I keep meaning to bring up another little history lesson that came from watching the B&W games shows on the Game Show Network.
When you watch the beginning episodes, you can tell they're still proving themselves to sponors. But along about 1953, just before the panel finalized, the set suddenly got slicked up and transformed with its permanent new motif:
Splashed across the panel table is a huge white, round, tipped squeeze bottle with lines of simulated spray streaked across the words "Stopette."
Also, on the flip cards, the dollar amounts are now adorned with a squeeze bottle and action spray of "Stopette."
After seeing this week after week last year, Jim and I decided to do a little web search and see if we could find out anything about Stopette.
Hal Block, the increasingly irritating panelist on "What's My Line?" was fired last night after the show. Well, back in 1953.
The first player was a female minister from Georgia who came on wearing a mink. Hal made several comments about her good looks.
Then, he makes his big mistake. We can't see it because the cameras never pick it up, but as the next contestant is signing in, an older woman, you hear a bunch of laughter from the audience.
No reference is made, but what happened is that Hal Block chased the lady minister around the studio like the Marx Brothers. He was always making lewd comments to all the pretty girls, which might have been acceptable had he not been so creepy looking.
Supposedly, Gil Fates, the producer, took Hal to a bar, told him that they had decided not to pick up his option. He went through a long list of reasons, though it all had to do with the fact that he just didn't fit in with the other panelists. He was crude. They were classy.
When the history of "The Big Voice: God or Merman? is written, there will be one moment that will shine, for us, above all. And it happened this weekend. The weekend we met and then received a loving, gracious and rare (for him) plaudit from the one person on this planet we most dreamed would give us his blessings for our show: Bob Levitt, Ethel Merman's son.
We knew that Bob was a very shy man, rarely, if ever, interviewed -- and never one to run around seeking attention for himself. So when friends of his, who saw the show in New York, told him about us, we were put in contact and he said he'd like to see the show, but that he would come on his own, without fanfare. We wouldn't know he was out there when he did come and, frankly, weren't even sure IF he would come. Still, we had great hopes and he did say he really did want to come.
So, this past Saturday night, as we were standing in the lobby greeting the audience members, as we usually do, this one man was hang…