The Party Of The First Part
One of the little known facts about me is my love for old Marx Brothers movies. This goes back to the early '70's when on Friday Night at 10:30 they would sometimes show their movies as part of the Friday Night Late, Late Movie. (Another good show was Horror Incorporated which showed spine tingling horror films on Friday.) On those nights I was too young to go out on Friday, these were the extent of my entertainment. This is back in the day when we had 4 channels (count 'em!) and one of those was a static filled PBS channel.
I remember always hoping they would do a Marx Brothers film or even a Laurel and Hardy or Three Stooges. My brother Tom was the one who introduced me to Harpo, Chico, Groucho and Zeppo and I can remember both of us howling at their antics.
Then for years they kind of fell off my radar. This was until the early early 90's when occasionally they would show one of their films at the renovated historic Paradise Theater in West Allis, Wisconsin. Donna and I used to haunt that theater often and see all the classic movies like Rear Window, African Queen, Hair, The Maltese Falcon, and many more. It was such a treat to see these great old films on the big screen and was usually only $5.00. But anyways, over time, they had a Marx Brothers film or two, which was cool.
So now, I've gotten my son hooked on their films. We've seen all of their films and most we've seen multiple times. We both have our favorite scenes, including:
- The Tootsie/Frootsie ice cream horse racing digest scene
- The peanut vendor hat burning
- The Doctor Hackenbush medical assessment scene
- The "Thank ya" wallpaper scene
- The Ice Man in the apartment scene.
There are too many good ones to recall.
Much of what I missed in my days of watching it as a youth was Groucho's hurling of insults and one-liners. Sometimes when he says something excessively outlandish, I just look at Ben with raised eyebrows and we just howl. Groucho Marx makes Michael Scott from the Office look politically correct.
I think I am pretty lucky that I've got an 18 year-old who can appreciate the old classics enough to actually ask me, "Hey dad, you want to watch a Marx Brothers movie?" when he's feeling the need to laugh and connect. He has sent me animated GIF's on my phone with certain scene snippets of the boys and their hijinks. He also bought me a six DVD movie collection for Christmas that we've watched together a couple of times. We also occasionally quote lines from it or make references like "That looks like something out of a Marx Brothers movie."
I realize many people don't have the same appreciation for the old classics of the Black and White days, but I am glad I have someone to watch them with. Tonight we're watching their movie "Duck Soup," and we're doing it because we both just need a good belly laugh. And no one provides those like the three buffoons and their straight man (Zeppo).