(No… not that one)
On 19 August 1977 (41 years ago), we lost one of the greatest comedians of all time. Julius “Groucho” Marx. He was, at the least, the driving force behind the Marx Brothers comedy. Somewhere I have bootleg copies of all of their movies. A Night At The Opera, Cocoanuts, Animal Crackers, Duck Soup, and my favorite A Day At The Races. But I do have to admit that Cocoanuts, a story about the Florida land boom of the 1920’s is still very relevant today. Just read any of Carl Hiaasen’s “Skink” books or Tim Dorsey’s “Serge” books, and you can see they fit into the same mold.
Groucho has always been one of my favorites, from the grease paint mustache (said to have come about because he arrived late to set and didn’t have time to put the fake mustache on, or he hated taking off the fake one since it hurt!), the stooped over walk, and especially his always ready quick comebacks. To this day I still use one of his standards “Now that’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard!” (in a very poor imitation) in damn near every situation.
Some notable quotes:
I never forget a face, but in your case I’ll be glad to make an exception.
Outside of a dog, a book is man’s best friend. Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read.
From the moment I picked your book up until I laid it down I was convulsed with laughter. Someday I intend on reading it.
I sent the club a wire stating, “PLEASE ACCEPT MY RESIGNATION. I DON’T WANT TO BELONG TO ANY CLUB THAT WILL ACCEPT PEOPLE LIKE ME AS A MEMBER”. (I have used this quote when giving lectures several times. My all time favorite.)
When he was turned down for membership to a country club due to being Jewish, it is rumored that he asked “Can my daughter go into the pool waist deep? She’s only half Jewish”.
I did watch reruns (I’m not THAT old!) of Groucho’s TV show You Bet Your Life, and while at times very funny, the censors wouldn’t let most of his asides on air. A lot of the Marx Brothers’ movies were “pre-code”, meaning there wasn’t as much of the more risqué stuff cut. Naturally, there was no foul language or nudity, it was the 20’s and 30’s after all, but a lot more innuendo was allowed then.
Here is one source for some audio clips of all the Marx Brothers. A quick search of YouTube turns up some great Groucho clips. Here’s one: