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Your First Impression (16 August 1962)

Appearing as Mystery Guest

Broadcast 16 August 1962 on the NBC television network.

First game show produced by Monty Hall, later of Let's Make a Deal fame. This show featured a panel of celebrities whose job it was to deduce the identity of various mystery guests based upon that individual's responses to certain words or phrases. The panelists for this episode were two of the stars of The Dick Van Dyke Show: Morey Amsterdam and Mary Tyler Moore; and actor, writer (later of The Mary Tyler Moore Show), and producer George Kirgo.

The first half of this program involved the panelists first questioning a man about himself, then attempting to determine which of three women were his wife. The man's name was Gordon Penny, and several of the questions and answers dealt with money and his spending habits. At one point, Morey Amsterdam quipped that his real name ought to be "Mr. Penny Pincher," thus leading to another joke made by Monty Hall later in the broadcast.

At the beginning of the second half, a booth is visible behind the panelists with its doors closed. The Mystery Celebrity is seated inside this booth and is not visible to anyone in the studio or television audience. The panelists have a list of the beginnings of sentences, which they read aloud, and then the Mystery Celebrity finishes each sentence. Below is a transcript of the second half of the program:

Monty Hall: Panel, our Mystery Celebrity is now in place and here are the possibilities: The dynamic singer and actor Bobby Darin, master of the twangy guitar Duane Eddy, co-star of Route 66 Martin Milner, star pitcher of the Los Angeles Dodgers Sandy Koufax, or the rising young motion picture actor James MacArthur. Our guest is one of these five. Now, the panel and the studio audience cannot hear the celebrity’s responses. The home audience will hear the celebrity’s voice along with me, and I’ll relay the answers to our panel as I get them over this little earpiece <gesturing>. Remember that the responses given by our Mystery Celebrity are their actual first impression -- the first thing that pops into their mind. They are not intended to fool the panel in any way, just to provide clues so that they can identify our mystery person. We’ll start this round of questioning with Mr. Penny Pincher -- Morey Amsterdam.

MA: <laughs> Thank you, folks. Don’t ever ask me to ...

JM: ... get up and dance.

MA: I am not the kind of a man who ...

JM: ... comes home late.

MA: Just once, I’d like a woman to tell me ...

JM: ... baby, you send me.

MH: And here’s a baby who sends me -- Mary Tyler Moore.

MTM: Thank you. It annoys me when a woman ...

JM: ... is too made up.

MTM: More than anyone, I’d like to meet ...

JM: ... Spencer Tracy.

MTM: I’ll always remember the first time I ...

JM: <laughing> ... got drunk.


MH: George Kirgo.

GK: Sounds like a Los Angeles Dodger <more laughter>. A woman looks silly when she tries to ...

JM: ... play baseball.

GK: If I could be a book, I’d like to be ...

JM: <long pause> ... The Iliad.

GK: I have a ... oh, The Iliad! <makes a disgusted face, followed by laughter> I have a problem when it comes to...

JM: ... my wife.


MH: All right, panel. That concludes the first round. We will reveal our Mystery Celebrity to our audience in just a moment. Who do you think it is?

<commercial break>

MH: Now we’re going to reveal our Mystery Celebrity to our audience. Tell me, do you think it’s Bobby Darin, or did those answers come from a Duane Eddy or a Marty Milner? Perhaps ball-playing Sandy Koufax or James MacArthur. We will reveal our Mystery Celebrity to everyone except our panel.

<doors open on the booth to reveal JM, who smiles and waves at the ensuing applause, then holds a finger to his lips in a "shushing" gesture>

MH: Well, everybody out there knows who it is, except this panel right here. We continue with our second round of questioning, and we’ll start off this time with George Kirgo.

GK: Thanks, Monty. When I’m hungry, nothing tastes as good as ...

JM: ... Caesar’s salad.

GK: I always get my way when it comes to ...

JM: ... money.

GK: Few people know that I once passed up the chance to ...

JM: ... be an archeologist.

GK: Oh, I never knew that! I often get the urge to ...

JM: <shrugging helplessly> ... do many things.

GK: Watch it! The thing I remember most about my childhood is ...

JM: ... a happy one.

MH: Thank you, George. Now Mary.

MTM: All right. If it weren’t against the law, I’d ...

JM: ... speed all the time.


MTM: I made a big mistake the time I ...

JM: ... left college.

MTM: My childhood idol was ...

JM: ... Spencer Tracy.

MTM: Count me out when the conversation turns to ...

JM: ... frivolity.

MTM: It makes me nervous when a woman ...

JM: ... gets too close.


MTM: I always close my eyes when ...

JM: ... I’m in the dark.

MH: Over to you Morey.

MA: All right. I hope the time never comes when I ...

JM: <fumbling hard for an answer before shrugging and throwing hands up in defeat>

MH: No answer. Try another one.

MA: It’s easy to tell when a woman ...

JM: ... likes you.

MA: I’d be a lot happier if ...

JM: ... I was employed 62 weeks a year.

MA: Nothing is more thrilling than ...

JM: ... being on television.

MA: When I want to relax, I ...

JM: ... take off my shirt.

MH: There are some very interesting answers there from a young man who was telling you everything that was on his mind. Now, that concludes our final round. You’ve heard the responses of our Mystery Celebrity. I want you to think about them, we’ll come right back to hear your conclusions as to who it is in just a moment.

<commercial break>

MH: Panel, on the basis of the first impressions you heard, what are you conclusions? We’ll start off with George Kirgo.

