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The Essential Groucho: Writings by, for, and about Groucho Marx (英語) ペーパーバック – 2000/6/13
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Groucho Marx may be the funniest man who ever lived. Here in one volume are the classics of Marxian mayhem: excerpts from the scripts of the immortal movies, passages from his books, his articles for magazines ranging from The New Yorker to the Saturday Evening Post, the choicest ad-libs and quips from his long-running game show, You Bet Your Life, and selected letters, including his classic correspondence with T. S. Eliot. It's all here-the finest and funniest work by this century's most influential comedian, that man of whom Woody Allen said, "He is simply unique in the same way Picasso and Stravinsky are, and I believe his outrageous, unsentimental disregard for order will be equally funny a thousand years from now. In addition to all this, he makes me laugh."
In the words of Groucho Marx:
One morning I shot an elephant in my pajamas.
How he go in my pajamas I don't know.
Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana.
Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read.
Stefan Kanfer lives in New York.
BTW, best essay in the book has to do with 'income tax.' If you've been taxed enough already,you may find it comforting to know that Groucho would feel your pain. Fun book.
All of this is reliably funny stuff, but for my money the best part of this book was "The Groucho Letters", roughly 30 pages of correspondence. There's the surreal correspondence between Groucho and Warner Brothers, who were trying to claim exclusive rights to the name 'Casablanca'. Letters to Fred Allen, Russell Baker, Alistair Cooke, and others. But the oddly moving center to the whole collection is an exchange of letters between Groucho and T.S. Eliot, initiated when Eliot, who was an avid fan, wrote in 1961, requesting an autographed photo.
Anyone troubled by the anti-Jewish sentiments in some of Eliot's writing should read these letters, which go a long way to softening the image of Eliot as a rabid anti-Semite. The two men obviously grew friendly, and held each other in high regard, as this excerpt from a letter from Groucho to Russell Baker shows:
(January 21, 1965)
I was saddened by the death of T.S. Eliot. My wife and I had dinner at his home a few months ago and I realized then that he was not long for this world. He was a nice man, the best epitaph any man can have ....
I recommend the book, though you may prefer to watch the films again.