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.