Groucho's cigar

He did say that on the air and I saw it on his show You Bet Your Life on a classic t v channel. It wasn’t taken out and still exists. I’ve seen it many times on Classic t v

He did say what?

Was that thing actually lit? I can’t imagine it was but, on the other hand, they had far fewer rules 'n regs back in those days.

I’m guessing this is the column:

Did Groucho Marx utter a famous double entendre ad lib on the air?

Groucho did have this exchange with a contestant in a 1947 or 48 radio broadcast of his show:

Groucho: So, you got any kids?

Female contestant: Yes, Groucho, I have eleven children.

Groucho: Eleven?! Did you say eleven kids?

Female contestant: Well, I love my husband.

Groucho: Lady, I love my cigar but I take it out of my mouth once in a while.

It did not make it onto the air, though.

Why not? Smoking on TV wasn’t remotely out of the ordinary back then. Look at I Love Lucy or the Dick Van Dyke show or Bewitched. They were all smoking. I think it got dialed back in the 70’s and 80’s and probably wasn’t until the 90’s that people made a conscious decision to not smoke on TV (not counting episodes that required it for the plot). But back in the 60’s, no one thought twice about it.

This really did happen, and I know because I was watching TV with my older sister when Soupy Sales said it.

I couldn’t have been older than five, which means that my older and worldy-wise sister must have been nine or ten at the time.

The exchange was something like this:

[Soupy, showing a card with the letter “F” on it] – White Fang, what letter is this?
[White Fang, grunting (you just saw his paw)] – “K”
[Soupy] “What letter?”
[White Fang] “K”
(repeat)
[Soupy] “How come every time I see F, you see K?”

As an innocent five-year-old, I didn’t understand, so I asked my sister. She finally explained to her annoying younger brother: “Fuck, David, he spelled Fuck”.

I told her it couldn’t be, and she probably rolled her eyes and ignored me.

It happened, I was there.

No it didn’t. No, you weren’t.

Snopes say false.

There a ton of such things that people are “sure” they saw. The alternate ending of Big, the Sinbad Shazam movie, and on and on.

But facts are facts. You’re memory is wrong. Be rational and deal with it.

The story about Groucho being cut off the air for his cigar ad lib is true. I am 84 years old, and I was watching “You bet your life” when he said that. Your report is pretty much word-for-word accurate except for two minor discrepancies. He did not say the words,
“of my mouth”. He said, “I love my cigar too, but I take it out once in a while.” I’ll never forget that. I nearly fell out of my chair laughing! Then a ‘test pattern’ (remember those?) appeared, and an announcer said, “Due to circumstances beyond the control of our sponsors, we are forced to discontinue this program. The remaining time will be filled with music.” The test pattern remained while they played ‘elevator music’.
The other error is that the show never aired again. I’m sure Groucho got a sharp reprimand, but the show continued the following week. I remember watching it expecting to hear some comment about the faux pas - but - not a word.

FYI - The same thing happened to Bob Hope on his radio program. During an episode with a Friday the thirteenth theme, he and Marilyn Maxwell were walking to the studio when they came to a ladder, with a painter above. Bob refused to walk under the ladder, and Marilyn teased him for being superstitious. Bob walked around, but Marilyn walked under the ladder to prove her point. As luck would have it, the painter dropped his paint brush, which hit Marilyn’s hand, and got red paint on it. She stated that she couldn’t walk down the street with red paint on her hand, and Bob suggested that she put her hand in his pocket. She did, and they continued on, and Marilyn said, “I feel silly, Bob.” Bob retorted, “You go much further you’ll feel nuts!” End of episode.

There’s already a thread about this.

https://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=890436

I have merged two threads on the same column.

Yeah, that’s what we all said to Libertarian, but(t)… :wink:

Here’s the problem. You Bet Your Life was never at any time, on radio or television, broadcast live. It was pre-taped for two reasons. One was simply because even Groucho couldn’t make every ad lib brilliant. They taped an hour and cut the show down to the 30 best minutes. The other reason was to make sure that nothing salacious ever made it to air. The producer, Robert Dwan, did the cutting himself and never would have allowed it past him. The going to black part is also problematic. If such a thing had happened it would have been national news, rife in all newspaper databases, and set down in every history of television. Yet no mention of the story can be found before 1970 and a 1972 interview with Groucho has him firmly denying it. And no tape, recording, or transcript of these words have ever come to light.

Snopeshas assembled all the known evidence, including real episodes that may have given life to the story. I’m a member of The Marx Brothers Council group on Facebook, containing a number of experts. (I count myself among them, owning every book by or about the Marxes, and recordings of every movie and tv show they did that’s been made public.) People are talking about Cecil’s column right now and everybody there agrees that no such line was ever broadcast.

I can’t account for your memory, except to say that it contradicts everything we know about the way the show was produced and has no outside evidence to back it up.

The same goes for your Bob Hope anecdote. I also have every book by or about Hope and I’ve never heard this story before. An internet search brings up no hits except for your post here. I have to doubt that this ever happened, despite your insistence. Memories are unreliable, though we wish otherwise.

Snopes does back up the Soupy Sales “Kids, send me pictures of presidents out of your parent’s wallets” story.

Cecil verified the origin of the “kissing on strikes and balls” legend in the column." Not Groucho.

Groucho did say shocking things. Like to Margaret Dumont.

Lots of people mishear things, or think they see things that aren’t really there – look at the Staff Report on the board about Disney erotica, for one.

People are still arguing over events such as the infamous story about The Newlywed Game. Thanks to Bob Eubanks for setting us straight … here’s the footage.

Then there’s Zsa Zsa Gabor on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson.

Carson did say some provocative stuff for his time. Johnny Carson and Dolly Parton: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sw2W8ZC7pkM

Jenny
your humble TubaDiva

False memories are easy to get.

I was on Bozo, yes, verified. And I “remember” “cram it clowny”. But that didnt happen either.

OTOH, Bozo was more terrifying than funny, and that has been verified by many kids on his show.

Supposedly, and I heard this third hand, so it probably never happened, but Carson had golfer Arnold Palmer’s wife as a guest. She told him that she kissed her husband’s balls every night before he played in a tournament. Carson replied, “I’ll bet that really makes his putter stand up!”

Too late to edit, but, debunked by Snopes, so definitely not true.

No reason to be mean.

I know very well that Snopes says it is false. I have written to them twice about it.

I was there, it really happened. You weren’t there, you don’t know.

It’s not a false memory – I never heard that it was “false” until Snopes said so – before that, never much thought about it (except that my sister and I did discuss it in later years). Not a case of a memory being backfuilled to fit an interesting story.

I can still see White Fang’s big paw and hear his raspy voice, “K”!

Is it possible that you are conflating watching the show and a friend telling you that story?

By your own account, you were 5. The chances that a detailed memory from that age is reliable is vanishingly small. Lots of kids have equally firm contradictory memories that can’t be true based on the evidence

You are a person. You have false memories. To think otherwise is absolutely absurd.

For myself, I was absolutely 100% sure that Springsteen’s Born to Run album came out in 1974. I remember where I was living at the time I bought it and the famous appearances on the covers of Time and Newsweek came out. No doubt about it. 1974. Clear as day.

Everything you can say about your memory I can say about mine.

It came out in 1975.

Easily verifiable.

Just as easily verifiable as your false memory.

You are not special.