Lyrics to Lydia the Tattooed Lady sung by Groucho Marx in the Marx Brothers movie At the Circus
Interestingly, Lydia the Tattooed Lady was the favorite song of Jim Henson and was sung on the very first episode of The Muppet Show. In addition, it was sung by muppet performers at his funeral.
My life was wrapped around the circus.
Her name was Lydia.
I met her at the world’s fair in 1900,
marked down from 1940.
She was the most glorious creature
Under the su-un.
Lydia oh Lydia, say have you met Lydia,
Lydia, the Tattooed Lady. (more…)
At the Circus (1939) starring the Marx Brothers (Groucho, Chico, Harpo), Margaret Dumont, Eve Arden
At the Circus is perhaps the Marx Brothers‘ most underrated comedy. It’s quite funny, with a very zany ending, complete with Harpo’s athletic working on the high wires, reminiscent of the ending of A Night at the Opera. The plot involves the obligatory love interest, a wealthy young man who forsakes the fortune of his rich aunt (played by Groucho’s perpetual foil, Margaret Dumont) to run the circus that his girlfriend performs in.
But when the evil owner of the circus steals the money needed to pay off the mortgage, it falls upon the strongman’s assistant Punchy (Harpo Marx), circus hand Antonio Pirelli (Chico Marx) and Antonio’s shyster lawyer friend, J. Cheever Loophole (Groucho Marx). With an assist from a gorilla named Gibraltar, one of Groucho’s funniest co-stars.(more…)
Groucho’s letter to Warner Brothers, regarding A Night in Casablanca
(Editor’s note: During the filming of the Marx Brothers‘ A Night in Casablanca, the legal department of the Warner Brothers studio allegedly sent the Marx Brothers a letter, warning them of possible infringement of their film, Casablanca, starring Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman. This is Groucho’s reply to them.) (more…)
Margaret Dumont biography (October 20, 1882 – March 6, 1965)
Margaret Dumont appeared with many comedians, including Jack Benny, Danny Kaye, Red Skelton, and W. C. Fields – but she is best known for her recurring role as the stodgy dowager straight man to Groucho Marx in many of the Marx Brothers‘ most popular films.
A Night in Casablanca (1946) starring the Marx Brothers (Groucho, Chico, Harpo), Sig Ruman
A Night in Casablanca is the last Marx Brothers movie, and I’m happy to say, one of their finest. The Marx Brothers had officially retired by this time. However, they reunited on screen for the financial benefit of their brother Chico. And I’m very glad they did. (more…)
Harpo Speaks! by Harpo Marx, Rowland Barber, Susan Marx (Photographer), Bill Marx (Photographer)
Review of Harpo Speaks:
Frankly, Harpo Speaks is one of my favorite books of all time. It’s hilarious, serious, witty, poignant and thought-provoking, sometimes all at the same time. It details what it was like to grow up in the Marx household, how all of the brothers were pushed into show business by their mother, Minnie, how hard they worked for so many years at (barely) subsistence wages, how they entertained each other, grew up on the road, and in one night changed from a singing group to the first great ‘screwball’ comedy team. If you love clowns, or are interested in clowning, you want to read this book; it’s a wonderful insight into clowning, what’s funny and why, as well as some of the Marx Brothers’ classic routines. It’s also a wonderful insight into a man I would have loved to have known; Harpo Marx. (more…)
Horse Feathers (1932) starring the Marx Brothers – Groucho, Chico, Harpo, Zeppo
First, imagine the Marx Brothers attending college. Now, imagine Groucho as the president of the college, Zeppo as his son, and Harpo and Chico as the newest additions to the college football team. Recruited by mistake, of course. Now, imagine the beautiful Thelma Todd, trying to weasel the team’s football signals from Zeppo and Groucho in her well-known vampish way. And now, imagine the big football game, with the Marx Brothers on the field, pulling out all the stops to defeat the other side. What do you get for all your imaginings? Horse Feathers, of course. (more…)
Book review of Arthur Marx’s Groucho – A Photographic Journey
Product description of Arthur Marx’s Groucho – A Photographic Journey
As the son of the world’s funniest comedian, Arthur Marx had an insider’s view of the ever-changing landscape of American entertainment. Arthur Marx’s GROUCHO offers never before seen images of his legendary family and the Hollywood scene of the 20th century. Recently discovered, never before seen candid photographs taken by Arthur Marx are at the heart of the Marx Family journey through vaudeville, Broadway, film, radio and television. Here are intimate, poignant and hilarious images of Groucho Marx, the family man, and Groucho Marx, the artist, backstage with brothers Harpo and Chico on the MGM lot. (more…)
Go West (1940) starring the Marx Brothers – Groucho, Chico, and Harpo
Synopsis of Go West
The Marx Brothers — Groucho, Chico, and Harpo — end up in the American Old West, where Chico and Harpo are unsuccessful prospectors, who befriend a desert rat who gives them the deed to some property for only ten dollars. Groucho tries to sell that land to the railroad company at an inflated price, only to have it stolen by the villain of the picture. Without that land sale, the movie’s romantic couple will be kept apart by the girl’s grandfather — the desert rat that Chico and Harpo befriended! (more…)
DVD review of The Unknown Marx Brothers: A Unique Look at Film’s Most Original Comedy Legends, narrated by Leslie Nielsen
A very nice documentary on the Marx Brothers, one of the great clown comedy teams. Originally a 1993 PBS documentary, this is a well-done, 52-minute documentary on the Marx brothers, focusing on the ‘big three’ – Groucho, Chico, & Harpo, although Zeppo & Gummo are mentioned as well. It has some very nice private recollections by family and co-workers – I especially enjoyed Bill Marx’ re-creation of his father Harpo’s ‘gookie’ look; I already knew the story from Harpo’s autobiography, but it was interesting seeing the story. (more…)