't know if we can take Bennett and Nipsey on the same program or not. Do you ever get together and compare puns?"

    Nipsey Russell: "Bennett Cerf and I?"

    Bennett: "We swap them!"

    Arlene: " But I think Nipsey's a better poet, don't you think so, Nips?"

    Nipsey Russell: "We can put it to a quick test."

    (He then recites a poem he's done on a number of shows.)

    "The young generation is different today,"

    "And there's one sure way to know."

    "Kids used to ask where they came from,"

    "Now they tell you where you can go!"

    Wally: "Ok, Bennett, we haven't had one so far this week."

    Bennett: (Laughing) "I resign!"

    (The panel and audience laugh)

    Wally: "Do you have one or not?"

    Bennett: "Well the only joke I've heard this week is - and I don't know if it will go or not is - 'L. B. Johnson is going to run for President again in '72 and his slogan will be: 'He Kept Us Out of Cambodia.'"

    (The panel and audience laugh)

    Nipsey then went on to talk about the TV version of "Barefoot in the Park" that he was starting in the Fall on ABC.

    (I believe BitP was coupled with "The Odd Couple" during its first season on ABC in 1970.)

    They all then gathered around the caviar pushcart during the end credits.
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  • Avatar of W-B

    W-B

    [12]Oct 8, 2005
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    The part of Bennett introducing Arlene seemed like old home week - insofar as during the "Hal Block years" of the original WML?, he was seated (usually) between Miss Kilgallen and Miss Francis.
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  • Avatar of astorino

    astorino

    [13]Oct 12, 2005
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    From: Garrison Skunk:

    Louie Nye was never on the CBS WML, but he WAS on the syndicated version, the SAME WEEK that Nipsey Russell was a mystery guest! Here is the transcript of the episode. I transcribed it because Bennett Cerf was making a guest appearance on the panel. It doesn't have much about Louie in it, but you get another chance to meet the young lady who had "recently preformed a service for Bennett Cerf" - much to his surprise.

    Bennett: "Well, here's a lady who just came back from her first fishing exposition of the year, and we asked her if she caught anything, and she said, 'Yes, 6 bass, 4 perch and 3 quarts of oil.' And here she is, Arlene Francis."

    Arlene: "In that way, I helped to de-pollinate the water. And now, our star bright - Wally Brunner."

    Wally: "I don't know...thanks Arlene, but who writes the introductions for all of you? You must really have some fantastic writers."

    (The panel laughs.)

    Soupy: "Clint Walker writes mine."

    Wally: "Clint Walker?"

    Bennett: "Joe Miller does mine."

    Wally: "No, and to answer many questions, really, the panel makes up their own introductions for everyone else as they come out."

    Arlene: "You mean anybody's asked that?!?"

    Wally: "Oh, yes, we get letters asking. So if its not obvious, now you know - all those original creative things that they say really germinate in their own minds. So panel, ready to meet our first challenger? Lets do so. Would you enter and sign in, please."

    (Pat Voehl, an attractive young lady, enters and signs in.)

    Wally: "Mrs. Voehl, where are you from?"

    Pat Voehl: "New York City."

    Wally: "Panel, Pat Voehl recently preformed a service for Bennett Cerf."

    (Camera cuts to a closeup of a pleasantly surprised Mr. Cerf)

    Wally continues: "Bennett has never really met Mrs. Voehl, and to our knowledge has never heard her name. But now let's show the audience what service Mrs. Voehl preformed."

    "DESIGNED BOOK JACKET FOR BENNETT CERF'S NEW BOOK"

    Wally: "Now I remind you that it is a service that Pat performed for Bennett Cerf, and I think it's only fair, Pat, that we begin the questioning with Bennett."

    Bennett: "I can't understand - I didn't meet you, Mrs. Voehl, I must be slipping!"

    (Sandy Duncan guesses it at the 15 mark. Mrs. Voehl presents the mockup of the cover of the book to Wally. A picture of Bennett sitting on a stool, with the title and subtitle of the book to his left. Pat describes it as 'the sketch we presented to Mr. Cerf'.)

    Bennett: "Now, I know the person who took the picture. You did the lettering, is that right?"

    Pat Voehl: "That's right."

    Bennett: "Well, I think it's an outrage you didn't bring it around personally!"

    Wally: "Now, how is Bennett to work for? Did he ask for any corrections before approval?"

    Pat Voehl: "Well, he's delightful to work for, but he asked that we make the title reads, and he also said we spelled the word "limericks" wrong in the copy."

    Wally: "Is that right, Bennett?"

    Bennett: (Laughing) "That's right."

    Wally: (To Pat) "How did you spell limericks?"

    Pat Voehl: "I think there were two 'r's' in it, it was done very quickly, and in very small printing."

    (Wally asks her about other jackets she's working on.)

    Wally: "I'm curious too, Bennett, about something we said earlier. We said your book is being published by Doubleday, why isn't it being published by Random House?"

    Bennett: "Well, things - it's modest of me to say things about this book, I can make Doubleday say it instead!"

    (Audience laughter)

    Wally: "But you find it's better that someone else..."

    Bennett: "Yes, I think it's much better, otherwise, my authors would think I was spending more time on my own book than I was on theirs and that would be a very, very bad policy."

    Wally: "Well, Pat we think it's a very attractive cover, and if the contents are as good as the cover, you both have a winner..."

    Bennett: "They're superb!"

    (Audience laughter)

    Wally: "Is it superb? There you go, spoken by the author himself."

