Tuesday, November 1, 2011

A little Groucho talk....

Okay, I admit right from the top that this is a bit of an unusual topic to expect from my blog, but I found this story very interesting and wanted to share it.

In my high school years, I found myself fascinated with the Marx Brothers, particularly Groucho. For a couple of years, WCCO-TV had a Saturday night show hosted by a fellow named Alan Lotsberg that featured Marx Brothers movies. (Lotsberg was also a sidekick on the kids show "Clancy the Cop," playing detective Willie Ketchum.)

Every Saturday night, Lotsberg would introduce another Marx Brothers movie, and tell us a bit of the history of it, who wrote the script, which young actors played the bit parts, and then I would sit on the floor absolutely charmed by "Duck Soup," "Night at the Opera," "Day at the Races" and all the others.

As often happened when I would get intrigued by something, I headed off to the library and started reading everything I could about Groucho (real name: Julius) and his brothers. I didn't learn enough to become an expert, but I knew more than your average 10th grader.

(This also led, I believe, to a fascination with Woody Allen movies, which was not at all the norm for teenage Minnesota boys in the 1970s. But I digress.)

Over the years, I've read a number of interesting anecdotes about Groucho, or seen bits and pieces of interviews with people like Dick Cavett or Johnny Carson. But until the fellows at Powerline linked to THIS story, I had never read of the exchange of letters between, and subsequent meeting of, Groucho and T.S. Eliot. The relationship seems improbable, given Eliot's rabid anti-Semitism, but I found the article fascinating, and apparently they got on quite well. Click on the link and I think you'll enjoy the story.


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