The Bell Telephone Hour (1959–1968)
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The Mikado 

In a mythical Japan, Ko-Ko, a cheap tailor, has been appointed Lord High Executioner and must find someone to execute before the arrival of the ruling Mikado. He lights upon Nanki-Poo, a ... See full summary »


W.S. Gilbert (operetta)


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Episode cast overview:
Martyn Green Martyn Green ... Himself / Host
Groucho Marx ... Koko
Robert Rounseville Robert Rounseville ... Nanki Poo
Stanley Holloway ... Pooh Bah
Barbara Meister Barbara Meister ... Yum-Yum
Melinda Marx ... Peep Bo
Sharon Randall Sharon Randall ... Pitti Sing
Dennis King ... Mikado
Helen Traubel Helen Traubel ... Katisha
The Bell Telephone Orchestra The Bell Telephone Orchestra ... Themselves
The Norman Luboff Choir The Norman Luboff Choir ... Themselves


In a mythical Japan, Ko-Ko, a cheap tailor, has been appointed Lord High Executioner and must find someone to execute before the arrival of the ruling Mikado. He lights upon Nanki-Poo, a strolling minstrel who loves the beautiful Yum-Yum. But Yum-Yum is also loved by Ko-Ko, and Nanki-Poo, seeing no hope for his love, considers suicide. Ko-Ko offers to solve both their problems by executing Nanki-Poo, and an agreement is reached whereby Ko-Ko will allow Nanki-Poo to marry Yum-Yum for one month, at the end of which Nanki-Poo will be executed, in time for the arrival of the Mikado. But what Ko-Ko doesn't know is that Nanki-Poo is the son of the Mikado and has run away to avoid a betrothal to an old harridan named Katisha. The arrival of the Mikado brings all the threads of the tale together. Written by Jim Beaver <>

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Release Date:

29 April 1960 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs



Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Sir W.S. Gilbert and Sir Arthur Sullivan's comic opera "The Mikado or, The Town of Titipu" was their ninth of fourteen collaborations opening on March 14, 1885 in London at the Savoy Theatre and ran for 672 performances. See more »


Version of Fan Fan (1918) See more »

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User Reviews

Abbreviated version of Gilbert and Sullivan's The Mikado with Groucho Marx in the roll of KoKo the Lord High Executioner
3 February 2007 | by elecktrobunny-1See all my reviews

I finally got to see this version of the Mikado today in the archive library of the Museum of Television and Radio in Manhattan. I must say, I had read very mixed reviews of this performance, some only based on the more easily accessible audio recording.

I had heard some complain that Groucho was too Groucho as KoKo and some say he was not Groucho enough. As a long time fan of Gilbert and Sullivan, Groucho had always wanted to perform this particular part and I think he knew just what should go into being KoKo. Considering that Groucho was 70 at the time this was filmed, he performed vocally pretty well (lets face it, he was never an operatic vocalist but I think he held his own here). He even does some energetic dancing that was reminiscent of some of his work in classic Marx Brothers films.

Groucho's daughter, Melinda is also in the cast in the roll of Peep Bo. I am sad to say that you can tell from the moment she sings she is not of the same vocal caliber as the opera singers in the rest of the performance.

This version of the opera that normally runs two hours and 45 minutes has been cut down to 60 minutes with time for commercials...some songs were cut all together and some were shortened. Considering how abbreviated this production is, it does seem to deliver. I have seen several versions of the Mikado, some live some movie versions, and I think this one holds it own in comparison.

I wish that this version of the Mikado was more readily available, but I am glad I had a chance to see it. As a fan of both Groucho Marx and Gilbert and Sullivan this is the one time the two come together. If you can get a hold of a version of this, or are in the area of the Museum of Television and Radio, I suggest giving this a watch.

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