Sunday, October 02, 2005

hooray for captain spaulding!

julius henry marx was born 105 years ago today and without a doubt we still believe he is the funniest human to have graced this silly planet. he of the razor wit, snappy come back, fake 'stache and brow. groucho and his brothers made the most flat-out wildest movies ever and have influenced generations around the world to this day. his prominence as a subversive character even got the f.b.i. to create a file on him in the 50's. but then again, who wasn't profiled by j. edgar hoover and his gestapo back then?
groucho has been imitated more than almost anyone else in history, either visually or verbally. his affect on modern culture is unreal. it seems not a day goes by without some reference to groucho or the marx brothers in the media ...

the early films on paramount were total anarchy; nothing was sacred and no-one was safe. the later movies weren't as unpredictable, but even a bad marx film is funnier than almost anything else around. and after the brothers groucho went on to a sucsessful career on television, vinyl and film on his own.

the fave marx flick in here is 'duck soup'. it's the craziest and most thought provoking movie they made. when it was released in 1933, during hitler's rise to power in germany, it seemed to scare people from theaters with songs about war and the premise of dictators, spies and shady politics. now it is rather hard to find anything about the movie that doesn't ring true. if anything, it kinda reflects the way things are going today, shoddy diplomacy, arrogant leaders, inept battlefield tactics ... kinda like the morning headlines, eh?
happy birthday julius, old friend ...

... two years ago today our little beagle, sadie, had a litter of 5 puppies. she went into labor early in the morning and started popping them out at various locations around the wreckroom. being very aware that october 2nd was groucho's birthday, i started naming them after the marx brothers. she dropped 4 boys and a girl, (the girl we tagged mrs. dumont, after groucho's leading lady for 6 of their 13 films). the third one out we dubbed harpo, of course, and he is the one we kept. and a more apt moniker could not have been found. harpo is the cutest, funniest and sweetest dog we have known. he has this hilarious habit of 'honking' after lapping up a bowl of water and, swear to dog, it sounds just like harpo's horn.

he makes sure it's an all-out laff riot in the w'room on a daily basis, never dull and quite entertaining. and when s.a. leaves for any reason other than work he runs around the house endlessly crying and wimpering and driving me to drink, (not too hard), til she returns. but he knows when she goes to work and has no prob with that. we can't quite figure that one out yet. there is a bunch of shit we can't figure out about him other than we just love this puppy!
happy birthday lil' buddy!

and this is for the real harpo ... (who died on september 28, 1964)

To Harpo Marx
(by Jack Kerouac, 1959)

Harpo! When did you seem like an angel
the last time?
and played the gray harp of gold?

When did you steal the silverware
and bug-spray the guests?

When did your brother find rain
in your sunny courtyard?

When did you chase your last blonde
across the Millionairesses' lawn
with a bait hook on a line
protruding from your bicycle?

Harpo! Who was that Lion
I saw you with?

How did you treat the midget
and Konk the giant?

Harpo, in your recent night-club appearance
in New Orleans were you old?

Were you still chiding with your horn
in the cane at your golden belt?

Was your vow of silence an Indian Harp?
(audio of this in realmedia)
i ripped these from the films into mp3s for your listening enjoyment (via yousendit):

hello i must be going (animal crackers)
whatever it is i'm against it (horse feathers)
everyone says i love you (horse feathers)
my administration (duck soup)
we're going to war (duck soup)
lydia the tattooed lady (at the circus)

plus a video of lydia the tattooed lady (a wmv file)
and a short snippet of the marxes in color from 'animal crackers' (17 seconds of wonder)

go buy a marx brothers movie!


Anonymous said...

Great little rehearsal clip from Duck Soup. I looks like the real thing. It's not colorized is it?

Anonymous said...

I meant Animal Crackers not Duck Soup

sleepybomb said...

it was taken by one of the wives of sombody working on 'animal crackers' with a home movie cam ... it is really facinating, all 17 seconds of it ... now i wanna see the rest of what she got!

Jim Marquis said...

I remember when I was a little kid and I thought Harpo was an angel who somehow ended up in old movies. I guess it was the hair and the harp...

sleepybomb said...

you mean he wasn't? now i am bummed. i always thought he was an angel ...