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October 2: Happy Birthday, Groucho Marx



His childhood ambition was to be a doctor.  And while it would be a pleasure to be treated by a sawbones with a greasepaint mustache and an ever-present cigar, we can all be grateful that Marx Groucho became one of the greatest American comedians of all-time.

Along with his brothers, Marx was--of course--a film star first and foremost, with television success coming later.  But success was a three-legged stool in those days, composed of making it on the silver screen, the tube, and the airwaves.

Marx struggled to keep sponsors on his first few attempts, but succeeded spectacularly with You Bet Your Life.  This was a showcase of Groucho's quick-witted ad-libbing, disguised as a quiz show.  Groucho would exchange banter with folks pulled from the studio audience, a technique that would go on to become commonplace, practiced by countless talk show hosts.

Thanks for the memories, Groucho.  And a happy birthday.

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