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Category:    Home > Reviews > Documentary > Automobiles > TV > Merrily We Roll Along (Groucho Marx)

Merrily We Roll Along: The Early Days Of The Automobile


Picture: C     Sound: C     Extras: D     Program: B-



Made in 1961 as part of NBC’s Project Twenty documentary series, a change of pace was offered when Groucho Marx hosted Merrily We Roll Along: The Early Days Of The Automobile, which has a wealth of early footage of the rise of the car.  However, the history has been glossed over on purpose so Groucho can make truly funny observations about the many difficulties the car faced as it grew into popularity and still offers some facts few people know.


It also offers much footage that is not as often seen, though I recognized other clips.  The most interesting thing is how certain Groucho edicts hold up very well 45 years later.  Though we have more cars and many of them are safer, yet durable than ever, many of the basic headaches they offer have held up very well for over 100 years.  The show never deals with the sports car phenomenon either, but it is well edited for what it is and having Groucho is a big plus.


The full frame, monochrome image is soft, though much of the older footage is not going to be to sharp to begin with.  That the newest footage has this problem comes in part from the older transfer of the material, revealed as such with the 1993 copyright at the very end.  Oh well.  The Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono is smaller sounding than it should be for a program this age, so be careful when turning up your volume adjustment more than usual.  There are no extras.


Groucho fans will want to get this one immediately, one of the few things besides You Bet Your Life (reviewed elsewhere on this site) that really worked for Groucho on TV.  It may not be ready for The History Channel, but Merrily We Roll Along: The Early Days Of The Automobile is very amusing and worth your time.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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