Groucho Marx hosted this popular game show for 14 years, and this set collects 18 episodes.The way the game works is as follows: a paired set of contestants comes out, and Grouchobanters with them, having fun with whatever way these people are unusual (and they frequentlyare). Then they are asked a series of questions. If they get four right, they win a thousand dollars,and have the opportunity to return at the end of the show to risk the money for a bigger pr…ze, orstay put with what they have. As well, if they utter a secret word known to Groucho and theaudience, they win another hundred bucks. There are plenty of opportunities for Groucho tocrack wise, and some of the contestants include a 12-year-old Candice Bergen, Phyllis Diller,Johnny Weissmuller and the like. The show is quirky and good-natured, and watching it reallytransports one back to another era.
The sound is mono, obviously. There are some pops and hisses, but the overall level of staticis very low for TV shows from the 1950s. Whatever shortcomings there are should be blamed onage, not the transfer.
The same is true for the picture. The image can be very grainy and scratched (usuallyimproving after the opening minutes), and there is no escaping the fact that we are dealing withartifacts from the infancy of television. Nonetheless, the picture is perfectly watchable –surprisingly so, all things considered.
The bonus features continue our exploration into this era of TV. There are three pilots forpost You Bet Your Life Groucho game shows: The Plot Thickens (in whichWilliam Castle had a hand), What Do You Want? and Tell It To Groucho. Eachdisc has “Stag Reels” of footage cut from a season for being too racy. Also present on each discare vintage commercials. Phyllis Diller provides commentary about her appearance on Disc 3. A24-page booklet serves as a guide to the discs and the series, and is a very nice inclusiion. All inall, as thorough a survey of the show as one could hope for. The menu is scored, and the mainscreen has a little TV screen with a motion frame.
Well done, Shout! Factory, for putting together this package. Essential viewiing for a look ata bygone TV age.
Special Features List
- “The Plot Thickens” Pilot
- “What Do You Want?” Pilot
- “Tell It To Groucho” Pilot
- Vintage Commercials
- Stag Reels
- Phylis Diller Commentary