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August 11, 1978 - Image 33

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1978-08-11

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

Tribute to Comedian Grouch() Marx; Bette Midler Makes Movie Debut

FAMILY FUN

By HERBERT G. LUFT

OLD TIME
PORTRAIT

iCopyright 1978, JTA. Inc.)

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' HOLLYWOOD—Groucho
Marx was recently honored
posthumously by the
Academy of Motion Pictures
Arts and Sciences with a
tribute to the past Honorary
Academy Award winner —
paid by Fay Kanin, the
academy's first vice presi-
dent.
We viewed that night a
series of film clips from the
Marx Bros. pictures, "Ani-
mal Crackers" (1930);
"Monkey Business" (1931);
"Horse Feathers" (1932);
"The Night at the Opera"
(1935); "A Day at the Races"

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years younger than
Harpo and Chico, both of
whom died before
Groucho, he remained
the dominant one of the
brothers throughout a
career of half a centruy,
from vaudeville to
Broadway and Hol-
lywood. Groucho was
quite difficult to talk to:
he was witty but ex-
tremely sarcastic when

confronted by people he
didn't know well. He was
pompous and self-
righteous, or at least pre-
tended to be so.

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George Burns, who made
a few pointed remarks at
the opening of the evening
in his own inimitable way,
told of an incident at a din-
ner table when he remarked
that in his opinion Charlie
Chaplin was the greatest
comedian who ever lived.
Whereupon Groucho snap-
ped back, "No, I am the
greatest." George reveals
that he countered the self-
praise with the whimsical
answer, "If not Chaplin
then I rank as the greatest
comedian." Groucho didn't
talk to him afterwards for a
long time!
After the screening, there
was a panel discussion bet-
ween John Guedel (pro-
ducer of "You Bet Your
Life"), Bronislau Kaper
(composer of the score to "A
Night at the Opera" and "A

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( 1937); "At the Circus"
(1939); and "Love Happy"
(1949), Groucho's solo ef-
fort. Also shown was a seg-
ment from the Groucho
Marx television series,
"You Bet Your Life," the
one which introduced the
then-unknown Phyllis Dil-
ler as a contestant.
- The filmed part of "A Tri-
bute to Groucho Marx"
ended with a "live" TV ap-
pearance of the comedian
when accepting the Honor-
ary Academy Award April
2, 1974, with Jack Lemmon
commenting on his career.
There was also a screening
of a filmed scene from the
stage production of "Min-
nie's Boys," a musical com-
edy by Groucho's son, Ar-
thur Marx, dealing with the
ascent to fame of the "Four
Nightingales" who became
the Marx Bros. with
Groucho, Harpo, Chico and
Zeppo while another origi-
nal team member, Gummo,
remained on the sideline.

Though Julius Marx
(Groucho) was a few

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Friday, August 11, 1978 33

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS



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Day at the Races"), Arthur
Marx, Nat Perrin (writer-
producer and longtime as-
sociate of Groucho Marx),
Morrie Ryskind (author
with George S. Kaufman of
the screenplays to "Animal
Crackers" and "A Night at
the Opera,") with Fay
Kanin acting as moderator.
Ryskind, whose Broad-
way plays go back to the
early 1920s, made it clear
that the seemingly im-
promptu remarks and the
wild horseplay of the Marx
Bros. never was improvised
on stage or in front of the
cameras but word-by-word
indicated in the script. It
was Groucho and his
brothers' ingenious in-
terpretation that created
the robust often rustic

humor of their stage and sc-
reen comedies, a slapstick
characterization conceived
for specific identity of the
four Marx Bros., which re-
mained with them through-
out their careers.
Arthur Marx, as a wri-
ter often at odds with his

father though an admirer
of his work, lingered at
great length on the unau-
thorized biography of
Groucho — which took
him 18 months to com-
plete — only to hear from
his father that he was
going to sue him upon
publication and suggest-
ing he throw the manus-
cript into the trash can.

Bette Midler, on July 14,
was on the makeshift stage,
a huge steel construction, at
the Long Beach Memorial
Stadium in California, with
thousands upon thousands
of young men and women
dressed in the style of the
late 1960s, in blue jeans,
T-shirts and denim jackets,
raising both hands in greet-
ing in unison shouting to
the shrill rhythm of the
band, "We save the world
with drugs, sex and rock-
and-roll."
Two helicopters were
crossing above us taking ae-

and Vietnam protesters, the
character of Rose has been
linked to the late Janis Jop-
lin with whom she shares
the tragic fate of becoming a
drug victim.

rial shots for the production
of 20th Century-Fox's "The
Rose," which marks Mi-
dler's feature film debut, a
picture in which she por-
trays a songstress whose
love affairs and professional
triumphs never completely
satisfy her lonely restless-
ness.
A composite portrait of
many popular singers of the
period of "flower children"

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