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What Do You Want?


Producer: John Guedel
Host: Groucho Marx
Announcer: George Fenneman
Taping Info: 1961
Made it to Air: No
Other pilots: Many elements of this pilot were to appear in the later pilot Tell It To Groucho
Availability: The pilot is a DVD Extra on You Bet Your Life: The Best Episodes by Shout Factory

After 11 years on the air You Bet Your Life (at this point called The Groucho Show) was starting to get long in the tooth. Additionally, both producer Jon Guedel and Groucho Marx wanted to put the reruns of the show in syndication, which at the time proved difficult to do while new episodes were still on network TV. At the time, syndicated shows were often used by network affiliates as pre-emption fodder. However, Groucho wanted to stay on network TV as well, so a new show had to be developed. This pilot was the first attempt, called What Do You Want. George Fenneman was along for the ride as well.

Instead of the two unrelated contestants and a potential five questions for them, there was only one contestant (or related contestants) and only one question for them. Most of the time was used for the hallmark of You Bet Your Life, the contestant interview. Each contestant, after hearing the question, could decide whether to try to answer the question for $1,000, or decline the question and just take $400. The first contestant, Margaret Krebs, wanted to be President of the U.S. The second contestants were a mother and daughter group who wanted husbands who were cat lovers (and they had to love them, since they had 16 of them). The "celebrity" guest was Los Angeles police chief William H. Parker, who put a plea in for new recruits for the LAPD.

Unfortunately, since Groucho would not be able to give any of these requests, the concept seemed pretty flat. The weirdest part of this pilot were three voice-overs during the generic "commercial goes here" board explaining how you should sponsor this show. Also, clips were shown of future shows, so I don't know if they just manufactured these clips for the purpose of this pilot or shot several pilots and put one together from the various tries. This version didn't work, but the second time was the charm as the pilot for Tell It to Groucho improved on this show and made it to air.


The title card

The lady who wanted to be President

The cat women with half of their brood

L.A. Police Chief William H. Parker


This pilot has been viewed 4030 times since October 6, 2008 and was last modified on Dec 12, 2009 14:46 ET
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