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You Bet Your Life - The Best Episodes (1950)

Groucho Marx , George Fenneman  |  NR |  DVD
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Groucho Marx, George Fenneman, Melinda Marx, Tuulikki Woods, Betina Consolo
  • Format: Box set, Black & White, Full Screen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Unknown)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 3
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Shout! Factory
  • DVD Release Date: July 27, 2004
  • Run Time: 570 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)
  • Shipping: Currently, item can be shipped only within the U.S. and to APO/FPO addresses. For APO/FPO shipments, please check with the manufacturer regarding warranty and support issues.
  • ASIN: B0002AHW3G
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #135,057 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "You Bet Your Life - The Best Episodes" on IMDb

Special Features

  • 18 episodes from over a decade of popular TV featuring appearances by Phyllis Diller, Edgar and Candace Bergen, Joe Louis, Johnny Weismuller, Frankie Avalon, Groucho's daughter Melinda Marx, Harpo Marx, and the show's trademark duck
  • 3 Groucho pilots including What Do You Want, Tell It to Groucho, and the never-before-seen The Plot Thickens
  • Outtakes and bloopers

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Groucho Marx is arguably the most famous, iconic comedian of all time. "You Bet Your Life" began on radio in 1947, ostensibly as a game show, and became a huge hit television program and as big a part of Groucho’s legacy as the amazing movies he made with his brothers earlier in his career.

After the start on radio, the show ran through 423 episodes from 1950 – 1961. These 18 episodes are some of the absolute best from over a decade of popular TV, restored for the highest quality sound and picture possible. They feature guest stars like Phyllis Diller, Edgar and Candace Bergen, Joe Louis, Johnny Weismuller, Frankie Avalon, Groucho's daughter Melinda Marx, Harpo Marx and the first appearance of the show's trademark duck.

DVD extras include three Groucho pilots including "What Do You Want", "Tell It To Groucho" and the never-before-seen "The Plot Thickens," plus tons of outtakes and bloopers.

The secret word for Groucho Marx fans is "DVD." This three-disc set collects a priceless archive of 18 complete and uncut episodes filmed between 1950 and 1960. The surprise success of the radio incarnation of You Bet Your Life assured for Groucho that there would be life after the Marx Brothers, whose film career came to a sad end with 1950's Love Happy. The television series would be an even bigger hit, and make Groucho a household name. You Bet Your Life was ostensibly a quiz show, but it was more just a forum for Groucho to crack wise with the contestants. These were mostly ordinary people with oddball jobs or interests, or extraordinary talents, like the man who blows up a tire's inner-tube on an episode included on disc 2. Knowing now that the program was carefully planned does not diminish the fun. There are many precious spontaneous moments, such as the trombone-playing female contestant who practically swoons over Groucho's announcer/straight man George Fenneman.

Appearances by some "special guests" add to this set's nostalgia value. Former Western star Hoot Gibson, Johnny "Tarzan" Weissmuller, and former boxing champion Joe Louis play the game, as do future stars Candice Bergen (age 11-1/2) and comedian Phyllis Diller in her first television appearance. Marx Brothers fans will cherish the now-poignant cameo by Harpo (hawking his autobiography, Harpo Speaks!) and the Creamy Prom commercials featuring Harpo and Chico. Screen and songwriter Harry Ruby, who looms large in Marxian folklore (he co-wrote Horse Feathers and Duck Soup), sings a delightful duet with Groucho, "The Window Cleaners." This set's special features aren't horse feathers either. There are rare pilots for some failed post-You Bet Your Life quiz shows, vintage commercials, and so-called "stag reels," featuring mildly risqué humor that censors cut from final broadcast. And now, to quote Fenneman, it's time to sit back, and relax, and enjoy the best of Groucho. --Donald Liebenson

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
58 of 58 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Groucho-DeSoto Connection March 25, 2004
Incredible as it may seem, most of the "lost episodes" in this Groucho Marx DVD collection might have been lost forever. In the early 1970s, the geniuses at NBC planned to destroy ALL the "You Bet Your Life" programs for the sole purpose of freeing up some warehouse space. Fortunately, Groucho and producer John Guedel thwarted this cultural crime and reissued the comedy-quiz shows for late-night syndication with successful results. However, the "Best of Groucho" package was re-edited to eliminate any trace of the DeSoto-Plymouth references from the original broadcasts. Upon viewing this excellent three-disc set, the viewer is immediately aware of DeSoto's dominant sponsorship of "You Bet Your Life" and the major role Groucho played in the selling of its automobiles - lending his trademark image to its used-car dealerships. The "stag reels," promotional films and DeSoto commercials featured in this collection make for fascinating and historic viewing. Of course, there's the long-awaited pleasure of seeing 18 unedited "You Bet Your Life" programs for the first time since the 1950s - a remarkable find comparable to the "lost" Jackie Gleason kinescopes. The result is a valuable addition to Groucho's comic legacy.
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46 of 46 people found the following review helpful
This nicely-presented 3-Disc collector's set of Groucho Marx' "You Bet Your Life" TV program is a real treat. While viewing these restored episodes and rare outtakes and bonus materials, I really get the feeling of owning something very rare and special from TV's bygone era.

