Tuesday, July 28, 2009

A Lost Marx Brothers Script?

While trolling the internet for Marx Brothers information, I happened across several references to a play which just completed its premiere run at the 2009 Fringe Festival in Kansas City. The play, "Money Buckets" allegedly is based on a script written for the Marx Brothers while they were at MGM. The web site of the Buran Theater Company, which staged the play, states the following:
The actual source text, "Money Buckets", is the long lost Marx Bros. script. It was written while the brothers were with MGM between 1937 and 1941- but was never produced due to its controversial political overtures (sic). In 2003 artistic director Adam R. Burnett acquired the text from Marx Brothers historian Frederick Allison. In 2005 Burnett co-founded Buran Theatre Company with Alicia Gian and in 2007, after a brief and ultimately painless legal battle, they acquired the rights to perform the script as long as it was not performed in whole....

In an economy turned upside down FDR (Groucho Marx) asserts himself by hiring two new men, outsiders to the Washington System, to take over the cabinets of Finance, Minister Fellini (Chico Marx), and Agriculture (a beard for the War cabinet), Minister Bergman (Harpo Marx). But a villainous pair of Eastern European Socialists have plans to dupe the president and his boisterous wife, Eleanor (Margaret Dumont), and steal all of the money from the U.S. Government - buckets of money.
So far, my usual exhaustive research method (typing words into the Google search box) has not turned up any evidence corroborating the existence of the said long lost script, or the existence of a Marx historian named Frederick Allison. If any readers of this blog have more information or have the gumption to try to track down the facts, let me know.


  1. Sheer mischief I think. Obviously a Marx Brothers script about FDR would never have been considered for a second, let alone got to script stage. The claim otherwise is a leg-pull. The names Fellini and Bergman also suggest postmodern whimsy.
    By the way, old man, your heading says 'Marx Brothes'. It should, of course, say 'Max Brothes'.

  2. LOL. The title is now corrected.

    I think you're right, mate--the Buran Theater company is full of...whimsy, as in this dialogue from Horse Feathers:
    Connie: Oh, Professor, you're full of whimsy.
    Professor Wagstaff: Can you notice it from there? I'm always that way after I eat radishes.