“With a hey-nonny-nonny and a ha-cha-cha!” – Groucho Marx in Duck Soup
Greetings, fellow Marxists…and thank you to those who tuned into the Groucho Marx Facebook Live celebration on October 2nd – the 130th anniversary of Groucho’s birth. For those who missed it, you will find over two and half hours of interviews archived and pinned at the top of that page. (The link for Frank Ferrante’s “An Evening With Groucho” Facebook Fan Page is in the “Link” category here on www.grouchomarx.com.)
What moves me regarding the interviews is the commitment to the Marx Brothers legacy by my interviewees. Quite a few, like myself, discovered the Marxes at an early age – producer/director Robert Weide who went on to produce the documentary The Marx Brothers in a Nutshell, John Tefteller who at 17 was employed by Groucho and is currently restoring his radio work, Paul Wesolowski who amassed an impressive archive of Marx research, Drew Friedman who continues to illustrate Groucho and Robert Bader who wrote Four of the Three Musketeers. It was a thrill to chat with and hear new stories from Harpo’s son Bill, Gummo’s son Bob and Groucho’s grandson Andy. Film historian Leonard Maltin told the tale of meeting Groucho and actor Seth Shelden shared his passion and connection to Harpo Marx and the joy he takes in performing the role.
There is a ten minute taped interview with Dick Cavett highlighted within the tribute that is lovely. It was this interview that inspired me to interview Groucho’s daughter’s (Miriam’s) best friend – 94 year-old Adele “Sunny” Nadel – who spent much time in the Beverly Hills Marx household. Her stories of Groucho and Miriam dating back to 1940 are quite beautiful. “I loved them both,” she told me. I will share that on the Facebook page soon. Stay tuned.
Mr. Bader broke the news that the 1925 silent film Too Many Kisses starring Harpo Marx is restored and available now at www.filmpreservationsociety.org. On that DVD, the restored version of the Marx Brothers in The House That Shadows Built – the talent agent skit that the Brothers performed in a variety of shows – is featured. It is a crystal clear rendering and you feel you are seeing the foursome live.
In other Marx related news, the Brothers in 1946’s A Night in Casablanca is being released on Blu-ray on December 15 with bonus features including an audio excerpt of a live stage performance from when the Marx Brothers tried out scenes prior to the filming, radio commercials and a trailer. Mr. Bader’s documentary on Cavett and Groucho broadcasts after the new year and yours truly in the film version of the stage show An Evening With Groucho will be released in 2021.
More to come. But in the interim…”tell them Groucho sent you!’
Frank Ferrante, Groucho Marx Productions, Inc.