Thursday, February 08, 2007

Groucho - En Marx Brother Bag Facaden

Yep, that title got me too.

I've got a mild case of writers block right now so I'm going to attempt to clear it by writing about some of my favourite things around the house. First up is a recent addition to my growing library on Groucho Marx and the Marx Brothers.

Roughly translated the title of the book you're seeing is along the lines of; "Groucho - A Marx Brother At The Back of something". I mean, I really don't know for sure because I don't speak, or read, Danish, or whatever language this book was printed in. I'm assuming Danish as it was published in Denmark in 1985.

I found this little gem in one of my favourite haunts, the Lions Club Bookmart at Glen Osmond. It's a rare time that I go there and not come out weighed down with several books, all at genuine early 1980s prices. How genuine? This sucker cost me a whopping $2.00. Not bad for a book I can't read. The pictures are good though and I love the cartoon on the front.

The back isn't that bad either. It has a three panel joke strip featuring one of Groucho's more memorable exchanges from the You Bet Your Life show. In case you're too lazy to click the link I'll share the rough translation with you. According to legend Groucho had a female contestant named Mrs. Story on the show one evening (well, that part is fact). During the course of the conversation Mrs Story mentioned she had nineteen children. Groucho asked, "Why so many children?" "Well, I just love my husband." Mrs Story replied. Groucho shot back, "And I like a good cigar, but I take it out of my mouth once in a while." Don't bother trying to find any video or audio of the joke because the legend says no copies ever survived, if indeed it did happen. It's become one of those urban myths that spring up and stay with us.

Did he say it or not? Ahhhh who cares. It's damn funny no matter who said it. In a perfect world he not only said it but he was also dressed like the cartoon when he said it and Mrs Story was a dead ringer for Margaret Dumont. The exchange ranks right up there, for me anyway, with anything he said, including my all time personal favourite from A Night At The Opera; Dumont: "Have you got everything?" Groucho: "I've had no complaints yet." Or something along those lines. "Bore a hole in yourself and let the sap run out," always cracked me up as well.

I might have to learn how to speak Danish so I can read the book. In the meantime it does have some great photos and if there's a great Dane out there who'd like to take the time out and translate the text for me, hey - it'd be greatly appreciated.

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