Chico Ravelli runs a soda shop near a college campus, where the students hang out, exchange wisecracks, and sing.
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Unknown  
1951  

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Series cast summary:
...  Chico Ravelli 1 episode, 1951
Stanley Prager ...  Himself 1 episode, 1951
Jimmy Brock ...  Himself (singer / ... 1 episode, 1951
Kenny Buffert ...  Himself - (singer / ... 1 episode, 1951
Reynolds Evans ...  Dean Frost 1 episode, 1951
Joan Holloway ...  Herself 1 episode, 1951
Paula Huston ...  Herself 1 episode, 1951
...  Mr. Chadwick 1 episode, 1951
...  Josephine 1 episode, 1951
Lee Lindsey ...  Himself 1 episode, 1951
...  Himself 1 episode, 1951
Paul Parks ...  Mr. Thomas 1 episode, 1951
...  Herself 1 episode, 1951
Evelyn Ward ...  Herself 1 episode, 1951
...  Himself 1 episode, 1951
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Chico Ravelli runs a soda shop near a college campus, where the students hang out, exchange wisecracks, and sing.

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Genres:

Comedy | Family

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2 October 1950 (USA)  »

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Originally the title for this show was to be Ravelli's Sugar Bowl. See more »

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Featured in Biography: Andy Williams (2003) See more »

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This varsity is a drag
15 February 2003 | by See all my reviews

In the 1940s, in between the Marx Brothers movies, Chico Marx was the leader of a swing band called Chico Marx and his Ravellis (named after the bandleader Chico had played in 'Animal Crackers'). The vocalist for this band was Mel Torme. The Ravellis could have been a 'comedy' band in the tradition of the bands led by Spike Jones and Kay Kyser, but in fact the Ravellis did fairly straightforward dance-band material ... enlivened by Chico Marx's piano solos, with his distinctive fingerwork on the keys. The modest success of this band led to a modestly successful tv show, 'The College Bowl', the only sustained tv performance by Chico Marx.

'The College Bowl' was a low-budget musical-variety series, filmed entirely on one stage set representing the soda shop near a college campus where the students hung out all day. (Classes? What classes?) Chico Marx played the manager/soda jerk of this establishment. Chico performed this role with his usual Italian dialect, but he played a more intelligent character here than he played in the Marx Brothers movies ... and his notorious puns and mangled English were kept to a strict minimum here. Chico presided over the festivities while a group of clean-cut college boys and co-eds sang and danced in his soda shop. One of these kids was the young Andy Williams, already distinguishing himself by virtue of his good looks, talent and smooth voice.

There was a piano in one corner of the soda shop, and Chico played this to accompany the singing college kids. Just occasionally, Chico would do a piano solo that gave him a chance to exhibit his fancy fingerwork. For an elaborate dance number, one of the kids would put a nickel in the (prop) jukebox, and this would be the cue for some recorded orchestra music to play.

Most of the tunes performed here were in keeping with the college theme, such as 'The Sweetheart of Sigma Chi', 'The Varsity Drag', 'Down the Old Ox Road' and 'Collegiate'. This latter number (performed in vaudeville by the Ritz Brothers) is the tune which Chico Marx played as his piano solo in the movie 'Horse Feathers', intercutting riffs from 'Mary Had a Little Lamb' and 'Dixie'. He played the same tune in 'The College Bowl', but without the elaborate fingerwork.

The word to describe 'The College Bowl' is most likely "quaint". It was done on a very low budget, with poor production values. Regrettably, none of Chico's siblings showed up as guest stars. I suspect that Chico Marx agreed to do this series in order to pay off some of his gambling debts.


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