Saturday, April 24, 2010

Saturday TV - You Bet Your Life

I suppose you could say this was one case where someone would be happy to hear the word "Duck!" intead of scared.

The story goes that Groucho Marx was supposed to make a guest appearance on Bob Hope's radio show. Miffed at having been made to wait too long in the dressing room, when he finally came on the show and was asked by Hope "Groucho, what brings you here from the hot desert?" his response was "Hot desert, my foot, I've been standing in the cold waiting room for 40 minutes." From that point on, Hope never regained control of his show, as Groucho improvised and wisecracked his way through the rest of the alotted time and beyond. Meanwhile producer John Guedel was listening in and afterward approached Groucho about hosting a game show that would be part interview and part quiz, but which would mostly focus on Groucho's impromptu style. At first reluctant, Groucho finally agreed, and You Bet Your Life was born.

The show began on radio in 1947 and moved to TV in the 50's. for awhile it was actually run both on the radio and television. The show lasted until 1961 when it was finally brought down in the wake of the 50's game show scandals. (Though YBYL itself was clean, because of the accusations of cheating running rampant through the industry, the public simply soured on game shows in general, and not even Groucho's brashness (nor a name change to The Groucho Show) could save it.)

Here, then, is an episode from the mid 50's:

Unitl next time, Happy Treasure Hunting,
-Professor Damian


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