Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Faux Groucho

It's hard to resist dressing up as Groucho. He is universally recognized and the makeup is pretty easy to do. I've done it myself in younger, more hirsute days. I won the Halloween costume contest at the children's hospital where I was working at the time.

Over at The Marx Brothers Council of Britain blog, Matthew Coniam unleashed a mystery on the blogosphere in the form of a photo of someone disguised as Groucho. The photo was used on the cover of CD of Groucho's radio performances.

Tom (sorry--I have no additional identifying information), an astute reader of Matthew's blog, solved the mystery. The photo is of famed photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt, and Tom had seen it before in the book Life Goes to the Movies.

A little Googling on my part uncovered the article, "Speaking of Pictures", subtitled "LIFE photographer gets made up to look like seven other people," in the September 26, 1949 issue of Life. The Paramount makeup artist who transformed Eisenstaedt into characters ranging from Sampson to Victoria Lake noted that Groucho was the easiest.


  1. Needless to say, I'm now off to see what Alfred Eisenstaedt looks like done up as Veronica Lake.
    Or shall I just wait for it to turn up on the cover of a book about her?

  2. Matthew (as Groucho himself would put it), believe me, you would have to be off to want to see him done up as Veronica Lake.

  3. My original link to the Life article was off a couple of pages. It's fixed now.

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  5. There's a pic of IRVING BRECHER dressed as Groucho in promo for "Go West" in 1938 when Groucho phoned in too sick and "Brecho" subbed for him, amazingly nobody caught on: