In his quirky take on vaudeville, No Applause – Just Throw Money, Trav S. D. calls the Marx Brothers “the most perfect act in show business”. They encompassed all the styles of comedy in vogue at the time, plus music.
They had a first rate pantomimist and harp player (Harpo), a top-notch dialect comedian and piano player (Chico), a “talker” (Groucho), and a romantic light comedian (successively, Gummo and Zeppo). Gummo had the intriguing added feature of being a great dancer. They were several acts in one, combining the appeal of Charlie Chaplin, Weber and Fields, and Milton Berle. W. C. Fields called them “the one act I could never follow.”
No Applause – Just Throw Money
The Book that made Vaudeville Famout
Trav S. S.
Faber and Faber
Now given that his writing style has a certain Marx=like (that’s Brothers not Karl) quality he may be slightly prejudice but one thing was sure they ranked amongst the great comic acts of not just vaudeville but 20th century cinema.
Perhaps Groucho and Harpo were better known – with vaudeville declining and the act splitting up they were the two who successfully went it alone – but Chico was always my favourite. His wayward Italian accent, wonderful way he confused the language, and that pistol shot piano playing I always found him more amusing than either of his brothers. And I found them hysterically amusing.
Apparently Chico (Leonard) was an avid golfer, a compulsive – and less than lucky – gambler and a womanizer. During an interview he was quoted as saying: If they’ll just put a good two-iron, a golf bag, a pack of gin cards, and a beautiful blond in my coffin, they can send it anywhere they want.
On this day in 1939: The Baseball Hall of Fame opens in Cooperstown, New York.