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Thursday, November 02, 2006

The Marx Brothers

A selection of Quotes from the Marx Brothers Films, from Clown Ministry

Gentlemen, Chicolini here may talk like an idiot, and look like an idiot, but don't let that fool you: he really is an idiot. (Groucho Marx in Duck Soup, 1933)

(Answering telephone.) Hello? Yes? Ice water in 318? Is that so? Where'd you get it? Oh, you want some. Get some onions, that'll make your eyes water. (Groucho Marx in The Cocoanuts, 1929)

Hello, I must be going. (Groucho Marx in Animal Crackers, 1930)

I can see you in the kitchen bending over a hot stove, and I can't see the stove. (Groucho Marx in Duck Soup, 1933)

I could dance with you until the cows come home. On second thought, I'd rather dance with the cows till you come home. (Groucho Marx in Duck Soup, 1933)

I got a good mind to join a club and beat you over the head with it. (Groucho Marx in Duck Soup, 1933)

I know, heifer cow is better than none, but this is no time for puns. (Groucho Marx in Monkey Business, 1931)

I don't have a photograph, but you can have my footprints. They're upstairs in my socks. (Groucho Marx in A Night at the Opera, 1935)

I'd have thrashed him to within an inch of his life, but I didn't have a tape measure.. (Groucho Marx in Go West, 1940)

I'll see you at the opera tonight. I'll hold your seat till you get there. After that, you're on your own. (Groucho Marx in Duck Soup, 1933)

I'm gonna put extra blankets, free, in all your rooms, and there'll be no cover charge. (Groucho Marx in The Cocoanuts, 1929)

I married your mother because I wanted children. Imagine my disappointment when you arrived. (Groucho Marx in Horse Feathers, 1932)

I think you've got something there, but I'll wait outside until you clean it up. (Groucho Marx in Horse Feathers, 1932)

If I hold you any closer, I'll be in back of you. (Groucho Marx in A Day at the Races, 1937)

Jail is no place for a young fellow. There's no advancement. (Groucho Marx in The Cocoanuts, 1929)

Madam, before I get through with you, you will have a clear case for divorce, and so will my wife. (Groucho Marx in Monkey Business, 1931)

Oh, I know it's a penny here and a penny there, but look at me. I worked myself up from nothing to a state of extreme poverty. (Groucho Marx in Monkey Business, 1931


Oh, why can't we break away from all this, just you and I, and lodge with my fleas in the hills? I mean flee to my lodge in the hills.. (Groucho Marx in Monkey Business, 1931)

One morning I shot an elephant in my pajamas. How he got in my pajamas, I don't know. (Groucho Marx in Animal Crackers, 1930)

Room service? Send up a larger room. (Groucho Marx in A Night at the Opera, 1935)

She's so in love with me, she doesn't know anything. That's why she's in love with me. (Groucho Marx in A Day at the Races, 1937)

Sir, are you trying to offer me a bribe? How much? (Groucho Marx in Monkey Business, 1931)

That's what I always say. Love flies out the door when money comes innuendo. (Groucho Marx in Monkey Business, 1931)

Three years ago I came to Florida without a nickel in my pocket. Now I've got a nickel in my pocket. (Groucho Marx in The Cocoanuts

Whatever it is, I'm against it. (Groucho Marx in Horse Feathers, 1932)

When I invite a woman to dinner I expect her to look at my face. That's the price she has to pay. (Groucho Marx in A Night at the Opera, 1935)

Why did I sit with her? Because she reminds me of you, that why I'm here with you, because you remind me of you, your eyes, your throat, your lips, everything about you reminds me of you ... except you. How do you account for that? (if she figures that one out she's good.) (Groucho Marx in A Night at the Opera, 1935)

With a little study you'll go a long ways, and I wish you'd start now. (Groucho Marx in Monkey Business, 1931)

You are going Uruguay, and I'm going my way. (Groucho Marx in Animal Crackers, 1930)

You call this a party? The beer is warm, the women cold and I'm hot under the collar. (Groucho Marx in Monkey Business, 1931)

You can leave in a taxi. If you can't get a taxi, you can leave in a huff. If that's too soon, you can leave in a minute and a huff. You know, you haven't stopped talking since I came here? You must have been vaccinated with a phonograph needle. (Groucho Marx in Duck Soup, 1933)

You know you've got the brain of a four-year old child, and I bet he was glad to get rid of it. (Groucho Marx in Horse Feathers, 1932)

All you ever wanted to know about Marx Brothers incidents...

