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January 21st, 2009
Great Lines
Bill Marx on Harpo
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Bill Marx: The last performance of Harpo Marx occurred at the Pasadena Theatre in California.  And he shared the bill with Allan Sherman who he helped to create a career for himself as one of our great parodists of all time.  Allan did the first half of the show.  There was an intermission and then Dad did the second half of the show.  Allan comes in at intermission and notices there’s a bottle of cognac on Allan’s cot where he would lie down and relax for a while.  And a note saying, “Allan, I want you to know this is my final performance.” Well, Allan went crazy.  He couldn’t believe it.  And the opening of the act after the intermission, he came out and he says, “I want you to know that you’re having a historical moment this evening, folks.  Harpo Marx is retiring.  This is the last time you’re ever going to see him onstage as Harpo Marx.  I now introduce you to Harpo Marx.” And Dad goes and he does some stuff and people are going crazy and whatever it is and, finally, at the very end, he picks up the microphone and he launches into his Bar Mitzvah speech.  “For thirteen long years, I have toiled and labored for your happ-“ and does the whole thing.  The people are just silent as… as a church mouse.  I mean you can’t hear a pin drop.  And he comes to the end of this and he says, “And, in conclusion, I am so honored to know that you folks are, have the keenness and the perspicacity for recognizing monumental genius.  I thank you.” And walked off the stage.  Well, people must have applauded for at least a good two or three minutes. That’s a long time if you’re just counting.

  • Gail Feinstein

    I WAS ACTUALLY AT THAT PERFORMANCE AT THE PASEADENA THEATRE WHEN HARPO MARX SPOKE. THE FIRST THING HE SAID WAS, “AS I WAS ABOUT TO SAY IN 1928…” AND WE ALL HOWLED. I AM PROUD TO HAVE BEEN IN THE AUDIENCE FOR SUCH A HISTORICAL OCCURRANCE AND FEEL SUCH A CONNECTION TO HARPO TO THIS DAY BECAUSE OF IT.

  • Richard Glueck

    Gail, what a wonderful part of entertainment history to have witnessed! I remember when Harpo died, though I was still a youngster, 14 yrs., I sensed a twinge of grief. As I approach sixty, I recognize how young Harpo really was when he passed. God bless him.

  • sharon Pisenti

    Hi Bill–My friends and I had the pleasure of sitting near you and visiting with you recently in the great Italian restaurant in Rancho Mirage. Six of us were visitors from Santa Rosa. What an added plus that was to our week vacation. Like everyone—your father was a favorite of mine and remains so. One of my favorite days is Halloween and one of my favorite costumes is “Harpo Marx” Naturally I do not speak–shake hands with my leg–and toot my horn ! Believe me this was not easy working at Macy’s !
    The next thing on my agenda -today- is to buy your book.
    It was fun and a pleasure to meet you.
    Sincerely, Sharon Pisenti

    P.S. Hope this e-mail gets to you

  • Fay Iselt

    Our Economic Development corporation in Giddings Texas is restoring an early 1900’s silent movie theater. It will return to a silent movie theater and we will have actual showings. I would love Bill Marx open it for us and be our special guest. How do I make that happen? Any ideas?

  • SAM GOLD

    I remember reading Harpo Marx’s autobiography (Harpo Speaks) and how moved I was by how he spoke about his children. They don’t make ‘em like that anymore.

  • Randy Salcido

    TO FAY ISELT who posted 1/30/09…email me at shticker@verizon.net (Title the email: HARPO) and maybe I can find contact info. for Bill for you. Met him in Palm Springs in 1999. Regards, Rand

  • Elaine

    Harpo Marx seemed to be a very special person and gave a lot to the world with his talent. Young people today still appreciate the Marx Brothers’ comedy. I also dressed up as Harpo for Halloween once and it was great fun, lol. God bless! :)

  • Kevin Butler

    Mr.Sherman was the famous creator and performer of song spoofs like

    “My Zelda” and”Hello Muddah..Hello Faddah!”.

    He performed and recorded many song parodies and Mr.Harpo Marx

    was there when the disk”My Son The Folk Singer”was being recorded..or

    so says the disk’s liner notes.

  • Barry Curtis

    LAST NIGHT (07/15/2009) AT A PALM DESERT COFFEE SHOP ONCE MORE I MET THE GREAT PIANIST AND COMPOSER BILL MARX AND HIS LOVELY WIFE. ALTHOUGH THIS WAS HERB JEFFRIES GIG. I TOLD BILL OF MY FAVORITE CLIP WAS FROM A DAY AT THE RACES “THE TOOTSY FRUTSY ICE CREAM” EVEN THOUGH HIS DAD WASN’T IN THAT CLIP AND THE PIANO CLIP WHERE HIS DAD BREAKS THE PIANO THEN PLAYS THE STRINGS AS A HARP. WE DISCUSSED MANY SUBJECTS INCLUDING DOROTHY DANDRIDGE AND PORGY AND BESS. WOULD REALLY LIKE TO DISCUSS FURTHER THE MUSIC OF GERSHWIN.
    BARRY CURTIS barrycurtis4u@yahoo.com

  • Kent Vogel A. S. C. A. P.

    Bill, I hope your father’s stage act will be documented for posterity.
    I also studied with Mildred Dilling!

    With Every Best Wish,

    Kent Vogel

  • Mariane Herndon

    What can you tell me about Harpo’s stand-in? In the late 1940s when my family lived in Caracas, Venezuela, a friend of the family named Count ??? (I’ve forgotten his name) gave me some gifts which I cherish and still use. The gentleman claimed to have been Harpo’s stand-in. I’d appreciate any information you could offer.
    Sincerely,
    Mariane Beasey Herndon

  • http://www.sanantoniocarreviews.com Livia Dylla

    I absolutely love your blog.. Pleasant colors & theme. Did you create this web site yourself? Please reply back as I’m looking to create my own personal site and want to know where you got this from or exactly what the theme is called. Kudos!

  • Marilyn Steger

    I enjoyed reading your blog. What a wonderful way for Harpo to finish an awesome career.
    I also just finished reading your Dad’s Book, “Harpo Speaks!”. He was truly an inspirational man. With all of the hardships he and his family endured, he accomplished so much. He also had his priorities straight. His wife and family meant everything to him. As a kid, I loved watching him in the movies and on the various TV Shows. He was an inspiration to all who had the honor of knowing him. I thought a lot of him prior to reading his book. After reading it, my admiration for him has deepened profoundly.
    Thank you, Bill, for doing all you are doing to keep your Dad’s legacy alive.
    Keep up the good work!
    –Marilyn Steger

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