"You Bet Your Life"
Starring Groucho Marx
featuring...
Sgt. Joseph C. Rodriguez
and his fiancée
Miss Rose Aranda

April 24, 1952


"Here he is - the one, the only...Groucho!"

3-DVD SetBetween 1947 and 1961, Emmy-Award-winning gameshow host Groucho Marx made 528 episodes of You Bet Your Life. Although 250 of the television episodes have been available in syndication, the earliest episodes were never seen again...until now...

You Bet Your Life: The Lost Episodes
© 2003 Shout! Factory, a Division of Retropolis LLC

This webpage is devoted to one segment of Episode #51-30, which is #2 on disc 2 of the above-mentioned 3-DVD set. This episode was filmed March 12, 1952, and broadcast on NBC April 24, 1952. The other two couples on the show that day were a schoolteacher with an 11-year-old boy and a bus driver with a grandmother, who all did well in the quiz. Here is an edited transcript of the third and final segment of that episode:

Announcer George Fenneman: "We have an engaged couple for you now, Groucho. They're very special guests. I think after you've talked to them for a while you'll find out why I invited them to be on the show today. So let's meet them... (As they enter) Miss Rose Aranda and Sergeant Joseph Rodriguez, meet Groucho Marx."

Groucho: "Welcome to You Bet Your Life. Say the secret word and you'll win $100. It's a common word, something you use every day. (To the audience) Pretty cute couple, huh? (To Joe) Sergeant Joseph Rodriguez, huh? How old are you, Joe?"

Joe: "I'm 23."

Groucho: "You're kind of mild-looking to be a tough Army sergeant. Where are you stationed?"

Joe: "The ORC headquarters in San Bernardino. I'm on the administrative staff. I do a little stencil-cutting, typing, topographical map work, and so on."

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Groucho: "Pretty cushy job you've got there, Joe! (To Rose) How'd you meet the sergeant here?"

Rose: "His YMCA was going on a snow party... You go tobogganing, and you have lots of fun in the snow."

Groucho: "Rose, how did you feel about Joe after the first date?"

Rose: "I was a little nervous. On the way back we stopped at a coffee shop, and I poured about ten spoons of sugar in my coffee..."

(The band suddenly strikes up a tune as the duck drops down from overhead.)

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Groucho: "You said ‘spoon' - that's the secret word - so you and your boyfriend each win 50 dollars."

Rose: "Thank you!"

Groucho: "Joe, after you're married, who's going to be the boss?"

Joe: "Well, I believe in every family there should be a first sergeant to run the company..."

Groucho: "You may be the first sergeant, but the company commander's going to be a rose…and in a pretty nice vase, too. (Calling offstage) Fenneman, come in here! (George Fenneman enters.) You told me there was something special about this couple. What is it? Obviously they're not going to tell me..."

Fenneman: "Well, Groucho, Sergeant Rodriguez has been awarded the nation's highest military decoration - The Congressional Medal of Honor."

(Applause)

Groucho: "Well, I don't have to tell you, Sergeant, how honored we are to have you here with us tonight... But I will tell you, we are honored to have you here!"

(Laughter)

Fenneman: "And, Groucho, the Army major who first told me about Joe gave me this citation, which explains exactly what he did."

Groucho (perusing citation): "Whew! (To audience) Would you like to hear this?"

(Applause)

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Groucho (reading): "Sgt. Joseph C. Rodriguez, then Private First Class, was participating in an attack against a fanatical hostile force occupying well-fortified positions on rugged commanding terrain near Munye-ri, Korea, on the 21st of May, 1951, when his squad's advance was halted by a withering barrage of automatic weapons from five emplacements, together with grenades, which the enemy rolled down the hill toward the advancing troops. Fully aware of the odds against him, Sgt. Rodriguez leaped to his feet, dashed 60 yards up the fire-swept slope, and, after lobbing grenades into the first foxhole, ran around the left flank, silenced an automatic weapon with two grenades and continued his whirlwind assault to the top of the peak, wiping out two more foxholes. Then, reaching the right flank, he tossed grenades into the remaining emplacement, destroying the gun and annihilating its crew. As a result of his incredible display of valor, the defense of the opposition was broken, the enemy routed, and the strategic stronghold secured."

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Groucho (to Joe): "Let me shake your hand again. (To Rose) Give him a big kiss!"

(She does so.)

Groucho (to Joe): "If you don't win any money here tonight it won't be my fault, son! Well, Joe, that's the most amazing thing I ever heard. There's just one thing I'd like to know - when you were running through all that lead, what were you thinking about?"

Joe (seriously): "Well, I wasn't thinking - I was just mad, I guess."

Groucho: "You wiped out a whole army just because you got mad? Joe...if I said anything here tonight that you resent, I was just being facetious."

(Laughter)

Groucho: What are your plans for the future, Joe?"

Joe: "I hope to make a career in the Army."

Groucho: "Well, I'm sure glad you're on our side. Rose, take good care of this fella. My advice is, don't ever make him mad - he's liable to wipe out Los Angeles! Well, you're a fine couple, and I'm sure you're going to have many happy, handsome, bright, and brave children."

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Groucho: "All right, now let's play You Bet Your Life. (Seriously) Joe, that's one game you've already played, and we're certainly happy you won. This will probably seem pretty tame after that, but here we go… Give me the title of this song..."

(Band plays first tune.)

Joe (to Rose): "Blue something…"

Rose: "Blue Skies."

Groucho: "Blue Skies is right!"

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Fenneman: "You're off to a good start - you have $39.80."

(Band plays second tune.)

Joe & Rose: "Stardust."

Fenneman: "You're really climbing - you have $79.30."

(Band plays third tune.)

Joe & Rose: "Black Magic."

Fenneman: "You have now climbed to $158.50."

Groucho: "It's your last chance to beat the other couples. How much of the money are you going to play?"

Joe: "Last chance? Shoot the works!"

Groucho: "Are you more scared now than when you were going over the top of that hill?"

Joe (good-naturedly going along with the joke): "You bet!"

(Band plays fourth tune.)

Joe: "Tea for Two."

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Fenneman: "You wind up with $317, and that means that you two will get the chance at the DeSoto Plymouth $4,500 question!"

Groucho (to the audience): "We try to be impartial on this show, but I must say that I was a little prejudiced..."

(Applause)

Groucho: "Here we go, for $4,500... I'll give you 15 seconds to decide on a single answer between you. If you don't know the answer, take a stab at it anyhow... During World War II, Hitler and Mussolini had numerous meetings in an historic pass through the Alps. What is the name of this mountain pass that connects Italy and Austria?"

(The band plays for the allotted time.)

Joe: "All I can come up with is Berchtesgaden, but that's just the place where they were..."

Groucho: "I'm sorry; the correct answer is Brenner Pass."

Fenneman: "Well, you won $317 in the quiz, plus the secret word, which gives you a total of $417."

Groucho: "That's not too bad... Congratulations!"

Joe & Rose: "Thank you."

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NOTE: Sgt. Joseph C. Rodriguez, true to his word, spent 30 years in the Army, retiring as a colonel. He and Rose were married 52 years and had three children. We are happy that the Colonel was able to see this webpage a few short months before he unexpectedly passed away on November 1, 2005.

Medal of Honor
Colonel Joe Rodriguez & Rose Rodriguez, September 2000
(48 years after the show)
PHOTO BY ROBERT M. BUSH

Below are two links to more information about the Colonel.
(The Wikipedia entry contains several more links.)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_C._Rodriguez

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Posted 8/5/2005