From The Little, Brown Book of Anecdotes

Clifton Fadiman, General Editor

MARX, Chico [Leonard] (1891-1961), US movie comedian, one of the famous Marx Brothers.

1. Marx's wife had caught him kissing a chorus girl. During the ensuing row, Chico declared: "I wasn't kissing her. I was whispering in her mouth."

2. A new neighbor, not recognizing Chico, asked him what he

did for a living. "I'm a smuggler," announced Chico, then,

reassuringly, "Nothing big. Just Mexicans."

3. Chico wrote Heywood Broun a check to pay off some gambling

debts, warning him not to cash it before twelve o'clock the

following day. Broun later complained to Chico that the check

had bounced. Chico asked: "What time did you try to cash it?"

"Twelve-o-five." "Too late."

MARX, Groucho [Julius] (1895-1977), US comedian, one of the famous Marx Brothers.

1. Groucho was working in the garden of his California house,

dressed in tattered and ancient clothes. A wealthy matron in

a Cadillac caught sight of him, stopped, and wondered whether

she might persuade the supposed gardener to come and work

for her. "Gardener," she called, "how much does the lady of

the house pay you?" Groucho looked up. "Oh, I don't get paid in dollars,"

he replied. "The lady of the house just lets me sleep with her."

2. Groucho was descending in the elevator of the Hotel Danieli in

Venice. On the third floor the elevator stopped and a group of

priests entered. One of them, recognizing Groucho, told him

that his mother was a great fan of his. "I didn't know you guys were allowed to have mothers," said Groucho.

3. When Groucho wanted to join a certain beach club in Santa

Monica, California, he was told by a friend that as the club was

known to be anti-Semitic he might as well not bother to apply.

"But my wife isn't Jewish," replied Groucho, "so will they let my

son go into the water up to his knees?" {This story and the one

following, however, are both probably apocryphal.}

4. Groucho sent a telegram to the exclusive Friar's Club in

Hollywood, to which he belonged: "Please accept my resignation.

I don't want to belong to any club that will accept me as a member."

5. The maitre d'hotel stopped Groucho as he was about to enter

the dining room of a smart Los Angeles hotel. "I am sorry, sir,

but you have no necktie."

"That's all right," said Groucho, "don't be sorry.

6. Groucho attended one of George Gershwin's parties, given,

it seemed, for the sole purpose of letting the host play and

show off his music. Someone asked him, "Do you think that Gershwin's melodies will be played a hundred years from now?"

"Sure," was Groucho's answer, "if George is here to play them."

7. A tipsy man lumbered up to Groucho Marx, slapped him on the

back, and said, "You old son-of-a-gun, you probably don't remember me."

Marx glared at him and said, "I never forget a face, but in your case

I'll be glad to make an exception."

8. The Marx Brothers, though a closely knit group, also understood

their relative values as performers. When they were working on

Broadway, Zeppo, the straight man and consequently replacable, decided to quit the show. Sam Harris, the producer, gave him permission to leave. When

Groucho, Harpo and Chico heard about it, they went to Harris. Groucho said,

"Sam, if Zeppo leaves you'll have to give us more money."

9. Groucho Marx intensly disliked producer Harry Cohn, who worked

for Columbia pictures. Once, with his brother Chico, he viewed Cohn's

latest film. When the words "Columbia Pictures Presents" came up,

Groucho turned to Chico and remarked, "Drags, doesn't it?"

10. Warner Brothers threatened to sue Groucho Marx when they

heard that the next Marx Brothers film was to be called

"A Night in Casablanca", arguing that the title was too close

to their own "Casablanca". Groucho's reply: "I'll sue you for using the word 'Brothers'."

11. During his stint as a comedian in a show called "You Bet Your

Life," Groucho interviewed many participants. On one occasion he

interviewed a Mrs. Story, who had given birth to twenty-two children.

"I love my husband," Mrs. Story said enthusiastically.

"I like my cigar too, " said Groucho, "but I take it out once in

a while." {This remark, like many others, had to be cut before

the broadcast. On average one and a half hours of live show

were cut to about twenty-six minutes of broadcast.}

12. Invited to a bachelor dinner at a fashionable restaurant before a

high-society wedding, Groucho and Harpo noted that the automatic

elevator opened directly into the dining rooms on various floors. As the

elevator went up, they gleefully arranged a surprise for the assembled

bachelors and emerged - carrying their clothes in valises and wearing nothing

but top hats.

