Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Just a Stranger on the Bus...

Courtesy of amusing intertube wisenheimer Matt Neuman please enjoy THE TIME GOD APPEARED ON WHAT'S MY LINE.

I realize this has little or nothing to do with the mission statement of this here blog, but I've decided to post it because a) it's brilliantly funny; b) we were speaking of What's My Line yesterday; and c) Ohio governor John Kasich [R-Should Be Making License Plates] announced on one of the Sunday gasbag shows last weekend that he wouldn't run for president until God told him to, so it seemed kinda relevant.


[The following is a transcription of What's My Line? as it was originally broadcast on September 11, 1955, at 10 PM, by CBS.]

JOHN DALY: Panel, put on your masks... good. Now, will our Mystery Guest enter, and sign in please.

(GOD enters, signs "God" on the blackboard, and takes his seat next to JOHN DALY. There is extended applause.)

DALY: All right then, let's begin with Bennett Cerf.

BENNETT CERF: Well, from the applause, you're obviously well known.

DALY: I think you could say that without fear of contradiction, Bennett.

CERF: Would someone of my generation recognize you without having to consult the various popular music periodicals?

GOD: (high, squeaky voice) Yes.

CERF: Was that a yes?

DALY: It was. Continue.

CERF: Are you someone we would recognize from films, or television?

GOD: No.

DALY: That's one down, and five dollars... Dorothy Kilgallen.

DOROTHY KILGALLEN: Mystery Guest, have you ever been the subject of a front page story in a national magazine?

GOD: Yes.

KILGALLEN: Would you say that you are a... controversial figure?

GOD: Yes.

KILGALLEN: Do you travel extensively? Are you known throughout the world?

GOD: Yes.

KILGALLEN: I can't tell if you're a man or a woman. Are you... a woman?

GOD: No.

DALY: That's two down. Robert Q. Lewis, you're next.

ROBERT Q. LEWIS: Hmm... Mystery Guest, you wouldn't happen to be a millionaire Latin playboy who was recently seen in the company of atomic bombshell Jayne Mansfield, would you?

GOD: No.

DALY: That's three down, seven to go... Arlene Francis.

ARLENE FRANCIS: Mystery Guest, I get the feeling that you're someone who possesses power as much as fame. Would that be correct?

GOD: Yes.

FRANCIS: Have you ever, or are you currently for that matter, in a position of power?

(GOD whispers in DALY's ear.)

DALY: Could you define what you mean by "power," Arlene?

FRANCIS: Well, political power, for example.

GOD: No.

DALY: That's four down. Bennett?

CERF: We know you're not a Latin millionaire playboy, but we haven't ruled out whether or not you're, well, I'll ask. Are you rich?

(GOD whispers in DALY's ear.)

DALY: Once again, I must ask you to define your terms.

CERF: Are you... a millionaire?

GOD: No.

DALY: Five down, five to go. Dorothy Kilgallen, you look puzzled.

KILGALLEN: I am. He's obviously a well-known personality, he's powerful, but he's not rich, at least not in dollars-and-cents terms... he's not an actor. Mystery Guest, are you someone who operates "behind-the-scenes?"

GOD: Yes.

KILGALLEN: Are you one of our great directors, or producers?

GOD: Yes.

DALY: Excuse me, Dorothy, did you mean film directors or producers?


DALY: Then I think the correct answer, and I'll speak for our Mystery Guest, would be a "no." Six down, four to go. Robert Q. Lewis?

LEWIS: Are you unusually strong, and fast?

GOD: Yes.

LEWIS: Would you consider yourself a great athlete?

GOD: Yes.

LEWIS: Do you have abilities far beyond mere mortal men?

GOD: Yes.

LEWIS: Are you... Willie Mays?

GOD: No.

DALY: I thought you were going to say Superman.

LEWIS: Willie Mays is Superman.

DALY: Seven down, three to go, and Arlene Francis, it's your turn.

FRANCIS: Well, he's not Willie Mays, but we haven't ruled out athlete, or professional athlete... could we have a conference?

DALY: Certainly.

(FRANCIS, LEWIS, KILGALLEN, and CERF huddle and whisper to each other.)

FRANCIS: Are you considered... tough?

GOD: Yes.

FRANCIS: Have you ever been referred to as "the Rock"?

GOD: No.

DALY: Eight down. Bennett Cerf.

CERF: Well, he's not Rocky Marciano or Rocky Graziano. That only leaves a few billion people. Mystery Guest, are you a religious person?

GOD: Yes.

CERF: Are you a religious person who is in a prominent position within the church?

GOD: Yes.

CERF: Do you have millions of followers?

GOD: Yes.

CERF: Are you... Bishop Fulton Sheen?

GOD: No.

DALY: That's nine down, one to go, and it's up to Dorothy Kilgallen.

KILGALLEN: Now I'm really confused. He's big, strong, in a position of considerable influence in the church, well-known, but controversial... powerful...

DALY: I'll throw over the last card if you don't have a question, Dorothy, we're running out of time.

KILGALLEN: Oh, all right, I'll take a wild stab...are you...God?

(There is loud applause.)

DALY: You got it! You can take your masks off now, panel.

FRANCIS: I almost guessed it, but...

KILGALLEN: We should have had it sooner.

LEWIS: And you say you're not seeing Jayne Mansfield?

CERF: Well, as someone who has millions, God, it's not all that it's cracked up to be.

DALY: God, anything you'd like to say? We've got a few seconds.

GOD: Just that I'm donating my winnings to the Boys Club of New York, and the Police Athletic League, they do such good work, and the Fresh Air Fund, which sends needy kids to camp each summer.

DALY: Anyone have a question for God before we sign off?

LEWIS: Yeah, just this: you wouldn't happen to have Jayne Mansfield's phone number, would you?

DALY: Oh, Robert... that's our show for tonight, ladies and gentlemen, until next time, this is John Daly, saying, "good night."


Ken J Xenozar said...

Correction: Kasisch is Ohio. Illinois has its own douchebag.

steve simels said...

I regret the error.

Correcting now.

Anonymous said...

Everbody's waiting for that Burning Bush.

Vickie Rock - Saturated in the watery fire with a head full of Sinai. Walking on water and spreading the Gates of Eden.


Mark said...

This exchange is absolutely brilliant ... in print. So I wondered how it looked on TV, but when I did an Internet search for CBS + What's My Line + God, I came up with a 1960 Billy Graham What's My Line. And when I did one for CBS + What's My Line + September 11, 1955, I came up with a full show with Joe E. Ross as the mystery guest.

But it got me to thinking. Watching What's My Line as a kid, I somehow understood that the sophisticated discourse and banter was above my working class pay grade, but it was my look into a world that not only appeared to be sophisticated, but also appeared to be somewhat ... forced. But I did like what passed as repartee and what Fun Lovin' Criminals would later call shmoove, but not enough to mimic it. If I did, the next thing I would have taken to was bow ties and the type of affected speech that would’ve gotten me killed in Junior High School in East New York. I simply stored what happened on WML as something-that-happens-only-on-TV-and-only-in-Manhattan.

Thank God for the 1960s and the destruction of such artifice, whether it was He Whose Name May Not Be Uttered, or His Wife, She Whose Name May Not Be Uttered.

On another note, my wife's father, Harry Simmons, a pro baseball exec and longtime writer for the Saturday Evening Post (he wrote a weekly column throughout the 1950s, "So You Think You Know Baseball") was once a guest on What's My Line -- well before I ever met my wife.

And what I wouldn't give to get a copy of -- or a transcription thereof -- THAT show!