A Conversation for Groucho Marx - Writer and Actor

"You Bet Your Life"

Post 1

Steve K.

" ... instead of being confined to a banal script or his worn-out screen character, Groucho could be himself, ad-libbing to his heart's content with the contestants."

Up to a point. I've read that the end came after an exchange with a woman contestant who had a LOT of children. When Groucho asked about the large number, she said, "Well, you like smoking a cigar, don't you?" And Groucho replied, "Yes, but I take it out once in a while." End of show, as I've read (the last in a long line of off color comments, which, of course, we all now relish).


"You Bet Your Life"

Post 2

Bagel

Just to say that I've been watching the re-runs of You Bet Your Life that have recently started on Simply Nostalgia, a channel on Sky Digital (262). Groucho is fantastic and it's driven me to go out and buy a few Marx brothers films ... which are remarkably cheap.

Didn't Bill Cosby do a version of YBYL on TV a few years ago? I seem to rememebr it being on after the Big Breakfast in the early 90s on Ch4.


"You Bet Your Life"

Post 3

Steve K.

I vaguely recall the Cosby version of YBYL. I'm a big fan of Cosby's early standup humor ("Noah! This is the Lord, Noah!" "Right! Who is this really?") but somehow he didn't fit the Groucho mold. Too warm and fuzzy ... or something.


"You Bet Your Life"

Post 4

Tonsil Revenge (PG)

"Up to a point. I've read that the end came after an exchange with a woman contestant who had a LOT of children. When Groucho asked about the large number, she said, "Well, you like smoking a cigar, don't you?" And Groucho replied, "Yes, but I take it out once in a while." End of show, as I've read (the last in a long line of off color comments, which, of course, we all now relish). "

Recent research by Robert Dwan and other characters, including the people at Snopes, indicates that while this might have happened, it happened during the radio days of the program and it was neither broadcast nor saved as part of an outtake collection. Those who think they remember the incident have various versions themselves.
One involves the comment (in whatever form) being made to the father, not the mother.

"Why do you have so many children?"
"I love my wife."
"I love my cigar, but I take it out of my mouth once in a while!"

Groucho himself evidently told and retold a version of this anecdote, but only after it was printed elsewhere. A viewing of the episodes and outtakes on the "You Bet Your Life: The Lost Episodes" DVD collection shows that Groucho often came close to similar comments on a regular basis, some of which made it on the air.


"You Bet Your Life"

Post 5

Steve K.

Thanks for the tip, I wasn't aware of the "Lost Episodes" DVD. From Amazon:

" ... these well-produced DVDs also include a wealth of You Bet Your Life artifacts: the "stag reels" showcase Groucho's deft handling of "mature humor" edited from the original broadcasts; a behind-the-scenes film reveals the show's inner workings and primary staff; and ads for Plymouth/DeSoto dealers (the show's sole sponsor) are quaintly charming by latter-day standards. Best of all, Groucho's original radio audition is included, along with a priceless 10-minute radio clip featuring Groucho and Bob Hope--a comedy gem that led to Groucho's long-term employment on television." smiley - clown


"You Bet Your Life"

Post 6

Tonsil Revenge (PG)

I don't know why that reviewer would say that Desoto was the show's sole sponsor. The shows in the "Lost Episodes" collection display other sponsors on the set, including "Prom", "Whisk", a toothpaste I can't remember, and a bar soap.
In fact, Groucho makes several references to the transitory nature of his sponsors, even checking the front of his desk during at least two episodes to see who it was at that very moment!

The "Lost Episodes" exist for a very curious and nefarious reason: Jerry Fielding, the music director, was tossed to the dogs of HUAC in order to keep them from supoenaing Groucho to question him about his connections to ostensibly Jewish Socialists who were tarred with the same brush as Communists.


"You Bet Your Life"

Post 7

Oberon2001 (Scout)

"I don't know why that reviewer would say that Desoto was the show's sole sponsor"
Well, that's what I was told in PR, so that's what I put in. Any changes you want to submit go to the Update Forum (for biggish changes) or Editoral Feedback.
Oberon2001


"You Bet Your Life"

Post 8

Tonsil Revenge (PG)

smiley - huh
I was responding to posting #5 and talking about the reviewer at Amazon!

Notice the difference in these two
odd collections of characters:
reviewer
researcher

Don't look much alike, do they?

Besides, why would anyone take seriously anything said in PR?
smiley - biggrin


"You Bet Your Life"

Post 9

Tonsil Revenge (PG)

"Well, that's what I was told in PR, so that's what I put in."

Well, no, you didn't. Casual perusal of the entry shows no mention of any sponsor beyond the original, Elgin American.

You didn't do anything wrong. So go back to whatever it was you were doing before you thought you did. smiley - biggrin


"You Bet Your Life"

Post 10

Oberon2001 (Scout)

*Grabs shovel and starts digging*

Deeper Esmeralda, or we'll never make it to the pit of despair!

Oberon2001 (throughly red-faced)


"You Bet Your Life"

Post 11

Tonsil Revenge (PG)

I hear the Slough of Despond has a nice fresh layer of muck...


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"You Bet Your Life"

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