Chico Marx: TV Star


By the early 1950s, each of the Marx Brothers was officially flying solo. Groucho was the most successful of the team as a single, as the host of the long-running radio and tv game show You Bet Your Life, and as the star and co-star of several films, in addition to several cameos and supporting parts. Next came Harpo, for whom Love Happy had been crafted as a solo vehicle and made numerous tv appearances, the most famous of which has been his turn on I Love Lucy.

Least remembered has been Chico, who actually had his own television show.

From 1950 to 1951 he starred in The College Bowl, a hybrid sit-com/ variety show in which he played the proprietor of an ice cream shop frequented by college kids, who would proceed to perform musical numbers. A young Andy Williams was one of the regulars, as was Barbara Ruick. Reportedly, Chico’s character was muted on this show….less of the dialect humor and punning. For years this show was thought to be completely lost for all time, but one of the great revelations we had in Marxfest was that Marx Brothers scholar Robert Bader laid his hands on a kinescope of an episode. It is included in the DVD The Marx Brothers TV Collection, a must-own for any Marx Brothers fan.

For more Chico-Love, listen to me and the gang on the Marx Brothers Council podcast here.

One comment

  1. I think the reason Chico had less punning on COLLEGE BOWL was that, as a fellow cast member recalled, he couldn’t remember his lines.


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