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February 08, 1974 - Image 26

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1974-02-08

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS
26—Friday, February 8, 1974

Marx Brothers: Their Sensational Anecdotal Roles

Sayings of the Kobriner
A villager lamented to the
Kabriner (died 1857) that his
evil desires constantly over-
came him and caused him to
fall into transgression.
"Do you ride a horse?" the
Rabbi inquired.
"Yes, answered the vil-
lager.
"What do you do if you
happen to fall off?"
"I mount again," said the
villager.
"Well, imagine the Evil
Impulse to be the horse," re-
marked the Rabbi. "If you
fall, mount again. Eventually
you will master it."

They have been in the lime-
light for so long that two
books about them—the fabu-
lous Marx Brothers—do not
represent surprise either for
the entertainment world or
for the new literary output
about people of the stage.
Therefore the two books
about them were to be ex-
pected.
From W. W. Norton Co.
comes "The Marx Brothers
Scrapbook" by Groucho
Marx and Richard J. Ano-
bile.
Simon and Schuster pub-
lished "Groucho, Harpo, Chi-
co • and Sometimes Zeppo—A
Celebration of the Marx Bro-
thers" by Joey Adamson.
Together, they offer a total
picture of actors and their
style, the entertainers and
their roughshod means of
reaching the public.



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Why did Groucho sue pub-
lishers for non-sanitation of
some of his remarks? The
court denied him an injunc-
tion to stop distribution of
the book. Now the reader can
acquire the S. 0. B. refer-
ences, the f . . . . ing, etc.,
etc.
But there is much more to
the two books.
Whether it is about Tante
or about Jack Benny, about
men in the theater, the pro-
ducers or the authors—and
lots about the four who have
captivated or are self-capti-
vating — the two large vol-
umes are filled with anec-
dotes, personal reminiscenses
the way they tackled audi-
ences, interpreting a genera-
tion and more of stagecraft.
Among the many friends
and associates, and perhaps
also enemies, compiled in the
two works, are people of such
eminence that linked with
their lives is an array of the
most famous who form a
veritable Who's Who in art-
istry.
You can't use some of the
language by Groucho in a
review, but some portions
otherwise are worth referring
to.
For instance, after a few
non-usable words we find
this recollection:
"I went to Germany once
and asked permission to go to
East Germany. I inquired as
to where Hitler had died and
when I got there I danced
on his grave. Not much sat-
isfaction after he killed six
million Jews!"
And referring to Hy Kraft
—he used tough words about
many others—he wrote:
' "He (Kraft) wrote two or
three plays, one of which was
fairly successful. It was about
Jews living on the Lower East

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Side of New York. I don't
remember the name of the
play but he had no talent."
There are crudities and some
attacks that irk many.
Then there is this interest-
ing excerpt from the "Scrap-
book":
"We had a fellow who
played an Otto Kahn. char-
acter. His name was Lou
Sorin. He ran all through the
play.
"I've got to tell you a story
about Otto Kahn. He didn't
like the idea that he was a
Jew. This guy was worth
about a hundred million dol-
lars and was a great patron
to the Metropolitan Opera in
New York. He was walking
down Fifth Avenue with Mar-
shall B. Wilder who had a
hunched back. As they
walked they passed a syna-
gogue. Kahn turns to Wilder
and says, "You know, I used
to be a hunchback." You
should be able to use that
story in the. book.
"Sorin, who played this
Kahn type character, was a
great friend of Harry Ruby's.
They were both baseball nuts.
Ruby was a lousy ballplayer,
but his ambition was to be-
come a professional player.
You know they made a pic-
ture over at MGM about Bert
Kalmar and Harry Ruby. It
was a good picture. We all
used to get together to play
ball. When we played in
Great Neck out where I
lived, Eddie Cantor would
come and join us. He once
came in evening clothes and
played left field. We all wore
nutty outfits. Ryskind loved
to play ball.
"Once I went to visit Kauf-
man and Ryskind because
they were working on the
script for something or an-
other for us. I get out to
where they were working and
I find them playing ball. I
can see them now. Kaufman
was catching and Ryskind
was pitching.
"We were young in those
days. Those were fun days
for us. "Animal Crackers"
was a damned funny play.
That was the last time Kauf-
man and Ryskind wrote for
us until they did a "Night at
the Opera" 10 or 12 years
later."
"I'm going to be 83 years
old. At this age, I don't give
a damn what I say about
anybody or what they say
about me." This was the tone
that was set for the series of
interviews between Groucho

Yeshiva Seniors Start
Semester in Israel

Our Pleasure Is Giving You Pleasure

NEW YORK — Eighty five
yeshiva high school seniors
and 20 prospective teachers
left Sunday for a semester
of study in Israel, on World
Zionist Organization pro-
grams, it was announced by
Arie Morgenstern, director
of the Torah education de-
partment of the World Zion-
ist Organization - American
Section.
They will study at Gold
College for Women in Jeru-
salem, Jerusalem Torah Col-
lege for Men and at Bnei
Akiva Scholarship Institute
at Kibutz Tirat Tzvi in the
Bet Shean Region.
The group of prospective
teachers comprise the semi-
annual contingent of students
from Yeshiva University's
Teacher's Institute for Wom-
en :

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Marx and Richard J. Ano-
bile, 26. They spent throe
months in Groucho's Beverly
Hills home and the result
was "The Marx Bros. Scrap-
book," by Marx and Anobile.
Groucho gave exclusive
permission for use of all
memorabilia in his personal
collection for this book which
also contains interviews with
Gummo and Zeppo, as well
as Susan Marx, Harpo's
widow.
Groucho's career began in
vaudeville in 1905. Gradually
he was joined by his broth-
ers. In 1924, they became the
darlings of Broadway where
they opened as stars of the
first of three musical hits.
Their unique wit and trend-
setting mode of comedy was
combined with the sophisti-
cated writing of George S.
Kaufman and Morrie Rys-
kind and with the music of
Irving Berlin, Harry Ruby
and Bert Kalmar. They were
unbeatable.
Already in their 40's they
shot their first two films in
1929, "The Cocoanuts" and
"Animal Crackers." The
films were instant hits and
Broadway lost the team for-
ever. In all, they produced
14 films and were box office
stars until they disbanded in
1949. Grouch() became a
household name because of
his popular show, "You Bet
Your Life." Today he is still
active.
"The Marx Bros. Scrap-
book" has been chosen as a
selection by Time Incorpor-
ated Book Clubs, the Movie
Book Club and Penthouse
Book Society.
Adamson's is a terrific ac-
count of the Marxes ironies
and humor. It is a chrono-
logical record of their shows
. . . in all spheres of enter-
tainment.
Lots of stories are repro-
duced. There are many of
the puns, the actual texts of
their stage stories. They are
biting and always entertain-
ing.
Indeed, they are the actual
words of the noted punsters,
comedians, great actors.
fearless ridiculers of one and
all, and the fun is at the
expense of the country — of
the world — of the men they
dealt with.
* *
Hundreds of photographs
in both volumes add im-
mensely to the importance of
the Marx Brothers biogra-
phies and the anthological

P nb prt_r

THE MARX BROTHERS:
THE FOUR OF THEM

value of both works is im-
pressive. The two books are
star-studded. They will un-
doubtedly be among the big
sellers among all who have
an interest in the entertain-
ment world. —P.S.

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