GK: Well, there was a very interesting response when this gentleman hiding there in the booth says that his favorite book was The Iliad. Now, as most of you know, The Iliad was written by that great writer, Homer. “Homer.” Get it? Sandy Koufax plays baseball. “Homer.” It’s like a Freudian slip on his part, and he also said that he can’t stand women who play baseball, and he said he has a problem with his wife. But I understand Sandy Koufax isn’t married. <laughter> And that may be the problem. So, I rule out Sandy Koufax, Homer, The Iliad, and the Los Angeles Dodgers. Which leaves us with a serious actor who has always admired Spencer Tracy, and who if it weren’t against the law, he’d speed, which means he’s been spending too much time on Route 66. He’d like to work there 62 weeks of the year, and for all I care, he can, because I think he’s a very good actor. Martin Milner.

<during all of this, we can see JM seated behind the panelists becoming more and more amused at this misidentification>

MH: Next to Mary Tyler Moore.

MTM: I think right off the bat, I’m going to reveal it. I agree with you, George. I think it’s Martin Milner. For one thing, singing or music never came up once in the whole conversation, and that rules out Bobby Darin and Duane Eddy, because that’s their whole life. Just the fact that baseball was mentioned once, I happen to agree with whoever this is, that women do look silly playing baseball. I think it’s a man’s sport. The fact that he said if it weren’t against the law, he’d like to speed makes me think it’s Marty Milner, and also the fact that he said he’d like to be employed 62 weeks a year and he enjoys being on TV. That indicates a series. I think it’s Martin Milner.

<again, we see JM looking rather pleased with himself for fooling two panelists>

MH: Okay, two votes now for Marty Milner and speeding along Route 66, but we speed along to Morey Amsterdam.

MA: Well, I don’t want to be a conformist, so I’m going to try somebody else. At first, I thought it was Koufax because he hurt his finger, I understand, recently, and that would probably keep him out of the game and give him a chance to be here. And also, he mentioned something about The Iliad, which also came to me, but he said about working all year round. Most baseball players don’t. But now I switch over to an actor because he mentioned Spencer Tracy. And then he also said something about he’ll never forget the first time he got drunk. He probably liked the great picture that Tracy made, you now, that Black Day at White Rock. <laughter> So, I’m going to go right down to the bone and say that it’s James MacArthur.

<JM looks a little stunned and mildly annoyed that he didn't score a clean sweep in fooling everyone>

MH: All right. Thank you, Morey. We have two votes for Marty Milner and one for young Jim MacArthur. And right now I’m going to let you meet the young man who is speeding through the curtain. But he doesn’t happen to be the one you’re thinking of. He’s the one that Morey’s thinking of. Here is James MacArthur.

<applause as JM steps out from behind the curtain and takes his seat next to Monty Hall>

MH: You know, I don’t really think that just saying “Jim MacArthur,” and have him come out like that is really a sufficient introduction for this young man who, some people know, but others don’t realize, is the son of probably one of the greatest marriages in the American theatre and letters. He is the son of not only the First Lady of the American Theater, Helen Hayes, but one of the greatest writers we ever had, Charles MacArthur. This is the product of that wonderful marriage.

<lengthy applause>

MH: To set out at the beginning, Jim, I don’t want to take away from your own career, which is developing so quickly, and you’re becoming a star so fast that pretty soon, Mommy is going to sit back there and think proudly of her boy and I hope they’ll remember Helen Hayes.

JM: Well, I think they will. You know, she’s done all right. <smiling sardonically> Fifty years or so ...

MH: I think fifty years, she’s done pretty well. We have some questions that our panel are going to ask you after we return in just a moment.

<commercial break>

MH: Well now, the panel are dying to ask a few questions, Jim. So, we’ll start off with Mary.

MTM: Jim, I happen to know you’re married to one of the most delightful young ladies that I have every known, Joyce, and she is a wonderful little actress and a comedienne. <smiling indignantly> What do you mean, you have a problem?

JM: <laughing> Well, I couldn’t think of anything, so that was all I could say.

MTM: <makes scoffing and "shame on you" noises>


MH: Well, he’s got one now when he tries to explain to her what he meant by that.

JM: Well, no, she’ll see the whole show, so it’ll be all right.


MH: George?

GK: Yeah, Jim, you said that you were sorry when you left college. Didn’t you go to Harvard?

JM: I did, but I left after two years.

GK: Oh, are you sorry because now maybe you’d be working in the government or what?

JM: <laughing> No. I could do without that at the moment.

GK: Oh, yeah?

JM: Well, I think they have a enough headaches, you know, without me.

MA: George is always interested in college because he took a four-year course in ignorance.


MA: He finished it in two years! I didn’t mean anything, by the way, I’d like to apologize, about tying in Spencer Tracy with people getting drunk. I was thinking of Dean Martin. Actually, they want to do a story at 20th Century -- the life story of Dean Martin, but they can’t get a liquor license.


MH: Well, I’m not sure what 20th Century is doing right now, but I know that Columbia is putting out a picture called The Interns, in which Jim MacArthur is one of the stars. It has Nick Adams, Mike Callan, Cliff Robertson, and Suzy Parker. And that’s quite a picture -- quite an array of stars, and a great break for you too, Jim. Thank you so much for being with us on the show today.

JM: My pleasure, Monty.

MH: I’d like to thank our panel: Morey Amsterdam, Mary Tyler Moore, and George Kirgo. Be with us again tomorrow at the same time. We’ll have lots more fun playing your first impression. This is Monty Hall saying “so long.” See you again tomorrow!

James MacArthur

James MacArthur, Morey Amsterdam, Mary Tyler Moore, George Kirgo

James MacArthur

James MacArthur

James MacArthur

James MacArthur

James MacArthur

James MacArthur

James MacArthur, Monty Hall

James MacArthur, Monty Hall

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