To their consternation, they were greeted not by rauscous roars

of male hilarity but by high-pitched feminine shrieks. The bride was

entertaining "her" friends on the floor above the bachelor dinner, and

Groucho and Harpo had pressed the wrong button. No ready

escape appeared; they took refuge behind a large potted plant until they

could drape themselves in tablecloths secured by a kindly waiter, murmur

abject apologies to the horrified ladies, and slink ignominiously from the


13. Marx despised the empty cliches of business correspondence. A

Letter from his bank manager ended with the standard phrase, "If I can be

of any service to you, do not hesitate to call on me." Marx immediately put

pen to paper. "Dear Sir," he wrote, "The best thing you can do to be of

service to me is to steal some money from the account of one of

your richer clients and credit it to mine."

14. For many years, every time they met, Samuel Goldwyn's first

words to Groucho Marx would be "How's Harpo?" Marx grew rather tired of

this. Finally, on meeting Goldwyn again and facing the inevitable inquiry,

He said, "Listen Sam, every time we meet - every time for _years_ -

you always ask, 'How's Harpo?' You never ask me anything else, and to

tell you the truth, I'm getting goddam sick and tired of it. Why don't you ever

ask me how _I_ am?"

"How are you?" asked Goldwyn obligingly.

"I'm fine," replied Groucho.

"And how's Harpo?"

MARX, Harpo [Arthur] (1893-1964) US movie comedian, the member of the famous Marx brothers team who often pretended to be dumb. He

was a skilled Harpist.

1. Among guests at a dinner party were Harpo Marx and his wife,

Susan.The English writer Jonathan Miller quizzed one of the other guests

afterward, hoping to hear firsthand some of Hapro's witticisms.

"What did Harpo say?" he asked.

"He didn't say anything."

"How about his wife?"

"She didn't say anything, either."

"Oh," said Miller in pretended disgust, "stealing Harpo's bit, eh?"

2. Meeting George S. Kaufman in New York, Oscar Levant asked if

he had recently heard from his friend Harpo Marx. "How can you hear from

Harpo?"asked Kaufman. "He can't write and he can't talk, so how can you

hear from Harpo?"

3. Harpo Marx on a visit to New York was plagued by representatives of charities wanting him to appear at benefits. One persistant lady telephoned him no fewer than twelve times in forty-eight hours. Harpo eventually agreed to appear for her charity. To ensure that he would not escape her at the last minute, she called to escort him personally to the benefit. As they were leaving the hotel suite, the telephone began ringing. "Don't you want to go back and answer it?" the lady asked. "Why bother?" responded Harpo with a weary sigh. "It's undoubtedly you again."

Brother, can you spare your name?

This is the famous letter from Groucho Marx to Warner Brothers studio, which threatened legal action if the Marx Brothers insisted on the title, 'A Night in Casablanca', for their film.

Dear Warner Bros.,

Apparently there is more than one way of conquering a city and holding it as your own. For example, up to the time that we contemplated making this picture, I had no idea that the city of Casablanca belonged exclusively to Warner Brothers. However, it was only a few days after our announcement appeared that we received your long, ominous legal document warning us not to use the name Casablanca.

It seems that in 1471, Ferdinand Balboa Warner, your great-great-grandfather, while looking for a shortcut to the city of Burbank, had stumbled on the shores of Africa and, raising his alpenstock (which he later turned in for a 100 shares of common), named it Casablanca.

I just don't understand your attitude. Even if you plan on releasing your picture, I am sure that the average movie fan could learn in time to distinguish between Ingrid Bergman and Harpo. I don't know whether I could, but I certainly would like to try.

You claim that you own Casablanca and that no one else can use that name without permission. What about "Warner Brothers"? Do you own that too? You probably have the right to use the name Warner, but what about the name Brothers? Professionally, we were brothers long before you were. We were touring the sticks as the Marx Brothers when Vitaphone was still a gleam in the inventor's eye, and even before there had been other brothers - the Smith Brothers; the Brothers Karamazov; Dan Brothers, an outfielder with Detroit; and Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?. (This was originally "Brothers, Can You Spare a Dime?" but this was spreading a dime pretty thin, so they threw out one brother, gave all the money to the other one, and whittled it down to "Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?")

Now Jack, how about you? Do you maintain that yours is an original name? Well it's not. It was used long before you were born. Offhand, I can think of two Jacks - Jack of Jack and the Beanstalk, and Jack the Ripper, who cut quite a figure in his day.

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