06/14/05 - the marx brothers

In today's excerpt - the legendary Marx Brothers Groucho, Chico and Harpo are juxtaposed against the equally legendary and immensely powerful Hollywood producer Irving Thalberg, on the eve of their highly successful collaboration on the movie A Night at the Opera:

"Thalberg was a difficult man to see ... the trio made an attempt to be punctual, only to find the producer's office shut; he was forever in story conferences on other movies.  The Brothers ultimately took matters into their own hands, lighting cigars, blowing gusts of smoke under the door, and loudly yelling 'Fire!' between puffs.  A distressed Thalberg emerged, saw what the Brothers were up to, and apologized for the delay.  But a few weeks later he kept them waiting again—this time inside his office as he went down the hall to consult with Louis B. Mayer on some non-Marxian matter.  The negotiation took longer than anticipated, and when he returned he found the Brothers squatting nude, roasting potatoes in his display fireplace.  And still Thalberg could not give the trio his undivided attention.  Several weeks later he kept the group waiting once more.  On this occasion they barricaded his door with heavy filing cabinets.  These took hours to remove.  Never again did the Marx Brothers cool their heels in his waiting room."


Sefan Kanfer


Groucho: The Life and Times of Julius Henry Marx


Vintage Books a Division of Random House, Inc.


Copyright 2000 by Stefan Kanfer


barns and noble booksellers
Support Independent Bookstores - Visit

All delanceyplace profits are donated to charity and support children’s literacy projects.


Sign in or create an account to comment