Thursday, January 10, 2008

You bet your Marx

Much of the tension of the show revolved around whether any of the contestants, in pre-contest conversation with Groucho, would say the "secret word", a common word seemingly selected at random and revealed to the audience at the show's outset. If a contestant uttered the word, a toy duck made to resemble Groucho with a mustache, eyeglasses and with a cigar in its bill, would descend from the ceiling to bring the contestant-pair $100. A cartoon of a duck with a cigar was also used in the show's opening title sequence. In one special episode, Groucho's brother, Harpo came down instead of the duck. Marx would sometimes slyly direct their conversation in such a way as to encourage the secret word to come up.

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