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Hal Block WML Outcast Hal Block was a regular panelist on What's My Line? from 1950 to 1953. He started his career as a joke writer in Chicago and once toured overseas with Bob Hope. He was not well liked by the other WML panelists because of his lack of dignity. Years later Bennett Cerf referred to Block as 'a clod.' WML producer Gil Fates recalled, 'Hal was a strange man. He was rumored to have come from a very wealthy family in Chicago, where he wrote material for some of the standout, stand-up comics in the business. He was stocky with curly black hair, heavy lips, and rather bulging eyes. He wore bow ties, stood around with his hands clasped behind his back, and smiled most of the time. He seemed completely uninhibited by either sensitivity or propriety. He referred to Ethel Barrymore as 'you doll' and planted big wet kisses on both Sister Kenny and Helen Hayes as they passed down the panel to say goodbye. For our deodorant sponsor he gratuitously coined the phrase, 'Make your armpit a charmpit.' Hal was totally oblivious to the panel's distaste for his jokes or to the icy correctness with which John Daly would greet one of his appalling observations. 'You're the prettiest nun I ever saw,' he once complimented a Dominican Sister in full habit. 'So what was so wrong?' he asked in defense. 'She was a real doll.' You couldn't teach the meaning of good taste to Hal any more than StarKist could teach it to Charlie the Tuna. Hal's relationship to the show was much like that of the small-town, stay-at-home wife to her rising young corporate executive husband. Hal had served his purpose when the program was young, but now that we were a class product his gaucheries were no longer tolerable.' In March 1953 Block was quietly replaced on the WML panel by the much more urbane Steve Allen. Block died, pretty much forgotten, from injuries he suffered in an apartment fire, in 1981 at age 67.
Tags: Hal  Block  Whats  My  Line  panelist 
Added: 17th November 2009
Views: 2223
Rating:
Posted By: Lava1964
Mike Wallace Whats My Line Controversy - 1957 On the May 26, 1957 episode of the popular panel show What's My Line?, Sammy Davis, Jr. was a last-minute mystery guest substitution for Mike Wallace. More than 20 years later, in his 1978 book about WML, executive producer Gil Fates explained what happened that night: WML panel moderator John Daly and Mike Wallace had professional differences that stemmed from the fact that they were both newsmen for ABC. Daly was ABC's newscaster while Wallace had recently been hired to do The Mike Wallace Interview program. Wallace had vaulted to fame with a series of sensationalistic and sleazy interviews on local TV in New York City--and Daly wanted nothing to do with him. Through a leak at ABC, Daly found out five hours before WML's live broadcast that Wallace was scheduled to be that night's mystery guest. He called Fates and told him he refused to do a show with Wallace. Daly was so popular and integral to WML that Fates had to find a replacement mystery guest. He quickly booked Sammy Davis, Jr., who was appearing at the Latin Quarter two blocks away from the WML studio. Everything seemingly went smoothly that night and a crisis had been averted. However, the next morning, the front page of the New York Journal-American carried this headline: "DALY BARS WALLACE: SWITCH IN GUESTS AVERTS HASSLE ON WHAT'S MY LINE?" Fates stated that there was no byline attached to the article, but its style was unmistakably that of WML panelist and gossip columnist Dorothy Kilgallen. The article ended by saying, "TV insiders claim that Daly was violently opposed to ABC's hiring of Wallace in the first place." Fates found out afterward that Dorothy had sensed something was amiss and she had "pried the details out of [WML staffer] Bob Bach." Fates went on to say, "Aside from the mechanics needed to operate the program, Daly didn't speak to Kilgallen for almost six months."
Tags: TV  Whats  My  Line  Mike  Wallace  John  Daly 
Added: 5th June 2012
Views: 5656
Rating:
Posted By: Lava1964
Whats My Line - Syndicated Years After a prime time run on CBS of more than 17 years (1950 to 1967), the popular panel show What's My Line? was resurrected by its creators as a syndicated program from 1968 to 1975. Beloved host John Daly was not interested in the hectic schedule of five shows per week (all done in one day), so Washington political reporter Wally Bruner was brought in as the new moderator. Classy Arlene Francis returned as a regular panelist. Bennett Cerf apppeared occasionally until his death in 1971. Soupy Sales became the regular male panelist. He proved to be an amusing and excellent game player who seemed to know every mystery guest no matter what field he/she happened to be in. The syndicated version was less refined than the CBS version. Games were deliberately shortened to allow the contestants to display their unusual occupations--something that almost never happened on the old version. Therefore if a contestant was a fire eater or a wine taster, there was invariably a demonstration of his/her talent. Bruner hosted WML for four years but admittedly was not fond of New York City nor the showbiz scene and was happy to bow out gracefully. Larry Blyden, best known as a Broadway actor, took over as moderator in 1972 for the show's last three seasons, and was much more comfortable hobnobbing with celebrities than Bruner was. Providing halfway decent mystery guests five shows per week proved to be a huge challenge. Executive producer Gil Fates charitably referred to some of the so-called celebrities as "owls" because often the studio audience and some of the panelists would quietly say "who?" when the mystery guest was not particularly famous. The final shows were taped just before Christmas in 1974 and aired throughout the spring of 1975. Towards the end, declining ratings and aging audience demographics made WML a tough sell to local TV stations. Blyden was slated to host Showoffs, another game show, when he was tragically killed in an auto accident while vacationing in Morocco in June 1975--which absolutely sealed the finish of WML. The syndicated WML simply faded away with none of the sentimental fanfare the CBS version had in its 1967 finale. In his book on the history of WML, Fates ruefully admits the last episode of the syndicated show was "a bomb." There have been no serious attempts to revive WML since 1975, although a retrospective program was made later that year--co-hosted by John Daly and Arlene Francis--to mark WML's 25 years on the air.
Tags: TV  syndicated  Whats  My  Line 
Added: 14th June 2012
Views: 1239
Rating:
Posted By: Lava1964
Gil Fates on Tonight Show - 1978 Fans of What's My Line? will enjoy this: The long-running game's show's producer, Gil Fates, appears on a 1978 episode of The Tonight Show to promote his new book about WML. Included are clips of Johnny Carson as both a WML panelist and a mystery guest.
Tags: Gil  Fates  Whats  My  Line  Tonight  Show  Johnny  Carson 
Added: 30th April 2017
Views: 144
Rating:
Posted By: Lava1964

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