    (The second round concerned a young man who shelled 2,000 hard boiled eggs a day to be pickled as bar snacks. The man and his partner showed how one rolled the egg and the other peeled. Arlene and Bennett were than paired up against Soupy and Sandy to see who could peel the most eggs. Both Bennett and Arlene seemed to enjoy the challenge.)

    Arlene: "I don't think you're cracking these enough. Do you have to get out the whole egg?" (egg whole, I think she meant) "Oh, I got the yoke out! Hurray!"

    Bennett: "That's a yoke, son."

    (After the time is up, they are both laughing and giggling.)

    The mystery guest round with Louis Nye and the final moment talk with Sandy Duncan didn't really have any Bennett moments in them.
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    dad1153

    [14]Oct 12, 2005
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    I have an episode from the syndicated 'WML?' in which Bennett sits on his traditional seat (all the way to the right of the panel podium) and introduces Wally Brunner. He mentions that is his first return appearance on the show in years, so it's either his first trip back to the show since it went off the air in '67 or an appearance after a long absence. Gerald Ford, then leader of the Republican minority in the Senate, is the Mystery Guest and he stumped the panel. Bennett's reaction when he takes his mask off and is told Gerald Ford is the MG is priceless, as if he was saying 'what are you doing lowering yourself to appearing in this dinky piece of crap TV show?' to Ford. While the show's credits roll (the part of the show when the panel and the contestants meet) you can see Bennett and Ford engaged in deep conversation.
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    astorino

    [15]Oct 12, 2005
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    The upbeat, catchy theme song to the syndicated What's My Line? was written by Robert Israel of Score Productions. With the horns, it's got that "fat sound," as "Joliet" Jake Blues (John Belushi's character in The Blues Brothers) would have said.

    If you're hankering to hear it again for old times' sake, Score offers an mp3 file (568 KB) on their web site:

    http://www.scoreproductions.com/FMusic.html
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  • Avatar of astorino

    astorino

    [16]Nov 8, 2005
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    The Syndie version has its own IMDB page:

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0133323/
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    W-B

    [17]Dec 7, 2005
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    Now, in an attempt to keep this forum from disappearing into the TV.com netherworld . . .

    I noticed in reading some entries - both in book form and on the Web - that at the time the syndie version was started up, the claim was that "a new company called Viacom was set up." I seem to distinctly recall that Viacom was formed as a spinoff of CBS's syndication unit in 1971, three years after the start of the syndicated WML?. The other thing I noticed was that on those shows from the pre-1971 period that aired most recently on GSN in "tribute" blocks, they listed CBS as copyright holder, per the teeny-tiny print indicating: "© ______ Columbia Broadcasting System, Inc." Although I do think it interesting that in changing distributors from CBS to Viacom, the timing of that fell around the same time that they switched studios from The Ed Sullivan Theatre to NBC's studios (one of which, I.I.N.M., was the future home of Saturday Night Live, Studio 8H) . . .
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    Fat-tote-bag

    [18]Dec 7, 2005
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    Lloyd Gross could be helpful on this point. He was director of the syndicated WML. Now retired to Connecticut, he has corresponded with TV nostalgia fans via paper letters and postage stamps. He's not much into e-mail.
    Edited on 07/12/2006 6:28pm
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    W-B

    [19]Dec 8, 2005
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    Which reminds me, as you mention Mr. Gross: One reason (amongst a laundry list of reasons) for my keeping an eye on end credits was to see if he'd directed any of the John Daly WML? episodes on those rare times when regular director Franklin Heller had the night off (on other such times of which Frank Satenstein, Paul Alter and S. Robert Rowe had filled in). Especially as Lloyd's other directing credits, from the '50's, definitely included some Beat the Clock installments (again, when Heller was off) and possibly (based on the Thanksgiving weekend airings) Two for the Money.
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  • Avatar of astorino

    astorino

    [20]Jan 6, 2006
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    Forwarding to the SYNDICATED FORUM for archival purposes:

    From: ClassicTV

    The Stray Hand

    There would be at least another occasion when a stray hand would appear on "What's My Line?", albeit on the syndicated version. I saw that version in the summer of 1972, and except for the few episodes that GSN aired during "A Breakfast With The Stars" in August 2002, I have not seen most of the syndicated shows in over 33 years.

    In the syndicated "WML?", the panel would do their walk-ons at the beginning of the show with the sign-in board behind them in the center of the stage. The sign-in board was contained in a three-sided booth-like structure that was perhaps 6 feet high. During the panelist walk-ons, there was a yellow card with the show's name in cartoon-like typeface that filled the space where the blackboard would normally be.

    When Wally Brunner asked the first challenger to "enter and sign in, please", the contestant walked in and raised his arm with chalk in hand, only to stop quickly as he and the rest of the on-lookers realized that the yellow title card was still there. Then the yellow card tilted back at its top, and a hand could be seen pulling the card upwards and back. As this yellow card was removed back into the booth, you could see the "blackboard card" underneath. The blackboard card was then pushed forward from its tilted position until it was flush with the booth.

    After this happened, Wally Brunner ad-libbed something like, "That hand is going to cost the show extra", a joking reference to television union rules that required crew members to be paid scale if they appeared before the cameras.

    Although this show was pre-recorded, this flub was left in. It provided a little behind-the-scenes secret in that it revealed that a stagehand stood behind the sign-in booth to change the title card to the chalkboard card (when he remembered to!).
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