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Groucho Marx hosts a quiz show which features a series of competitive questions and a great deal of humourous conversation.
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11   10   9   8   7   6   … See all »
1961   1960   1959   1958   1957   1956   … See all »
Nominated for 7 Primetime Emmys. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete series cast summary:
Groucho Marx ...  Himself - Host 203 episodes, 1950-1961
George Fenneman George Fenneman ...  Himself - Announcer 203 episodes, 1950-1961
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Storyline

You Bet Your Life was taken from Groucho's radio series of the same name. It was inspired after Groucho had done an improvisational scene with Bob Hope on radio. The idea was the same as it later was with Bill Cosby: to invite people on and have an unrehearsed conversation with them. Groucho could always be counted on to enliven the banter with his unique blend of comedy and wit. After talking with Groucho for several minutes, the contestants chose quiz questions from a category they had preselected and, if they answered them correctly, won money. Written by <A.Briggs@RHBNC.AC.UK>

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

5 October 1950 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Betcha Life See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

FilmCraft Productions See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

On 11 August 2009 the US Postal Service issued a pane of twenty 44¢ commemorative postage stamps honoring early USA television programs. A booklet with 20 picture postal cards was also issued. On the stamp honoring "You Bet Your Life", star Groucho Marx appears with the stuffed duck that appeared from above with a $100 bill in his mouth whenever a contestant said the "secret word". Other shows honored in the Early TV Memories issue were: The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet (1952), Alfred Hitchcock Presents (1955), The Dinah Shore Show (1951), Dragnet (1951), "The Ed Sullivan Show" (originally titled The Ed Sullivan Show (1948)), The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show (1950), Hopalong Cassidy (1952), The Honeymooners (1955), "The Howdy Doody Show" (original title: The Howdy Doody Show (1947)), I Love Lucy (1951), Kukla, Fran and Ollie (1947), Lassie (1954), The Lone Ranger (1949), Perry Mason (1957), The Phil Silvers Show (1955), The Red Skelton Hour (1951), "Texaco Star Theater" (titled Texaco Star Theatre (1948), 1954-1956), The Tonight Show (which began as Tonight! (1953)), and The Twilight Zone (1959). See more »

Quotes

Groucho: May I kiss your wife?
Contestant: That would have to be over my dead body.
Groucho: Have it your way. Fenneman, get the gun!
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Mystery Science Theater 3000: Crash of Moons (1992) See more »

Soundtracks

Hooray for Captain Spaulding
Music and Lyrics by Bert Kalmar and Harry Ruby
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User Reviews

Fun show, even for a kid
14 July 2005 | by davebeedonSee all my reviews

Groucho sat behind a high desk or lectern, talking to his announcer, the contestants, and the audience, raising his eyebrows or grinning slyly to make or emphasize a joke. He often fiddled with his ever-present cigar. I can't remember if he actually smoked the cigar on the show, but it would not surprise me if he did, as smoking was pervasive in those days.

"You Bet Your Life" was probably shot on a theater stage, as I remember curtains behind the performers. The announcer/straight man George Fenneman, stood nearby (left side of TV screen), his dark hair lying tight against his scalp, perhaps slicked down with Brylcreem or something similar. (To see Fenneman in a dramatic role, watch the original version of the movie "The Thing.") When this show aired on TV in the 1950s, I was in grade school so the verbal humor, aimed at adults, usually went over my head. From a kid's perspective the best part of the show was the institution of the "secret word," announced to the audience (but not the contestants) before contestants appeared on the stage. If a contestant uttered the secret word during the show, he or she would win extra money. Groucho mentioned this concept when introducing the guests at the start of their appearance ("Say the secret word and win $100.") If a contestant said the secret word, it was acknowledged with the appearance of a puppet-type duck that was lowered from above on a string or wire. The duck's mouth held an envelope containing the money and its face was modeled after Groucho's: mustache, thick eyebrows, and (I think) a cigar in its mouth. Great fun!


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