Monday, January 31, 2022

Episode 43: I Take it Out Once in a While (featuring Jay Hopkins)

It's our first episode of 2022, and here we are again with a thousand dollars for one of our couples. Say the secret word and divide an extra hundred dollars. It's a common word...

Official description: "A supersized deep dive into You Bet Your Life.

"First, Marx Brotherhood founder Jay Hopkins joins us to talk about the origins of the series, its unique and sometimes controversial way of production, and how Groucho wanted and needed to evolve from his screen persona. We also discuss the show’s most famous moment…which likely didn’t happen at all.

"Later, we are treated to a never-before-heard interview (and scrumptious meal) with Jay and You Bet Your Life head writer Bernie Smith from 1979. Bernie gives a frank firsthand account of working on the show, and isn’t afraid to ruffle a few feathers…including the duck’s."

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Photos of Bernie Smith, Jay Hopkins, and The Duck, 1979:


  1. I expect your Animal Crackers episode will be even longer than this marathon. If not, get your a prioris straight!

  2. I found this on Snopes: “A complete audio recording of (the broadcast portions of) Marion and Charlotte Story’s appearance on You Bet Your Life does indeed exist (and is linked below). Moreover, that recording couldn’t possibly date from 17 November 1947, as claimed, because Groucho can be heard making promotional references to DeSoto-Plymouth, who did not become sponsors of You Bet Your Life until partway through the 1949-50 season. (External evidence indicates this recording actually dates from the broadcast of 11 January 1950, the first show aired after DeSoto-Plymouth took over sponsorship of You Bet Your Life from Elgin-American.). What do we find in this recording? It does not include anything like the infamous “cigar” quip, Groucho’s only mention of stogies coming when he inquires of Mr. Story, “With each new kid, do you go around passing out cigars?” (“I stopped at about a dozen,” Mr. Story responds.) And for those who would claim that the “cigar” remark was indeed uttered by Groucho but excised from the aired version of the show, we note that none of the claimed dialogue ancillary to that remark is present in the recording, either: Groucho does not ask Charlotte Story why she has so many children, neither Mr. nor Mrs. Story professes to thinking that having children is “our purpose here on Earth,” nor does Mrs. Story proclaim that she loves her husband.”

    The whole article is below. You’ll need to scroll down to find the clip. It won’t let you have a hyperlink to the clip.

    1. I've seen the Snopes article. It makes some worthwhile points, similar to points we make in this episode -- the crucial one being that the remark was definitely never broadcast, and people who claim to remember seeing/hearing Groucho say it are mistaken. But the "claim," as presented by Snopes, is simply that Groucho made the remark, not that it was broadcast, and in trying to debunk that specific claim, I don't think the article is as conclusive as it wants to be. The author doesn't seem to understand how heavily edited YBYL was; certainly, the idea that "none of the claimed dialogue ancillary to that remark is present in the recording" means nothing in light of how the show was recorded and assembled. (Does he think they would keep the setup and cut the punchline?) As we say on the podcast, it's probably unlikely that the remark was spoken by Groucho. But none of the available evidence seems conclusive enough for the claim, as it's presented in the article, to be false by Snopes' usual standards.

    2. Thanks for that link. I had never heard this portion before. However if you listen when the woman announces how many children she has, there is a distinct cut in the audio. The crowd starts saying "Ooo" and that ends abruptly. So this could (not conclusive) have been where they edited out the dialogue.

    3. Of course it *could* have been ... but that doesn't alter the fact that Groucho denied ever saying it. Why would he do that?

  3. Another top-notch episode, this time with Jay Hopkins, who practically created Marx Brothers fanhood. And at the very end, a beautiful little shout out a very nice man and a very nice woman, because what would a Marx Brothers show without the lovers?. Love you both, Nick and Noelle!

  4. Prom was a home permanent for women.

    It was always very obvious when Groucho was reading off of the overhead projector.

    I thought Grouocho was a great spokesperson for DeSoto, especially when he did the one minute commercials where he stood outside the cars and told of its features. And remember at the time all stars of programs did commercials for their sponsers. This went on until the early 60s. Even the Monkees did commercials for Kelloggs (their sponser) in 1966.

    And that diner was doing a great business based on the plates that were being slammed around and the noise of the cash register printing receipts.

  5. Good hearing this Podcast about You Bet Your Life and especially hearing two of the greatest comedians of the 20th Century Groucho Marx and Bob Hope from the broadcast that led to Groucho finally getting his own successful radio program "You Bet Your Life" and it's always good hearing Jay Hopkins our leader in Marx fandom.

  6. An endurance test for sure given that I had to listen to it on headphones. I'm sure Harpo's ghost was contributing by dropping cutlery out of both sleeves.The Bernie Smith interview was well worth it. Keep up the good work.

  7. Thanks for the great episode! I just got around to listening to it but I'm glad I did.


Episode 50: The Gods Look Down and Laugh (Our Animal Crackers Deep Dive featuring Heidi Gassel)

Not every Marx Brothers fan would name  Animal Crackers  when asked which film is their favorite, but as it happens, all three of your hosts...