Andy Marx, grandson of Groucho Marx, has written an article for Boing Boing explaining how he received a call from NBC in 1973 about several boxes of old film reels from Groucho’s 1950-1961 game show You Bet Your Life. They would be destroyed if Groucho didn’t want them.
He didn’t but was talked into taking them by Andy and Jack Nicholson, who happened to be visiting that day. The several boxes turned out to be 500. Andy was hired to go through the boxes and watch the reels to determine what was on them. Soon, episodes were being aired on PBS stations and some have since been released on VHS, DVD and selected episodes can be viewed on Netflix.
It’s a good read and a great story. But it’s also a sad one. Here’s what the man on the phone from NBC told Andy:
“We’re trying to clear space for the newer shows. There’s a lot of stuff from the ’50s and ’60s that we’re getting rid of. If Mr. Marx would like it, we’ll be happy to send all of the reels to him.”
There’s no way of knowing what was destroyed from that warehouse or how many shows were impacted. You Bet Your Life would have been destroyed, too, if not for that phone call and the presence of Jack Nicholson.
(via the AMIA-L ListServ)