"Groucho: The Life and Times of Julius Henry Marx"
"A new biography looks at Groucho Marx's inner life"
by Adam Gopnik
The New Yorker, April 17, 2000
"By now the pundits agree, with slightly Marxian logic, almost
everything that we think of as having happened in the sixties
actually took place in the seventies, and nothing more surely
than the renaissance of the Marx Brothers. They were too violent
and acerbic for the flower-power period; W.C. Fields and Lewis
Carroll, not Groucho, are the ones who decorate the cover of
Groucho's reputation rose even as his spirits sank. In the mid-
sixties he went off to London, to have dinner with T.S. Eliot,
who had written to him asking for an autographed picture..."
Scene: Picadilly Circus, London, 1966
T.S. Eliot: "When Mr. Apollinax visited the United States
his laughter tinkled among the teacups.
Groucho Marx: "Now there's a man with an open mind -
you can feel the breeze from here!"
T.S.E.: "I thought of Fragilion, that shy figure
birch-trees, and of Priapus in the shrubbery
gaping at the lady in the swing."
Groucho: "I'm going to Iowa for an award. Then I'm appearing
Carnegie Hall. It's sold out. Then I'm sailing to France
to be honored by the French government. However,
I'd give it all up for one erection."
T.S.E.: "In the palace of Mrs. Phlaccus, at Professor
Channing-Cheetah's he laughed like an
Groucho: "We took pictures of the native girls, but they weren't
developed. . . So, we're going back next week."
T.S.E.: "His laughter was submarine and profound
like the old man of the sea's
hidden under coral islands
where worried bodies of drowned men drift down in
the green silence."
Groucho: "Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend.
Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read."
T.S.E.: "Dropping from fingers of surf.
I looked for the head of Mr. Apollinax
rolling under a chair."
Groucho: "Well, art is art, isn't it? Still, on the other hand,
water! And east is east and west is west and if you take
cranberries and stew them like applesauce they taste much more
like prunes than rhubarb does. Now, uh... Now you
tell me what you know."
T.S.E.: "Or grinning over a screen
With seaweed in its hair."
Waiter: "Excuse me, Mr. Marx, what was it like making movies
in the old days?"
Groucho: "It was hard work son. They didn't have restrooms
the sound stages. I guess they didn't think actors were
human. But all that's changed now."
Waiter: "Really? How so?"
Groucho: "People don't piss anymore!"
Waiter: "And what are you doing with your time now?"
Groucho: "Wasting it; talking to you."
T.S.E.: "I heard the beat of centaur's hoofs over the hard
turf as his dry and passionate talk devoured the
afternoon. "He is a charming man" "But after all what
did he mean?" "His pointed ears.... He must be unbalanced.""
Groucho: "Either this man is dead or my watch has stopped."
T.S.E.: ""There was something he said that I might have
Groucho: "A child of five could understand this.
Fetch me a child of five."
T.S.E.: "Of dowager Mrs. Phlaccus, and Professor and Mrs.
Cheetah I remember a slice of lemon, and
a bitten macaroon."
Groucho: "I know, I know, she's a woman who's been getting
nothing but dirty breaks. Well, we can
clean and tighten her brakes, but she'll have
to stay in the garage all night."
T.S.E.: "Waiter! There's a fly in my soup!"
Waiter: "That's all right sir; no extra charge."
Groucho: "I cannot say that I do not disagree with you."