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An Evening With Groucho 1A

Dick Cavett: Thank you, it's nice to be wanted. I...I must eh tell you, for the people in the back, it's Dick Cavett up here. I can't believe that I'm here tonight. It's not Carnegie Hall that gets to me, but I can't believe that I know Groucho Marx and he asked me to..ehm... to introduce him tonight, and I'll do that as quickly as possible. I met Groucho Marx on a sunny Sunday afternoon about twelve years ago. He was coming from the funeral of a great friend of his, a man he has often said was his God, George S. Kaufman, We met on the corner of fifty.. eighty-first and fifth and, I couldn't believe it, but he asked me to walk down fifth Avenue with him. We stopped ever so often so he could insult a doorman. We got to the Plaza where he was staying and I assumed that the dream was over and I was trying to think of a way to say goodbye and he said, with that familiar soft voice, that I knew first from the quiz show and then from the movies "Well, you certainly seem like a nice young man, and I'd like to have lunch with you." And we had lunch. It was wonderful, I went home to write it down, as much as I could remember of it. I remember for dessert... the captain and the waiter both came over to take his dessert order, and Groucho said "Do you have any fruit, you can recommend" to the waiter "and I don't mean the captain here." So...eh...it was like that. The only sad thing about Groucho's life is that there is so many thousands of funny things that have gone unrecorded. Luckily there was someone along at the anti-semetic country club, when they told him he couldn't use the pool, and he asked "Since my daughter is only half-jewish, could she go in up to her knees?" Thank you, for him. There's a lot of profound things, that should be said about Groucho, like the fact that his comedy achieves the level of great art, that he has all the gifts I think that a comedian can have. Some of them have a few of them, he has them all, but that's for people to write about. I was asked to mention one thing: please don't take any flash pictures. It makes Groucho dizzy and he could... it's true, he could fall. He wanted me to mention that, and I said "How can I say that and not alarm the audience?" And he said "Easy, tell them I'll drop dead, if they do." He's serious, but not when you want him to be. Anyway, to get quickly to the part of the evening that you came and paid for, I would first like to introduce a few people that should be mentioned now. Among them: Rufus T. Firefly, J. Cheever Loophole - J. Cheever Loophole - hold your applause to the end, please - Dr. Hugo C. Hackenbush, Otis B. Driftwood, and Captain Jeffrey Spaulding - the one, the only, Groucho. * * * First I would like to take a bow for Harpo and Chico. Hello, I must be going. I cannot stay, I came to say I must be going. I'm glad I came but just the same I must be going. For my sake you must stay, for if you go away, you'll spoil this party I am throwing. I'll stay a week or two, I'll stay the summer through, but I am telling you, I must be going. I understand that some time ago Jack Benny played the violin here at Carnegie Hall, and I thought it would be a good idea to take this and break it over my knee and then jump on it. I've had quite enough of Jack Benny. And so has the violin. Well, let's get down to cases. How I got started in show business. I saw an ad in the Morning World, which doesn't exist anymore - and hardly do I. The ad said "Boy wanted to sing". I ran all the way from Ninety-third Street, where I lived then, to Thirty-third Street, and ran up five flights of stairs and knocked on the door, and a man came to the door wearing a woman's outfit. Not entirely, just lipstick. And I realized that that was the profession, that I wanted into. I've better start talking about my family first, I guess. There was quite a group of them. Can you hear me out there? You're not missing anything. Luckily I can't hear it either. Well, I had a family, I had...eh. Harpo played the harp, that was pretty obvious. Chico was what they used to call a chicken chaser. In England now they call them birds, which is the equivalent of a chicken chaser in America fifty years ago. He did very well with that, too. Zeppo was born when the Zeppelin arrived at Lakehurst, New Jersey. He had nothing to do with the arrival. My other brother Gummo - it's not his real name, his real name was...eh...was Milton. It seemed like such a silly name, and we used to call him Gumshoes, because somebody had given him a pair of rubbers. In a nice way, I mean. And that's his name: Gummo Marx. My name, of course, I never did understand. I had an uncle named Julius, he was well over four feet. And I was named after him, 'cause we were under some peculiar impression that he had money. As a matter of fact, my father wanted to throw him out of the house, but my mother said "No, no, I remember, I read a story once in which a man was supposed to be broke, and when he died, he left a lot of money". So they named me Julius. He never worked anyhow, he was just in the house, sitting there. He finally died, and he left a will. His will consisted of a celluloid dickie, an eightball, and three razor blades. And besides he owed my father eighty-five dollars, which he never did get from him. Then we had a sister. She wasn't really our sister, she was an adopted sister. The father of that sister had gotten a look at this girl and fled to Canada, and we never saw him again. But the girl stayed with us, and her name was Polly. Polly didn't.. she wasn't a bad looking girl, but her rear end stuck way out. You could play pinochle on her rear end. And Chico was the gambler of the family. He pawned everything. My father was a tailor, and a very bad one, and Chico was always short of money, and he used to hock my fathers shears, so whenever my father made a suit, of course it didn't fit, and the shears would be hanging up in the pawnshop on Ninety-first Street. Chico got a job at Klauber Horn and Co. They used to manufacture paper, different kinds of paper. And Chico never brought home a salary, 'cause he was always in the poolroom, or he was some place, and he never brought a salary. And my father told him, "Next week, if you come home without your salary, I'll kill you." They had a very close relationship. Chico didn't know what to do. His father was laying for him - in a nice way, I mean. And Chico entered, apprehensively, and there was my father waiting for him. Chico said "Dad, I got a great surprise for you. They had a sale today, on paper, and I took the three dollars, that I was supposed to bring home, and I bought this paper". And my father opened it, and it was toilet paper. It was the first time we had ever seen toilet paper in our house. We had always used either the Morning World or the Herald Tribune. When I was really young, before that, I used to smoke it. Roll it up into a small ball and I would light it, and it was very good. It was a very peculiar family. I had an uncle who was a chiropodist. He would come to your house, and he had a small suitcase, and he would cut your toenails for twenty-five cents. Then he got a job, 'cause there is not much money in cutting toenails for twenty-five cents. And it was cold, it was winter, so he got a job setting fire to hotels in the Catskills. Then he was so good at this, that they finally transferred him, and they gave him a job in the Adirondacks, where they had much bigger hotels to burn down. He finally wound up in Sing-Sing. Marvin Hamlisch. That must be you, eh? Oh, this is Marvin Hamlisch. I'm gonna sing you a song written by my good friend Harry Ruby. It's called Timbuctoo. Are you ready to play this song. Hamlisch: Always ready! Long ago in old New Amsterdam, there lived a cousin of the Duke of Buckingham. His friends knew Buckingham to be a sport, so they cut the 'ham' and called him Buck for short. One day Buck met a little cluck, and he whispered "Duckie, Dear", in accents loud and clear, "Please marry me, my dear". She replied "I will be your bride, but there must be no delay". So they were buckled up that day. Soon they had a lot of little Bucks, and you know how fast they grow. There was one Buck, two Bucks, three Bucks, four Bucks, no one knows how many more Bucks. Mrs. Buck would play the ukulele every morn till two, and while old man Buck was singing, all the little Bucks were buck-and-winging. When they had eggs for breakfast, Buck was out of luck, each Buck would eat a dozen eggs, and a dozen cost a buck. The landlord came to raise Buck's rent, but he couldn't raise a sou. So he backed up the motor truck, and he said goodbye, said goodbye, he said goodnight, he said goodbye, and he s.. ...to Timbuctoo!. Thank you. I muffed a few words in there, but it's such a crazy song, it doesn't make any difference.