Saturday, November 10, 2012

The Resignation Joke

Analyzing humor can be a pretty solemn pursuit. However, I must thank Richard Raskin of the Danish blog 16:9 for researching Groucho's famous resignation from the Friars Club. I am even more grateful that Mr. Raskin produced an English version of his essay. I wanted to use the line "I don't want to belong to any club that will accept me as a member," or some variant thereof, in an email. I went searching the internet, and of course found numerous paraphrases of the line Groucho used in a telegram when he decided he had made a mistake in joining the Friars Club. Google led me to the 16:9 blog, and this link will spare me the need to expend any more energy typing.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Ray Bradbury on You Bet Your Life

The late great science fiction writer as a contestant on the late great comedian's quiz show.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Groucho Gets His Ashes Hauled

In a nice way I mean.

From the Lawrence (Kansas) Journal-World, May 19, 1982

If you're wondering about the opening line of this post, it was inspired by something Groucho said at "An Evening with Groucho" at Carnegie Hall in 1972. Talking about his family's nicknames, Groucho said, "My other brother Gummo-it's not his real name, his real name was Milton. It seemed like such a silly name, and we used to call him Gumshoes, because somebody had given him a pair of rubbers. In a nice way, I mean. And that's his name: Gummo Marx. My name, of course, I never did understand."

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Chico's Funeral

On October 14, 1961, the UPI account of Chico Marx's funeral appeared in the St. Petersburg (Fla.) Times. The short article mentioned a number of celebrities who attended: Jimmy Durante, George Burns, Buster Keaton, and brothers Groucho, Harpo, Gummo, and Zeppo Marx. Nearly a hundred people jammed the tiny Wee Kirk O' the Heather Chapel at Forest Lawn Memorial Park. Somehow it seems fittingly absurd that the funeral for the Marx Brother who affected an Italian accent was officiated by a rabbi in a replica of a Scottish chapel.

Interior of Wee Kirk O' the Heather Chapel
The article ends with another Marxian twist:
A bizarre and macabre Hollywood touch was given the service when a publicity-seeking man showed up with three little boys wearing Harpo hair-dos. They carried a bouquet of flowers for Chico and sat with a man and a little girl through the ceremonies.
 Arrivederci, Chico.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Marxes in the Macy's Parade

Fellow Marx fan Matthew Coniam, on his Marx Brothers Council of Britain blog has brought up the topic of Marx Brothers balloons in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Trolling the internet, I have found two pictures of the big-headed brothers which appeared in the 2003 parade.

From, I present the following excerpt from the article, “Look kids, it’s Eddie Cantor!”: 12 obscure Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade balloons from years past. Based on the pictures above, it seems that the article is incorrect in stating that four brothers were represented in 2003.

When four balloons representing the Marx brothers marched through the 2003 Macy’s parade, spectators may have been a little baffled. The Marx balloons were part of an attempt to celebrate the parade’s past by copying vintage designs from back when the Thanksgiving streets were filled with more than just cartoon characters and advertising mascots. They weren’t traditional balloons, but rather floats with giant balloon heads meant to resemble the brothers. The giant-headed brothers, decked out in black and white, had been a mainstay of the parade in the ’30s, but in the 21st century they came off as garish, bizarre, and vaguely horrific. They haven’t reappeared.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

RIP, Son of Groucho

Somehow I missed the passing of Groucho's son Arthur at age 89 on April 14, 2011. His obituary at the New York Times is quite interesting.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Marx and Lennon

As detailed in the April 28, 1995 New York Times article Philatelists Just Wanna Have Fun, the Republic of Abkhazia,a rebellious region in the northwest of Georgia, or a printing company claiming to be the Republic of Abkhazia, issued a stamp set commemorating not Karl and Vladimir, but Groucho and John. When my wife bought me a few sheets from the International Collectors Society some fifteen or so years ago, the retail price was $12.72 per sheet. Now they can be found on eBay for as little as $7.00. No doubt many "Limited Editions" from companies which flood the market with "collectibles" have suffered similar fates.

I still like the stamps, though.