The 18 episodes on these three discs have been remastered for DVD, and they look pretty good, although quite a bit of dirt and grain still remain on the prints. But, after all, these shows are 50 years old! I guess we shouldn't expect perfect video quality. The prints, although far from perfection, have indeed been cleaned-up considerably. For proof, just watch some of the outtakes included in this set. It's fairly obvious that the restoration team didn't touch any of these outtake clips, for they are far worse in quality than the full episodes themselves.

A variety of different seasons are represented among the shows in this package. Groucho's TV version of "You Bet Your Life" ran from 1950 to 1961. This DVD compilation includes episodes spanning the years 1950-1959, including the October 1950 debut program (with a "secret word" of "Wall").

Here's a breakdown of the years that are represented within this DVD package (indicating the year the programs initially aired):
1950 -- 2 episodes.
1951 -- 1 episode.
1952 -- 4 episodes.
1953 -- 3 episodes.
1954 -- 3 episodes.
1955 -- 1 episode.
1956 -- 2 episodes.
1957 -- No episodes.
1958 -- 1 episode.
1959 -- 1 episode.

Watching Groucho, with cigar ever-present, banter with his guests (some famous, but most just regular folk from the studio audience) is sure to bring a smile to the face of anyone who purchases this deluxe DVD set.
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40 of 41 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Best (and Some of the Worst) of Groucho October 17, 2004
"The Best Episodes" is a worthy follow-up to last year's Groucho Marx "Lost Episodes" DVD collection. Once again, there are 18 unedited "You Bet Your Life" programs that have not been viewed since the original broadcasts, along with a plethora of special guests, blooper reels and vintage commercials (including the famous Creamy Prom spot with Harpo and Chico). Running from 1947 to 1961, the comedy-quiz show was a perfect vehicle for Groucho's razor-sharp talents, which became evident when Groucho and producer John Guedel attempted a new format in the early 1960s with THREE less-than-stellar pilots - all featured in this DVD set. The inclusion of these unsuccessful ventures does throw the overall collection somewhat off-balance. Nevertheless, there are enough memorable laughs to satisfy any die-hard Marxist.
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24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gotta Buy This One! March 15, 2004
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
This DVD set is even better than I expected, and I expected a lot of laughs. The production of the show itself is charming, Groucho is great, the guests are (usually unintentionally) funny, and the extras showing the commercials, bloopers, etc. are all superb. And the video quality is excellent as well. Groucho's wit, especially when working on a nervous contestant, is something to behold. Sometimes the simplest concepts are the best. These shows are better than most Marx Bros movies!
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29 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More laughs than you can poke a stick at! August 9, 2004
'Y.B.Y.L. - The Lost Episodes' was brilliant. So much so that I feared this DVD, 'Y.B.Y.L. - The Best Episodes', would not meet my high expectations. How wrong I was! Of course B&W and on very simple sets they were again with very good sound and picture quality, (considering the age I think they have done very well).

The packaging is excellent and again it comes with a 10page booklet.

There were more special guests in these three DVDs. And they were entertaining. However, the not-so-ordinary men/women off the street were the real stars of the show. Groucho Marx was a unique talent. His skills in comedy and conversation were exceptional. *Please note, it should be said that this was made before political correctness reared its boring head stunting the world's humour and our abilities to laugh at ourselves and each other.

No doubt about it. A very good buy with lots of laughs.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Always a favourite of mine even in black and white DVD medium.
Published 2 months ago by Nikolaus Szkutko
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Groucho at his best!
Published 2 months ago by L. DeMinico
5.0 out of 5 stars He is one of the GREATEST Comedians. His routines is unrehearsed and...
He is one of the GREATEST Comedians. His routines is unrehearsed and his comedy is spontaneous with the contestants along with a good game show. Read more
Published 3 months ago by William Jacobs
4.0 out of 5 stars Classic Comedy
This was a fun show that captured America. Amazing considering this was live TV, and that Groucho did this dialogue on the fly.
Published 7 months ago by Lajean Keller
4.0 out of 5 stars Hooray For The Captain! I the only one who remembers seeing these shows? This is possibly the second best collection ever, second only to Shout's other set. Read more
Published 10 months ago by MJ
5.0 out of 5 stars Groucho at his best
These episodes were in the best shape, having seen a number of them on the public domain DVDs. My wife and I agreed that Groucho's humor is timeless and we had many laugh out loud... Read more
Published 11 months ago by W. D. Waller
5.0 out of 5 stars Funny
Didn't realize this program was so funny, iit sure beats the heck out what's playing today as far as humor goes.
Published 12 months ago by Jerry
1.0 out of 5 stars Annoyingly bad!
This man, a legend in comedy proves on this collection that he is, by far, the most annoying and ignorant host of game show history. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Bt
5.0 out of 5 stars You Bet Your Life - Lost Episodes
I've chosen this item because i'm very fond of Groucho Marx and the quizz "You Bet Your Life". I've been entertaint so much watching this DVD. Read more
Published 13 months ago by Evan Tvede
2.0 out of 5 stars miscommunication
The dvd itself is awesome, because I already had bought it. When I purchased this dvd, it was listed as the "lost episodes", and didn't register as the best episodes until... Read more
Published 14 months ago by Jenny Signor
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