Monday, May 29, 2017

Don Juan de Groucho

Though his manner is rude, actions rash
And he can be quite lewd, and too brash
This society matron
To the wise-guy stays patron:            
She's a fan of his pseudo-moustache.

Rufus T. Firefly (Groucho Marx) woos Mrs. Gloria Teasdale (Margaret Dumont) and her money in Duck Soup (Leo McCarey; 1933). Title by Don Juan Benson.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Popeye the Whaler Man

Popeye's riding a whale like a clipper
He's astride it, prevailing as skipper
He'll its blow-hole impale
With a pole with a sail
When land's spied, he'll turn tail--and a flipper.

David Cairns

Blow Me Down! (Dave Fleischer, Willard Bowsky; 1933)

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Blood and Gourmet

On the pendulum Price was a swinger
Over ends not-so-nice he would linger
When his flicks were released
He would mix up a feast
For his friends he would slice off a finger.

Vincent Leonard Price, Jr. (May 27, 1911 – October 25, 1993). Top: The Pit and the Pendulum (Roger Corman;1961). Above: William Castle and Vincent Price, director and star of The Tingler (1959). Title by Donald "B is for Blood" Benson.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Who's Storing the Mind?

Never trust a good brain to this schlub
He's disgusting, inane, just a grub
Lets it smash on the floor
In a splash of grey gore
When it's bust, an insane one he'll sub.

David Cairns

Dwight Frye-Days remembers the unique character actor, here as the bumbling Fritz in Frankenstein (James Whale; 1931.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Breaking the Hound Barrier

You-know-who is the craziest Marx
He'll eschew repartee or remarks
But getting undressed
There's a pet on his chest
A tattoo of a canine that barks.

Pinky (Harpo Marx) displays his unique tattoo in Duck Soup (Leo McCarey; 1933).

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Innocent, a Broad

Groucho's favorite foil is Dumont
Does she crave, yearn or spoil for each taunt?
No! He subtly pokes
But the butt of his jokes
Remains grave, mind unsoiled, nonchalant.

David Cairns

Groucho Marx and Margaret Dumont in Duck Soup (Leo Mc Carey;1933).

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Pretty in Ink

She's the queen of the tattooing arts
And a genie of natural parts
The gal has so much
And her talents are such
That she's seen on anatomy charts.

At the Circus (Edward Buzzell; 1939): Groucho sings "Lydia the Tattooed Lady" by Yip Harburg and Harold Arlen. Title by Donald B. Benson Inc.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Barrel Tones

These tricksters sing songs in a barrel
The pickling's strong but it's sterile
Be on guard now they're out
For they're hardly devout
All you chicks move along -- you're in peril.

Harpo, Zeppo, Chico, and Groucho Marx in Monkey Business (Norman Z. McLeod; 1931). Title by barrel-chested Donald B. Benson. From Wikipedia: Early on in Monkey Business, the Brothers—playing stowaways concealed in barrels—harmonize unseen while performing the popular song "Sweet Adeline". It is a matter of debate whether Harpo joins in with the singing. (One of the ship's crew asserts to the captain that he knows there are four stowaways because he can hear them singing "Sweet Adeline".) If so, it would be one of only a few times Harpo used speech on screen, as opposed to other vocalizations such as whistling or sneezing.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Popeye for an Eye

The bout has been brutal and heated
Knocked out, to the roots he's depleted 
Till the spinach is eaten
Then he's winning, not beaten
And the lout known as Bluto's defeated.

Surly Hack with Donald B. Benson

Bluto shows Popeye is on the ropes in Let's You and Him Fight (Dave Fleischer; 1934).

Friday, May 19, 2017

Evasion of the Body Snatcher

Dwight tries to explain how he's bumbled
There's a crisis with brains that he fumbled
One's improper, a wreck
And one's dropped on the deck
But what lies in Frye's cranium's jumbled.

David Cairns

Dwight Frye-Days celebrates character actor Dwight Frye, here as Fritz in Frankenstein (James Whale; 1931).

Thursday, May 18, 2017

The World According to Harpo

He beeps with his horns in morse code
And sleeps with the horse that he rode
In his raincoat's recesses
Is what anyone's guess is
He keeps there the hoard that he's stowed.

David Cairns

Harpo Marx in a promo still from A Night at the Opera (Sam Wood; 1935).

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Five Guys Named "O"

There was Harpo, who leapt from a crouch-o
Then there's sharp-dressing Zeppo, no slouch-o.
Groucho played with a thicko
The ladies called Chico
Gummo scarpered and slept on the couch-o.

David Cairns

The five Marx brothers, circa 1957. Left to right: Harpo, Zeppo, Chico, Groucho and Gummo.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Way of a Groucho

His eyebrows and mustache--both grease
His wisecracks and insults don't cease
With twirling cigar
He'll verbally spar
Poor Margaret Dumont gets no peace. 

Groucho Marx and Margaret Dumont in Duck Soup (Leo McCarey; 1933).