In a mythical Japan, Ko-Ko, a cheap tailor, has been appointed Lord High Executioner and must find someone to execute before the arrival of the ruling Mikado. He lights upon Nanki-Poo, a ... See full summary »




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Episode cast overview:
Martyn Green ...
Himself / Host
Robert Rounseville ...
Barbara Meister ...
Melinda Marx ...
Sharon Randall ...
Helen Traubel ...
The Bell Telephone Orchestra ...
The Norman Luboff Choir ...


In a mythical Japan, Ko-Ko, a cheap tailor, has been appointed Lord High Executioner and must find someone to execute before the arrival of the ruling Mikado. He lights upon Nanki-Poo, a strolling minstrel who loves the beautiful Yum-Yum. But Yum-Yum is also loved by Ko-Ko, and Nanki-Poo, seeing no hope for his love, considers suicide. Ko-Ko offers to solve both their problems by executing Nanki-Poo, and an agreement is reached whereby Ko-Ko will allow Nanki-Poo to marry Yum-Yum for one month, at the end of which Nanki-Poo will be executed, in time for the arrival of the Mikado. But what Ko-Ko doesn't know is that Nanki-Poo is the son of the Mikado and has run away to avoid a betrothal to an old harridan named Katisha. The arrival of the Mikado brings all the threads of the tale together. Written by Jim Beaver <>

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Release Date:

29 April 1960 (USA)  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs



Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Sir W.S. Gilbert and Sir Arthur Sullivan's comic opera "The Mikado or, The Town of Titipu" was their ninth of fourteen collaborations opening on March 14, 1885 in London at the Savoy Theatre and ran for 672 performances. See more »


Version of The Mikado (1973) See more »

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User Reviews

Groucho finds G & S
20 May 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I have only heard this production, as a record of the show has been sold in the 1970s (and I purchased a copy). Since I have not seen the actual production I have to base my enthusiasm on the recording, which suggests it was a good production, if heavily cut.

Certain comedians fit certain great dramatists. John McCabe once suggested that Chaplin would have been wonderful in Moliere's satires, and that Laurel & Hardy could easily have played Sir Andrew Aguecheek and Sir Toby Belch in Shakespeare's TWELFTH NIGHT. If I can suggest it, Groucho Marx might have essayed Gilbert and Sullivan's operettas. Groucho appears to have picked up on G & S after a vacation to Great Britain with his family in the 1930s. He returned and started collecting recordings of the D'Oyly Carte Company of the major operettas. He even studied the lives of the dramatist and his composer partner, discussing their gradual mutual dislike and split (his then wife had gotten so sick of hearing Groucho talk about them that she mentioned she had gotten to dislike both and could understand them splitting).

If Groucho had tried it,it would have been a solo act. Harpo and Chico would not have fit into the operetta (unless they were doing THE GONDALIERS, wherein Chico's accent might have been of use). Aside from Reginald Bunthorne's solicitor in PATIENCE and Mr. Go - To in THE MIKADO, there are no silent roles in the Savoy Operas for Harpo. Zeppo might have tagged along as the romantic interest (Nanki-poo in THE MIKADO, Ralph Rackstraw in HMS PINAFORE, Frederick in THE PIRATES OF PENZANCE). But only Groucho ever showed real interest in G & S. And only this one time did he attempt a performance.

He does well with it. He appreciates Gilbert's malicious wit, so he follows the direction well. No novel interpretation for him, as Eric Idle would demonstrate in his later version of THE MIKADO. As Martyn Green was involved in this production that reinforces Gilbert's staging and ideas from a key Savoyard. But it worked, and it shows what Groucho could have done on his own. Whether or not it would have worked in the long run is another matter. It is hard to think of Groucho, with his uninhabited wit and mouth, straight-jacketing his performing talents to Gilbert's words and staging. Perhaps it is just as well he did not follow THE MIKADO with H.M.S. PINAFORE, IOLANTHE, RUDDIGORE, and the rest. He hit the bell nicely in this 1960 production, and did not have to prove anything anymore again.

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