You Bet Your Life

NBC (ended 1961)


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You Bet Your Life

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You Bet Your Life was the television version of Groucho Marx's popular radio series of the same name, which grew out of improvisational scenes Groucho had performed on radio with Bob Hope. Guests were invited to the show and asked to answer a few question for prize money. There was always a secret word, which was told to the audience at the start of each episode but not known to the participants, and if the contestants happened to mention the secret word during their interview with Groucho or during the contest, a dilapidated stuffed duck (bearing a strong resemblance to Groucho himself) would descend into their midst with the secret word around his neck and extra prize money would be granted. The duck was a reference to two popular Marx Brothers movies: Duck Soup and Cocoanuts, in which the famous "Why a Duck/viaduct" exchange took place between Chico and Groucho. Groucho was the master of the quip, and the brunt of his onstage verbiage was often borne by the show's tireless and good natured emcee, George Fenniman. You Bet Your Life aired for 11 seasons, the last season being re-titled The Groucho Show.moreless

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  • I have a DVD for this. It was fun and funny! Groucho is a good host!

    I only saw a few episodes, but they had something in common, they were certaintly superb! I know why monetery earnings are so low. ($1,000 was worth a lot more in the 50s.) If this show were running today with the same exact money amounts, it would proabably end up with low ratings and only 1 year of air-time. Groucho was a great host. He wasn't boring like some other game show hosts. The ?s were kinda-hard-but-fun. But, they should of put it in color. The mystery word thingy where the bird comes down when you say a certaint word in the interview. If you say the word, you win $1,000. It would be so random if you were the contestant. So the interview isn't as boring as some other game shows. Bottom line: Nice Show!!moreless
  • This was a show that for the first part of funny. It went to the ends of the earth to make people laugh. What made this show fly was the rapport that Groucho had with the contestants. Some of the jokes were risque, but they made for a great run.moreless

    My favorite quiz part was the 2nd installment. "If you miss 2 in a row, you're out, if you get 4 in a row right you win $1,000. Throughout its run, YBYL had influential people that really weren't A-list stars but were worth mentioning in the news.

    In my opinion, YBYL should have been scripted only to a certain point. Of course, Groucho would have "pushed" a joke or two past the censors. But to provide jokes to and for a man who had done them for living was extremely sickening. And by the way, in all of the episodes that I have seen, I've never seen him look up at the bowling screen.moreless