MARX BROTHER TV COLLECTION Review

Bucking for Benny? Crazy for Carson? Advocating Amos and Andy? Need to know more about Uncle Miltie's legendary... joke file? Tune in here. (Rabbit Ears not included)
Richard M Roberts
Godfather
Posts: 2268
Joined: Sun May 31, 2009 6:30 pm

Re: MARX BROTHER TV COLLECTION Review

Postby Richard M Roberts » Mon Aug 04, 2014 4:49 pm

Robert Moulton wrote:The Benny show exists, it's the Nov 11, 1934 show. Jack mentions on the show that the Brothers were to have appeared but could not make it. Interesting that Jack refers to them as the Four Marx Brothers though Zeppo's departure had been announced in March that year.


Well, ick, I'm glad I hadn't heard it, that would be rather frustrating. Now, has the show from the same period with Wheeler and Woolsey turned up? That's the other one I wanted to hear.



The Hollywood Agents sketch is from Jan 15, 1937 not 1938 (when Jean Harlow jokes were definitely out). This wasn't the show that caused the plagiarism lawsuit. That one was The Hollywood Adventures of Mr Dibble and Mr Dabble which the Brothers performed on Sept 01, 1936 on station KHJ.




So HOLLYWOOD AGENTS was actually broadcast then? I always had it that it was a transcribed pilot And just where is THE HOLLYWOOD ADVENTURES OF MR. DIBBLE AND MR. DABBLE then? If it was the product of a lawsuit, someone should have transcribed it!



More than one and a half episodes of FSF exist, they're just not all in general circulation at the time. A few were recovered in the late 1960s when an RCA warehouse was to be demolished, those were 16 inch discs used for extension spotting and started ending up on ebay in 1999. Other sources include smaller aluminum discs made for the sponsor by Speak-O-Phone. Those are three minutes a side and explain snippets of the show that are that length.



Ahhhh, lovely Greedbay, so who bought em and who's hoarding them? That is good news though, I like the one and a half episodes of FSF that I've heard, so we do have a chance to hear more. I'm still tickled to get to see an episode of THE COLLEGE BOWL on THE MARX BROTHERS TV COLLECTION, though I would like to know how they can do a musical show with Chico Marx and not let him play the piano.



RICHARD M ROBERTS

Gary Johnson
Cugine
Posts: 656
Joined: Tue Jun 09, 2009 4:15 am
Location: Sonoma, CA
Contact:

Re: MARX BROTHER TV COLLECTION Review

Postby Gary Johnson » Mon Aug 04, 2014 10:46 pm

The Marxes were never really booked for the Benny show in the fall of 1934. That was the first year of the Jell-O program and one of Benny's silly running gags that season was pretending big stars would appear on his show and then at the last minute he would receive a telegram from them opting out. The previous season on The Chevrolet Program Jack had a reoccurring bit where he would throw a big Hollywood party or attend a movie premiere and shout out the names of the stars appearing. They in turn would all be imitated by a comic impressionist (and not very well, as I recall).

For the fact is, there was very little crossing over between radio and Hollywood personalities at this time. The concept of guest-starring was still a rather alien concept. And you certainly didn't appear on another comedian's show. It took the boom of the radio variety shows in the mid-30's to loosen up those restrictions of stars appearing on radio. Crosby and Vallee's competing programs began competing for guest stars. Parson's HOLLYWOOD HOTEL program also helped nudge the medium along.

And the main reason that Benny and his writers used the Four Marx Bros. that week was so Jack could introduce them with,
"Groucho, Chico, Harpo and.......uhh....say Don, what's the name of the fourth brother?"
"Jell-O"

"Goodnight folks..."

Richard M Roberts
Godfather
Posts: 2268
Joined: Sun May 31, 2009 6:30 pm

Re: MARX BROTHER TV COLLECTION Review

Postby Richard M Roberts » Tue Aug 05, 2014 1:18 am

Gary Johnson wrote:The Marxes were never really booked for the Benny show in the fall of 1934. That was the first year of the Jell-O program and one of Benny's silly running gags that season was pretending big stars would appear on his show and then at the last minute he would receive a telegram from them opting out. The previous season on The Chevrolet Program Jack had a reoccurring bit where he would throw a big Hollywood party or attend a movie premiere and shout out the names of the stars appearing. They in turn would all be imitated by a comic impressionist (and not very well, as I recall).

