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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: Gabe Kaplan as Groucho

BOOTLEG FILES 729: “Gabe Kaplan as Groucho” (1982 television special).

LAST SEEN: On YouTube.

AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: On VHS and LaserDisc.

REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: Out of circulation for many years.

CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: Not likely.

In 1976, the producers of the popular sitcom “Welcome Back, Kotter” planned to have Groucho Marx make a cameo appearance in an episode called “Sadie Hawkins Day.” The script called for Gabe Kaplan to do an impression of Groucho, only to have the real Groucho come in and react to the unreasonable facsimile. Unfortunately, the 86-year-old comedy icon was in extremely frail health and it was decided that he would not go on camera. Instead, Groucho posed for publicity photographs with the show’s cast – but these were not released to the media and only surfaced many years later.
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