Show: Remembering When

Episode: 868-092 You Bet Your Life.mpg


Preview is only available to registered and logged in users.

Episode Description:

You Bet Your Life was an American quiz show that aired on both radio and television. The original and best-known version was hosted by Groucho Marx of the Marx Brothers, with announcer and assistant George Fenneman. The show debuted on ABC Radio in October 1947, then moved to CBS Radio in September 1949 before making the transition to NBC-TV in October 1950. Because of its simple format, it was possible to broadcast the show simultaneously on the radio and on television. In 1960, the show was renamed The Groucho Show and ran a further year. Most episodes are in the public domain.

The play of the game, however, was secondary to the interplay between Groucho, the contestants, and occasionally Fenneman. The program was rerun into the 1970s, and later in syndication as The Best of Groucho. As such, it was the first game show to have its reruns syndicated.

Contestant teams usually consisted of one male and one female, most selected from the studio audience. Occasionally, famous or otherwise interesting figures were invited to play (e.g., a Korean-American contestant who was a veteran and had been a prisoner of war during the Korean War).

After his signature introduction of "Here he is: the one, the only..." by Fenneman and finished by a thunderous "GROUCHO!" from the audience, Marx would be introduced to the music of "Hooray for Captain Spaulding", his signature song. After which, Groucho would be introduced to the contestants and engage in humorous conversation for a lengthy period of time where Groucho both improvised his responses and employed prepared lines written by the show's writers using preshow interviews.

Some show tension revolved around whether a contestant would say the "secret word", a common word revealed to the audience at the show's outset. If a contestant said the word, a toy duck resembling Groucho with a mustache and eyeglasses, and with a cigar in its bill, descended from the ceiling to bring a $100 bill. A cartoon of a duck with a cigar was also used in the opening title sequence. In one episode, Groucho's brother Harpo came down instead of the duck, and in another a model came down in a birdcage with the money. Marx sometimes slyly directed conversation to encourage the secret word to come up. The duck was also occasionally replaced with a wooden Indian figure.

The interviews were sometimes so memorable that the contestants became celebrities: "nature boy" health advocate Robert Bootzin; hapless Mexican laborer Pedro Gonzalez-Gonzalez and his offhandedly comic remarks; a witty housewife named Phyllis Diller; author Ray Bradbury; virtuoso cellist Ennio Bolognini; blues singer and pianist Gladys Bentley; strongmen Jack LaLanne and Paul Anderson; actors John Barbour and Ronnie Schell all appeared as contestants while working on the fringes of the entertainment industry.

Harland Sanders, who talked about his "finger-lickin'" recipe for fried chicken which he parlayed into the Kentucky Fried Chicken chain of restaurants, once appeared as a contestant. A guest purporting to be a wealthy Arabian prince was really writer William Peter Blatty; Groucho saw through the disguise, stating "You're no more a prince than I am because I have an Arabian horse and I know what they look like". Blatty won $10,000 and used the leave of absence the money afforded him to write The Exorcist. No one in the audience knew who contestant Daws Butler was until he began speaking in Huckleberry Hound's voice. He and his partner went on to win the top prize of $10,000. Cajun politician Dudley J. LeBlanc, a Louisiana state senator, demonstrated his winning style at giving campaign speeches in French. General Omar Bradley was teamed with an army private, and Marx goaded the private into telling Bradley everything that was wrong with the army. Professional wrestler Wild Red Berry admitted that the outcomes of matches were determined in advance, but that the injuries were real; he revealed a long list of injuries he had sustained.

Other celebrities, already famous, occasionally teamed with their relatives to win money for charity. Arthur Godfrey's mother Kathryn was a contestant and held her own with Marx. Edgar Bergen and his then 11-year-old daughter Candice teamed up with Marx and his daughter Melinda to win $1,000 for the Girl Scouts of the USA; Fenneman played quizmaster for this segment. Irwin Allen, Frankie Avalon, Lord Buckley, Sammy Cahn, Ray Corrigan, Sam Coslow, Don Drysdale, Hoot Gibson, Tor Johnson, Ernie Kovacs, Liberace, Joe Louis, Bob Mathias, Harry Ruby, Max Shulman, Fay Spain, John Charles Thomas, and Johnny Weissmuller also appeared on the program, among others. Harpo Marx appeared in 1961 to promote his just-published autobiography, Harpo Speaks.

Episode Short Description: N/A

Downloads of This Episode:

[SD File Downloads]: 13

[HD File Downloads]: 0

[Total File Downloads]: 13

 


SD (Standard Definition) File

File Name of SD Episode: 868-092 You Bet Your Life.mpg

Total SD Episode Video Runtime (hh:mm:ss): 00:32:10

File Size of SD Episode Video: 1,495,874,028 Bytes

Resolution of SD Episode Video: 720x480

Date SD Episode Video Uploaded: Sunday, January 13, 2013 - 11:13


HD (High Definition) File


This episode has not been uploaded by the producer in HD format and is not available for download.

If you wish to have HD format, you can private message a request to the show's producer at Remembering When .