Robert Taylor on “What’s My Line?”

Robert Taylor appeared on the television program “What’s My Line” on February 26, 1956. John Daly was (as always) the host and the panelists were Arlene Francis, Dorothy Kilgallen, Bennett Cerf and Fred Allen. When he signed in there was a huge burst of applause and cheering.

Robert Taylor appeared uneasy as he sat down next to John Daly. He answered the first question about being a film actor in a high voice which got laughs. Mr. Taylor made good use of his eyebrows during the next couple of questions. Pretty soon he was asked if he had shared billing lately with with a buffalo, which gave away the game. More applauding and cheering from the audience. Earlier on the same show, a buffalo handler (I believe) from “The Last Hunt” had appeared and the producers thought the panelists would be thrown off and not expect someone else from the film.

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Left to right: Can’t hear Arlene Francis; listening to Bennett Cerf’s question; laughing over being found out so early.

Bennett Cerf recounted meeting Jane Russell earlier in the day and asking her whether she would be appearing on “What’s My Line?” She denied it and he found her denial “rather false.” One of the women, probably Ms. Kilgallen, commented that “that’s the only thing about her that is,” referring to Ms. Russell’s famous upper body development. Everyone broke up at that point. Fred Allen made a buffalo joke.

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Enjoying the Jane Russell joke.

John Daly then recounted seeing “The Last Hunt” in Nassau before it opened in New York. Daly said he enjoyed the film but that Taylor’s character had been a mean man. Mr. Taylor agreed, calling the character of Charlie Gilson “a real meanie.”

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L to R: Debra Paget, Robert Taylor; Robert Taylor; Poster for “The Last Hunt” with Robert Taylor, Stewart Granger and assorted buffalo.

Finally Bennett Cerf asked whether it was true that the entire production company of “The Last Hunt” had returned from Hollywood to North Dakota for one retake. Mr. Taylor said they hadn’t.

Daly then thanked Mr. Taylor for appearing and Mr. Taylor jumped up and left with alacrity. Throughout the program he had rubbed his face nervously. The whole appearance lasted for 3 minutes 32 seconds. Robert Taylor did whatever was needed to publicize a film, but this didn’t seem to be a favorite venue for him.

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Left: good eyebrow work; right: replying to Bennett Cerf’s question.

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About giraffe44

I became a Robert Taylor fan at the age of 15 when his TV show, "The Detectives" premiered. My mother wanted to watch it because she remembered Mr. Taylor from the thirties. I took one look and that was it. I spent the rest of my high school career watching Robert Taylor movies on late night TV, buying photos of him, making scrapbooks and being a typical teenager. College, marriage and career intervened. I remember being sad when Mr. Taylor died. I mailed two huge scrapbooks to Ursula Thiess. I hope she got them. Time passed, retirement, moving to Florida. Then in 2012 my husband Fred pointed that there were two Robert Taylor movies that evening on Turner Classic Movies--"Ivanhoe" and "Quentin Durward." I watched both and it happened all over again. I started this blog both for fans and for people who didn't know about Robert Taylor. As the blog passes 200,000 views I'm delighted that so many people have come by and hope it will help preserve the legacy of this fine actor and equally good man.
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