It is interesting to note that Jonathan Miller wants Dudley Moore to think Groucho Marx as he portrays Ko-Ko in "The Mikado" ("Gilbert and Sullivan Meet the Marx Brothers," by Donna Perlmutter, March 6).
Although this appears to be a revolutionary approach, it has been attempted once before--by Groucho Marx. Groucho had been a longtime Gilbert & Sullivan enthusiast when NBC asked him to portray Ko-Ko in an April, 1960, telecast of "The Mikado" for "The Bell Telephone Hour."
Aside from the abridging necessary to keep the show to an hour (Groucho referred to the upcoming telecast as a "54-minute rape of Gilbert and Sullivan" in a letter to Nunnally Johnson), it was, essentially, a literal, rather than liberal, presentation.
Nevertheless, many of Groucho's trademark mannerisms and expressions managed to seep through the heavy makeup and, for this, he was trounced by some of the critics.