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bobhopefan1940

did chico reeeeally play that piano? (and other strange marx trivia)

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i was watching marx brothers and i am just thrown to the floor by chico's piano playing! he did actually play the piano in these movies right? they weren't voice overs? it's a stupid question probably but i gotta be sure! ;)

 

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bobhopefan1940

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...and Mel Torme got his start singing with Chico's band. I have an early recording on a record set, where they mispronounce his name and introduce him as "Mel Tornay"...

 

Max

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Yes, it's the same recording - and I bought it in San Francisco. (And on a related note, I have a friend who is friends with Chico's grandson, who is a teacher in S. Oregon...)

 

Max

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Just to add my 2 cents in the movie about George Gershin they mention the musical talents of the Marx Brothers-now that I mention it I think they didn't call them by the Marx Brothers name but their real last names. Anyway one of the boys Ira or George tried and I believe made it into the Marx Brothers band so before the boys went to the silver screen, in NY, they were known for their musical talents. Anyone know if Groucho played an instrument or was he always a funny man?

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"I think I remember his technique was called 'shooting the keys'? I may be imagining this, but did he play the keys at one point with one finger?"

 

Chico did, yes. He'd make a pistol gesture with his hand and shoot the keys, playing each note with his index finger...

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> I thought I read on another thread here that he

> played the guitar. Maybe whoever posted that will

> elucidate for you.

 

Groucho played the guitar in several of their films, but it's not unreasonable to suppose that each of the Marx Brothers played more than one instrument, since they began as a juvenile vaudeville act.

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ok... forgive me for this because it's going to be an outlandish question which may be impossible to answer... maybe an intelligent one or a reeeeally stupid one! lol

 

in one of the marx brothers films (i believe it was A Day At The Races, but don't quote me on that!) Harpo tries to explain where groucho is by whistling. He makes the curves of a women's body and whistling at the same time. at one point, it sounds like a "wolf whistle." here goes... when did the wolf whistle originate and did it have anything to do with this film?

 

newborn marx fan,

bhf1940

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Chico taught himself to play the piano and Harpo likewise his harp. To me he was one of the truly great piano players of all time. His comedy routine while playing the piano was unique, although Victor Borger (Sp?) was a close second. I read somewhere that Groucho used to hate the musical scenes with Chico and Harpo because it took away from the plot of the movie and was out of place. I always thought to myself how funny it was when Harpo who ran around chasing women, honking his horn, putting his leg in someone's hand turned sooooo serious when he played his Harp. Maybe that was the point that Groucho was making!

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Seek (Google) and ye shall find:

 

It wasn't until the 20th century that "wolf" can to mean a philanderer, but the root wise is the same. That expression led to "wolf call", "wolf whistle." and so on. Another popular tale courtesy of Aesop is The Boy Who Cried Wolf, from which we have borrowed the phrase "cry wolf" when we receive a false alarm.

 

http://www.wolfsongalaska.org/wolves_humans_myths.html

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> Harpo (Adoplh) Marx didn't merely play the harp, he

> was extremely accomplished with the difficult

> instrument.

 

All the more amazing because he technically played it wrong.

 

"aftermath" asked about Groucho not liking the musical numbers, he may not have liked the generic numbers in some of the films but I never heard of complaints about Harpo and Chico. Fans were disappointed if they didn't do any music in their films. Harpo looking so serious when he played added to his charm for me. He took it seriously and it's the kind of instrument that requires a great deal of concentration.

 

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Me

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movieman1957 said:

 

Harpo looking so serious when he played added to his charm for me. He took it seriously and it's the kind of instrument that requires a great deal of concentration.

 

Yes, I just love the look on Harpo's face when he plays. But the most fantastic for me is still Chico! Like someone else stated... "shooting the keys".... I just can't believe someone can play the piano that well and still joke around while doing it!

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