For the last few months I’ve been having very casual group movie nights on Sundays. As Elaine’s character on Seinfeld once remarked, “I need my Sunday night wind down.” These nights are usually not planned and I’ll show either a randomly picked film noir from Netflix streaming or something that I normally wouldn’t show to a big group. However, we always watch an episode of What’s My Line? (1950-1967). A staple of Sunday nights on CBS for nearly two decades, this show is a perfect, quiet way to end the weekend. Arlene Francis, Bennett Cerf, Dorothy Kilgallen, and host John Charles Daly are at their most genteel with manners that you never see anymore.
There are some great moments on these shows: the regular nervous contestants who try to stump the panel with their occupations; guest panelists Steve Allen who coined the phrase “bigger than a breadbox”; and Steve Lawrence, Alan King, Tony Randal, and Woody Allen are a delight to see. My favorite mystery guest has to be Groucho Marx appearance. He plays them like a cat with a mouse.
One of my regular guests on Sunday is the famous Cynthia Plaster Caster. Cynthia is a rock and roll icon who is known for being one of the original groupies who made plaster casts of rock stars penises. It’s always great to have her over to hear her comments about the people she’s met throughout her life, some of whom are in the movies and television shows we are watching.
I bring her up because of the episode of What’s My Line? we watched this Sunday. Per the usual, John Daly introduced the panel and then the first guest. The dowdy lady who came out wrote her name… Miss Falik! And her occupation? She makes water pistols. I thought Cynthia’s head was going to explode. Miss Falik! Water pistols! From then on the panel’s questions were all ‘phallic’ in nature: Can this give pleasure to both men and women? Would this have to be visible to give pleasure? Dorothy Kilgallen asks, “Is this manipulated by hand… ?
And that’s just the start… You never know what you are going to find on a Sunday night…!!!