Monday, August 17, 2009

Marx Brothers Home Update

Thanks to Matthew Coniam of The Marx Brothers Council of Britain for reminding us all of the need to pressure the Lord High Muckedy Mucks (LHMM) or New York City to preserve the endangered building at 179 E. 93rd St., which was once home to the Marx family. Here's a video detailing the situation.

Please follow this link for a form letter you can email to the LHMM in charge of the NYC Historic Preservation Commission. Note this is different than the petition you may have signed earlier. If you haven't signed the petition yet, click here.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Wideo Wabbit

As I pointed out in the previous post about the Warner Brothers cartoon "Slick Hare," Bugs Bunny's character was based, at least to some degree, on Groucho Marx. Occasionally, Bugs resorted to overt impersonation of Groucho, as in the 1956 cartoon, "Wideo Wabbit." Bugs is attempting to avoid appearing as the prey in Elmer Fudd's "Sportsman's Hour" TV show, and dresses up as Groucho. In pursuit of Bugs, Elmer winds up on the set of a show called "You Beat Your Wife"--a parody of Groucho's quiz show, "You Bet Your Life." While the gag might be miscontrued was making light of spousal abuse (indeed, current televised versions of the cartoon have had this scene edited out), I think it was just a clever way to work in an old joke, when Bugs asks Elmer, "Have you stopped beating your wife?"

Elmer even gets in on the act, and appears briefly in Groucho disguise, while Bugs impersonates Ed Norton (Art Carney) of "The Honeymooners."

If you want to read more details about this scene, as well as the rest of the cartoon, check out Wideo Wabbit on Wikipedia.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Slick Hare

It is often said that the character Bugs Bunny was based on Groucho Marx. Bugs used the carrot as a prop much like Groucho used his cigar, and Bugs used one of Groucho's lines from Duck Soup: "This means war!"

In the 1947 cartoon "Slick Hare," Bugs disguises himself as Groucho in one scene, in an attempt to avoid being served up as Humphrey Bogart's dinner. The cartoon is set in the Mocrumbo Club, a parody of the Mocambo Club in L.A. Cartoon versions of several stars, including Frank Sinatra, Ray Milland, and Bogart are dining and drinking in the club. When Bogart orders fried rabbit, waiter Elmer Fudd is in a panic, until he finds Bugs snacking on a crate of carrots in the kitchen. When Bugs realizes that Bogart wants him for dinner--not as a guest, but as an entree--he escapes the kitchen, and in the next scene is disguised as Groucho and sitting at a table with Harpo and Chico.

The next time he looks Harpo's way, he sees the real Harpo has been replaced by a cleaver-wielding Elmer Fudd in Harpo disguise. Elmer proceeds to hack away at Bugs' cigar with the cleaver.

For a full synopsis of the cartoon, I refer the interested reader to the Wikipedia entry "Slick Hare".