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The Bootleg Files: The Hollywood Greats – Groucho Marx

BOOTLEG FILES 762: “The Hollywood Greats – Groucho Marx” (1979 episode of a British television series).

LAST SEEN: On YouTube.

AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: None.

REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: Fell through the proverbial cracks.

CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: Not likely.

Zeppo Marx is one of the most mysterious figures in film history. He appeared with his brothers Groucho, Harpo and Chico in their first five feature films at Paramount (and in a segment of a promotional film for the studio), but the union within his zany siblings’ antics was always tenuous. He was barely on screen in their first film, “The Cocoanuts,” and snagged a single memorable segment with Groucho in “Animal Crackers.” Zeppo got more screen time as the romantic interest in “Monkey Business” and “Horse Feathers,” but by their final film “Duck Soup” he was back to being an elusive on-screen presence.
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The Bootleg Files: Bobbie Gentry

BOOTLEG FILES 735: “Bobbie Gentry” (1968-71 British television series starring Bobbie Gentry).

LAST SEEN: Bits and pieces can be found on YouTube.

AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: None.

REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: Most of the episodes from the series are considered lost and the surviving episodes would require restoration and the clearing of music and performance rights.

CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: None.

This week marked the 78th birthday of Bobbie Gentry, the genre-spanning singer who became a major star in 1967 with her mysteriously melancholic ballad “Ode to Billy Joe.” Gentry was a remarkable vocal talent who was equally at home in the folk, country and pop worlds, and she was also a charming on-camera presence who graced many U.S. television variety programs from the late 1960s into the early 1970s.
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The Bootleg Files: Odd Man Out

BOOTLEG FILES 647: “Odd Man Out” (1977 British television series starring John Inman and Josephine Tewson).

LAST SEEN: It is on YouTube.

AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: None.

REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS:
Never broadcast in the U.S.

CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: Not likely.

In last week’s column, we considered a failed attempt to Americanize the long-running British comedy series “Are You Being Served?” This week, we stay on the subject by focusing on the unsuccessful effort by one of the stars of “Are You Being Served?” to start his own series.
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The Bootleg Files: Garbo

BOOTLEG FILES 583: “Garbo” (1969 BBC documentary narrated by Joan Crawford).

LAST SEEN: An unauthorized posting is on YouTube.

AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: None.

REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: Uncertain.

CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: It was announced for a 2005 release, but that never happened.

Around 1985, I was walking down First Avenue in New York City when I noticed an elderly woman coming down the street. I immediately recognized this woman – for many years, she had been the elusive object of tabloid photographers eager to snap her picture. I debated whether I should make any acknowledgement of her presence and decided that it would be best to allow her to maintain the legendary privacy associated with her name. And thus, in less than a New York minute, I had my encounter with Greta Garbo.

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