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Gabe Kaplan As Groucho (1982)

Gabe Kaplan , John Bowab  |  VHS Tape
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Gabe Kaplan
  • Directors: John Bowab
  • Producers: Joseph Harris
  • Studio: J2 Communications
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000BI5YTS
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #468,784 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gabe Kaplan is a Great Groucho! April 28, 2012
Format:VHS Tape
In this videotaped stage show from 1982, Gabe Kaplan (best known for playing Mister Kotter on "Welcome Back Kotter") does a terrific job of playing Groucho Marx at various stages of his life.

Groucho tells his life story to the audience. At regular intervals, Kaplan and Michael Tucci as Chico faithfully (and hilariously) re-create some classic bits of dialogue from several Marx Brothers stage shows, films, and from a long-forgotten Marx Brothers radio program called "Flywheel, Shyster and Flywheel".

This production was co-written by Groucho's son, Arthur Marx, so you can safely assume most of the facts are accurate. The behind-the-scenes information about Groucho and his brothers are fascinating and surprising. This play does a great job of simultaneously entertaining while informing.

Like most of us, Groucho had his share of tragedies and setbacks in his long life, but the play never allows you to be sad for too long, as another hilarious Groucho zinger always comes promptly to lift the briefly somber mood.

One complaint: For no apparent reason, there is no actor playing Harpo. Harpo is represented by periodic off-stage horn honks.

Despite that one imperfection, I would highly recommend this taped performance to any fan of the Marx Brothers.

P.S. There is an alternate version of this same show available on DVD called "Groucho - A Life in Revue" starring Frank Ferrante as Groucho. I have not seen that version, so I cannot do any comparisons.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Kaplan inadequate as Groucho November 10, 2007
Format:VHS Tape|Verified Purchase
Gabe Kaplan is a poor choice as Groucho Marx in this stageshow adaptation. He's too tall, has beady eyes, can't do Groucho's peculiar bent-over stride and worst of all CANNOT sing on key! When Kaplan murders "Hooray For Captain Spaulding" and "Hello, I Must Be Going," I can just picture Mr. Marx spinning in his grave. Gabe's Groucho impression is average at best (Lewis J. Stadlen in MINNIE'S BOYS-- now THERE'S a Groucho!). He also falters badly when reenacting a few scenes with brother Chico-- his timing and delivery are all wrong, as if he'd never seen the original material.

As for the content and other cast members:
If you've read "Harpo Speaks!," "Groucho And Me" or any of a number of Marx Brothers bios, the storyline here will be an episodic rehash. For example, ACT 1 ends in 1930. When things resume, it's suddenly 1941! Nearly the entirety of the Marxes film career is glossed over.

Harpo is represented in this show as a spotlight on an empty stool beside a harp and an offstage horn that sounds nothing like the one Harp "spoke" with. In the 2001 revival, Roy Abramsohn does double duty as both Harpo and Chico. Chico here is an unrecognizable Stanley Tucci, who at least plays his role better than Kaplan does his. The third cast member (a young lady not mentioned at IMDb) has several parts, including two interviewers and a mediocre Maggie Dumont.

Therefore, sight unseen I'd recommend the DVD of GROUCHO - A LIFE IN REVIEW. It's GOT to be better than this!
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