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Care of Mr. Charles H. Hungadunga
October 18, 2005 1:26 PM   Subscribe

The Society for the Prevention of Abuse towards Zeppo Marx is a grass-roots, international organization dedicated to ensuring that Zeppo Marx is remembered as the inventor, sex symbol, atomic bomb technician, dangerous street fighter, and mob-connected businessman that he was... not to mention the brilliantly subtle comedian he may have been . So, forget about that slanderous episode of Buffy, and raise a toast to the great man.
posted by yankeefog (25 comments total)

 
The site you linked to sounds interesting (and I'm a huge Marx Brothers fan), but it seems to have gotten overloaded.
posted by cerebus19 at 1:32 PM on October 18, 2005


Who knew?
posted by kozad at 1:43 PM on October 18, 2005


Fun post (and great page title), but Zeppo's still nowhere near as funny as Groucho, Harpo, or (my favorite) Chico.

I certainly hope your next post is on the genius of Margaret Dumont, the greatest straightwoman in comedy history.
posted by Dr. Wu at 1:54 PM on October 18, 2005


bandwith exceeded. =(
posted by swinginjohn at 2:03 PM on October 18, 2005


It's interesting that once Zeppo stopped making movies with the Marx Brothers, the quality of their films dropped like a rock. Probably just coincidental, but at least he had the smarts to get out of the game before he made something like Love Happy.
posted by david wester at 2:04 PM on October 18, 2005


Wow, that's the fast MeFi-ing of a site I've seen. Until it comes back online, here's a Google cache.
posted by yankeefog at 2:05 PM on October 18, 2005


Geo=deado.
posted by fixedgear at 2:05 PM on October 18, 2005


Yes, but Gummo (who on Wiki looks like Dr.Who) is even more absurdist than Zeppo.

Consider: Groucho as Pozzo, Chico as Vladimir, Harpo as Estragon and Lucky as Zeppo.
Gummo is Godot. He left the act.
Brilliant!
posted by Smedleyman at 2:36 PM on October 18, 2005


david wester: It's interesting that once Zeppo stopped making movies with the Marx Brothers, the quality of their films dropped like a rock.

This is, of course, a matter open for debate, since A Night at the Opera and A Day at the Races were made post-Zeppo - and many feel that those are two of their strongest movies. I happen to think they hit their peak with Duck Soup, but we should keep in mind that that was a commercial flop. Opera and Races, despite the fact that they marked the start of the Marx Bros descent into sentimentality, were huge commercial successes - the biggest in their careers, in fact.

Zeppo was, by most accounts, the funniest of the brothers offstage. There are some anecdotes about him filling in for the an errant or ill brother here or there and brinding the house down. On the other hand, I seem to recall at least one biographer - and I don't have the book at hand at the moment - mentioning how some friends of his commented that he was the kind of guy that was funny to hang around with at a party, but not especially funny in performance.

Finally, it should be noted that Zeppo left the act specifically because he felt he wasn't really being allowed to do anything all that interesting. Being a Marx Brother was not especially satsifying for him. He apparently found great success, though not necessarily happiness, in his post Marx Brother careers.
posted by Joey Michaels at 2:38 PM on October 18, 2005


I think they hit their peak at Duck Soup, myself. After that, I think their movies became too heavily plot-driven.

And you know, I always thought Zeppo had some nice moments as Groucho's straight man in Animal Crackers.
posted by david wester at 2:49 PM on October 18, 2005


> Margaret Dumont.


Right on, Dr. Wu. She did fine work with W.C. Fields, too. And she really was a little, uhm... Well, when she got the script for A Day at the Races, she informed Margaret O'Sullivan: "It's not going to be one of those things, I'm having a very serious part this time."
posted by digaman at 2:57 PM on October 18, 2005


I like Nicholas Brendon, and I like Anthony Bourdain's books, but man, the new Kitchen Confidential show just sucks. I should have known.

Great post.
posted by bardic at 3:00 PM on October 18, 2005


Nobody ever talks about Gummo
posted by notcostello at 4:00 PM on October 18, 2005


It's all marxist propaganda.
posted by spazzm at 4:03 PM on October 18, 2005


I'm glad to see Gummo getting a little love. I'd like to have been able to see how he fit in. In fact, I'd love to have seen these guys on stage, when they firt hit Bradway and were literally climbing the curtains.

As a lifelong Marxist (Brotherian Subsect), I've usualy counted Harpo as a favorite, but Zeppo always fascinated me as being a straight-looking, "normal" guy -- on the surface -- but perfectly capable of complete anarchy with his brothers.

Much more dangerous and subversive, that way.

And three cheers for Margaret Dumont. What a classic actress. Karen and I were watching one of the Marx flicks the other night. Groucho was abusing La Dumont. Karen asked "Does she always play exactly the same part?"

Yes. Thank goodness.
posted by mmahaffie at 4:25 PM on October 18, 2005


"Nobody ever talks about Gummo"
posted by notcostello at 4:00 PM PST on October 18 [!]


I was talking about Gummo....
*tap* *tap* *tap*
Is this thing on?


Where's my roadie?
posted by Smedleyman at 4:33 PM on October 18, 2005


Gummo? No one EVER talks about Manfred.


posted by dances_with_sneetches at 5:59 PM on October 18, 2005


Gummo? No one EVER talks about Manfred.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 6:00 PM on October 18, 2005


Zeppo pretty much *did* suck, mainly because they already had Margaret Dumont, and didn't need another straight man.

He was an okay actor, but he didn't really do anything; every straight man function was already filled through Dumont, who did it brilliantly.
posted by interrobang at 6:51 PM on October 18, 2005


No one talks about Manfred because he did his best work in the womb.
posted by david wester at 8:16 PM on October 18, 2005


Harpo was the sexy one. That is all
posted by cookie-k at 9:44 PM on October 18, 2005


Manfred? Nobody ever talks about Pauline.

Pauline? No one ever talks about Sam.

Sam Marx? What about Sammy Brown?

And will Zeppo perhaps be in a "new" movie sometime in the future?
posted by notcostello at 3:07 AM on October 19, 2005


Whatever. Since Groucho was probably the funniest man of all time, this is all an elephant.
posted by ewkpates at 6:39 AM on October 19, 2005


Ewkpates, that sort of testimony we can eliminate.
posted by yankeefog at 6:49 AM on October 20, 2005


Zeppo became the manager for his brothers. There's a story that he once slugged somebody who was pestering them at a restaurant or nightclub, then turned to his brothers and said something to the effect of, "How many managers would give you that kind of service?"
posted by pmurray63 at 10:12 AM on October 20, 2005


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