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How You Bet Your Life was Saved

You Bet Your Life was a game show hosted by Groucho Marx that aired from 1950 to 1961. In 1973, Andy Marx was 21 years old and having lunch with his grandfather Groucho Marx. Also at the lunch were Marcel Marceau, Eliot Gould, and Jack Nicholson. When the phone rang, Andy answered it.

“Grandpa Groucho, there’s a man calling from the NBC warehouse in New Jersey, who says they’ve got several boxes of reels of ‘You Bet Your Life’ they’re going to destroy unless you want them.”

“Tell him to burn them for all I care,” my grandfather said, eliciting laughs from his guests. These days it was hard to tell if he was just doing his grouchy act for his invited audience or truly didn’t care.

“Grandpa, you don’t really want them doing the same thing they did to Oscar Levant’s show,” I said, referring to what had happened to all the copies of his good friend, Oscar Levant’s classic show from the ‘50s, “Information, Please,” when all of the kinescopes that existed were destoyed.

“He’s right,” Nicholson chimed in. “Groucho, that stuff is classic. Listen to your grandson. Let them send the reels to you.”

“Alright,” my grandfather said. “Maybe it’ll be fun to watch them again.”

And if the ball had been dropped by any of those people, we wouldn't have the TV show archived and available at Netflix and YouTube today. Read the rest of the story at Boing Boing. Link -via Metafilter


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It's sad that so much of the early TV era is lost. Would be great to be able to see old act on Ed Sullivan, Your Show of Shows, and early Steve Allen for example.
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