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A Man Who Has Nothing In Particular To Recommend Him Discusses All Sorts of Subjects at Random as Though He Knew Everything

Show Biz Kids

Television is a weird version of reality. The current iteration of a great deal of television programming, Reality TV, is less real than the fake kind from the fifties and sixties. I like reading the occasional old newspaper and seeing some old TV shows because they’re often interesting cultural artifacts. You could get a real sense of how people dressed, and acted, and interacted from watching old shows like the following from Groucho Marx’s You Bet Your Life. Neither the producers not the participants had the budget for lots of fakery. TV was hungry for content, so they’d put on whatever they could find from other forms of entertainment, and just regular people. Variety shows were just vaudeville with a camera pointed at them. Groucho was a vaudeville entertainer before he was in the movies — and his movies were just vaudeville, filmed — and his genial interview show was an extension of the early days of movie theaters when they’d mix live acts with short films, and give stuff away during the breaks.

TV, and the American general public, could use more people like Groucho and the Sylver family in it:


They grew up, by the way:

I don’t know who the backing musicians are, but they’re tighter than a cow’s tuchus at fly-time. I love the drummer’s great, stone face.

6 Responses

  1. At first I thought River Dance but the afros gave it away. Those LA studio musicians were a somber lot, no hopping and jiving around. Drummer and bass keeping time like an atomic clock. Journeymen is what I calls 'em.

    I was always happy to play behind a front line, they did the gyrating and stepping while us rhythm section kept it all propped up. Helps if you have a big stage; there was this one time … ach, I'm drifting …

  2. Any meter that takes me from Ike & Mamie, to Groucho, to Boogie Fever, is very fine with me. Well blogged.

    BTW, I'm beginning to rediscover the wisdom behind the wit of Groucho. He is a man to listen to.

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