June 27, 2013
Alternate blog title: Six Satanic Degrees of Separation.
My pal Jimbo and I had a brief email discussion of the great Groucho Marx show, You Bet Your Life. Without giving it away, Jimbo has a very cool idea for using the program. Anyway, I’m a big fan of Groucho and Jimbo’s email encouraged me to do a little research into the show. I came across a list of notable folks who appeared on the show as contestants before they became famous. Here are just a few: Phyllis Diller, Ray Bradbury, and Jack LaLanne.
However, my favorite contestant story involved William Peter Blatty. Is it true? I found it on the ‘net so make up your own mind. If it is not true I want it to be true.
Blatty was a young author who had one book under his belt and not a lot of money. He was working as a public relations man in California and to promote his book he became a contestant on Groucho’s show, You Bet Your Life. (Guests on that show were carefully selected and often people were solicited to appear depending on how interesting it was felt Groucho would find them.) He came on the show dressed as an Arab sheik, which seemed to be his hobby at the time- I can’t explain it much better than that- and Groucho saw right through him. However, Blatty went on to win $10,000. The money was enough that he took a leave of absence from his job and wrote full time. And what did he write? Only a little book called… The Exorcist.
Yes, we have Captain Spaulding to thank for The Exorcist.