You Bet Your Life!

While working on materials from the Claretian House of Studies in Washington D.C. last year, a couple lines of correspondence caught my eye: “I heard from California that Fr. Montoya was on Grouch[o] Marx’s TV program during the week! The name of the Claretian Fathers was heard from coast to coast. The guys came home from class one day quite excited with the news.” I quickly checked the date of the letter and began researching online to find what I could about the show and this Claretian’s appearance on it.

I discovered in March of 1954 that Fr. Michael Montoya, C.M.F. appeared on the game show “You Bet Your Life” hosted by Groucho Marx. Although the premise of the show changed from season to season, it remained especially popular for the banter between Groucho and the contestants.

It’s likely Fr. Montoya appeared on the show not only due to his proximity to Los Angeles, where the show was filmed, but also for his interest in conducting missionary work through radio and television. He had a regular weekly spot on one of the local radio stations in Los Angeles and later served as Western Regional Head of the Catholic Broadcasting Association.

Fr. Michael Montoya on KFAC Radio. Los Angeles, CA. n.d.

While video of Fr. Montoya’s appearance on the show has been lost, the audio has been preserved online. Please click below to listen to the audio of Fr. Montoya’s appearance on the show, courtesy of Internet Archive.

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