For the fact is, there was very little crossing over between radio and Hollywood personalities at this time. The concept of guest-starring was still a rather alien concept. And you certainly didn't appear on another comedian's show. It took the boom of the radio variety shows in the mid-30's to loosen up those restrictions of stars appearing on radio. Crosby and Vallee's competing programs began competing for guest stars. Parson's HOLLYWOOD HOTEL program also helped nudge the medium along.




Well, yeah, the concept of guest stars appearing on Variety shows didn't happen in radio until the invention of Variety shows on radio, but that was certainly happening by 1933-34, and grew steadily after that as more variety shows went on the air. BY 1935, with programs like THE SHELL CHATEAU and Benny, Cantor, Allen, and others staking their ground in the medium, we were certainly beginning to see big time guest stars appearing on those shows.


RICHARD M ROBERTS

Robert Moulton
Cugine
Posts: 39
Joined: Fri Sep 11, 2009 12:12 pm

Re: MARX BROTHER TV COLLECTION Review

Postby Robert Moulton » Tue Aug 05, 2014 5:52 pm

Gary - Thanks for the explanation about the running gag of stars not appearing. I haven't listened to enough of these shows to catch on that. The state these shows exist in make them hard to listen to (and for me anyways, the 'comedy' in these early shows makes them hard to listen to, the glory days of the late 40s was still to come). So I wonder how the belief the brothers appeared started because that rumour was going around long before the show became unlost.

For those who want to hear it the Nov 11, 1934 show is here (start listening at six minutes):
http://otrrlibrary.org/OTRRLib/Library% ... k%20Benny/

The Bert Wheeler appearance exists also and is the Sept 14, 1934 show. You can find it in the link above and listen at about four minutes in (this one doesn't seem to exist in full form).

Ed Watz is the one who found the broadcast date of Hollywood Agents. Here's a document containing transcripts of both the original Dibble/Dabble script and what was broadcast:
https://law.resource.org/pub/us/case/ca ... 36_p02.pdf

One thing I found interesting in the document is that the brothers continue to indirectly lie about their ages by saying they had been in show biz for only 28 years. That would mean a start in 1909, rather than true date of 1905. I guess they didn't want to try claiming they entered vaudeville at age 10.

The College Bowl is great to see. Also fun to see Chico continue to call it the Sugar Bowl (original show name) and totally blank on his lines in the poker scene. Nice to see how he buys time till he remembers his lines.


Update: Bert also appears on the Sept 28, 1934 show with Jack Benny. That show can also be found on the link above, starting at about 4:50

Richard M Roberts
Godfather
Posts: 2268
Joined: Sun May 31, 2009 6:30 pm

Re: MARX BROTHER TV COLLECTION Review

Postby Richard M Roberts » Tue Aug 05, 2014 7:52 pm

Robert Moulton wrote:Gary - Thanks for the explanation about the running gag of stars not appearing. I haven't listened to enough of these shows to catch on that. The state these shows exist in make them hard to listen to (and for me anyways, the 'comedy' in these early shows makes them hard to listen to, the glory days of the late 40s was still to come). So I wonder how the belief the brothers appeared started because that rumour was going around long before the show became unlost.



Well, I'm completely ambivalent to disagree with Gary, but the reason I don't buy the concept of The Four Marx Brothers non-appearance on the Benny show as being a "running gag" of some sort is that i believe the reason that the Marx Brothers were listed as appearing on that episode in the radiography of the Benny shows is that they were advertised as going to appear in the weekly radio listings, and Benny's gag about them not appearing isn't much of a gag in the first place, it still feels more like an announcement than a set-up.


I did notice Chico's going up on his lines in the card game sequence in THE COLLEGE BOWL, and he and the other actors covered it well, but it was also apparent that Chico was working off cue cards through much of the show, he's looking downward way too much and the cards are placed on the wrong side of the camera for his end speech which always gives it away. Chico seems to have not had the best memory, he also mixes up the words "parole" and "patrol" in he and Harpo's COLGATE COMEDY HOUR clip with Tony Martin and he and Cop Nestor Paiva get a better laugh covering it as well, such is the frequent fun of live television.



RICHARD M ROBERTS


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest