This is a special test film (not a true pilot) that was made far in advance of You Bet Your Life’s premiere on television the following year. Though this show was aired on radio on Dec 28, 1949, the film seen here was never intended to air on television, differing in many major respects from the later television show, and provides a fascinating filmed record of what it was like to be in the audience for a pre-recording of the radio show.
If you’re accustomed to the television series, you’ll see a lot of strange differences. Groucho wears a casual shirt, no tie or jacket. George Fenneman wears glasses. The contestants’ names are on index cards pinned to their clothing (one of the indications that this was never intended as a TV pilot). Instead of receiving $100 for saying the secret word, contestants won a 16 millimeter movie projector.
One other trivia note: George Fenneman announces at one point, “And now, a word from Myron Wallace” (the commercial was to be added in later). Myron Wallace is not a name most people would recognize. He read all the Elgin commercials on the YBYL radio show, but true fame came much later, after he changed his professional name to Mike Wallace. . . the relentless investigative journalist on “60 Minutes”!
COUPLE #1: California “Tip-Topper” members and newlyweds: Howard Scala, of the Green Bay Packers / Arlene Scala, carhop from Shannon’s Drive-In who explains carhop slang
COUPLE #2: Evelyn Fredricksen / Larry Steams, audience member, married man, failed driving instructor, failed vacuum cleaner salesman
COUPLE #3: Dr. Mar Elia, chiropractor, “The Great Wrestling Sheik Of Persia” / Jess Swope, footballer from USC
Click here to subscribe to the YBYL channel, where you’ll find well over a hundred complete episodes you can’t find anywhere else, as well as some rare Burns and Allen material that doesn’t really belong there:
New Facebook group for You Bet Your Life! If you’ve already been sucked into the Facebook vortex, you might as well check it out, right?https://www.facebook.com/groups/16432…