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The Music & the Voice of Harpo Marx

Arthur "Harpo" Marx was an American comedian, actor, mime artist, and harpist, and the second-oldest of theMarx Brothers.

When I was a child in the sixties the Marx Brothers was still reguarly seen on TV but of course there were only three TV stations then.

They still make me laugh and Harpo, well if he would just say something...

The Marx Brothers
The Marx Brothers

The Marx Brothers: Inside the Comedians' Early Life and Travels

"Remembered as kings of the vaudeville stage and early motion picture comedies, it's fitting that the Marx Brothers found their origins in a performance setting.

Their father, Simon, was a tailor from Alsace-Lorraine who despised using tape measures and derived his greatest enjoyment from games of pinochle. He also worked as a dance instructor after moving to New York City in the early 1880s, and it was on the dance floor that the sparks flew with Minnie Schoenberg, another recently transplanted Jewish immigrant from Germany.

The couple's first-born, Mannfred, died of tuberculosis before he was a year old. But the next two, Leonard (Chico) and Adolph (Harpo), were perfectly healthy, as was the third, Julius Henry (Groucho), other than the strabismus that left his eyes mismatched. The clan grew with the addition of Milton (Gummo) and finally Herbert (Zeppo), who arrived just before his biggest brother turned 14 years old.

The family settled in the Yorkville section of Manhattan's Upper East Side, a working-class neighborhood bustling with German, Polish, Russian and Cuban immigrants. Things were nearly as busy inside their three-bedroom apartment, which also served as the home to Minnie's parents, Lafe and Fanny, as well as a temporary shelter for a stream of relatives who crashed on cots in the living room.." from the article: The Marx Brothers: Inside the Comedians' Early Life and Travels

Harpo Marx

Born: November 23, 1888 in New York City, NY Died: September 28, 1964 in Los Angeles

"Harpo was the second oldest and the one who never spoke. Not entirely true. He spoke quite regularly on stage until the production of "Home Again". Les Marsden had some more information about Harpo's 'speaking career': "He still had a about six lines in "Home Again", but uncle Al Shean simply didn't think he delivered lines all that well. Harpo was so upset that after they had toured the show in vaudeville for awhile and were playing (according to Harpo) the theatre in Champaign, Illinois, Harpo decided to ad-lib all through the performance. A critic in the local newspaper described the show by saying, in part, "Adolph Marx performed beautiful pantomime which was ruined whenever he spoke." Harpo then decided he could do a better job of stealing focus by not speaking. And he really did continue to speak on stage regularly - just whenever he felt like it. For example, on opening night of 'Animal Crackers' he tackled Margaret Irving and proceeded to tell her a well....let's just say a questionable joke. Groucho, Chico and Zeppo came out onstage and did a running commentary. But he did speak extemporaneously onstage on occasion. Just not from a script and not often. Steve Allen has told me (and has also recounted the tale in various books, etc) all about the evening Harpo left show business during Allen Sherman's show in Pasadena, during which he spoke for several minutes to a stunned audience."

Harpo was given the name Adolph, but changed it to Arthur during World War I because it was too 'German'.

Through Alexander Woollcott the theater critic, who was responsible for their first big success in New York, Harpo became a member of the Algonquin Round Table.

In 1936 he married actress Susan Fleming. They adopted four children Bill, Alex, Jimmy and Minnie.." from the article: Harpo Marx

Harpo Marx Plays Serious

Video from century3horizons

"Harpo Marx, one of the Marx Brothers, was a comedian who was noted for his on-stage antics with the harp. He'd shoot arrows into the audience, he'd bust strings, he'd slip & fall, generally hilarious stuff that earned him his claim to fame and it was all great comedy. But not alot of folks were aware that Harpo also could play serious and very beautiful music on the harp. Here's Harpo in his appearence on Bob Hope's 1945 presentation called 'The All-Star Bond Rally.' I've captured this from a very rare 16mm film print of which a friend of mine owns." from video introduction

Harpo Marxs Real Voice, 4 recordings!

Video from kyrastube

"Plus comments on what he sounded like by his son, and a little extra bonus of him talking to harpos daughter about that one time he DID speak in public... enjoy! I do not own anything of this, but it is used IN FAIR USE! cips from the today show, the unknown marx brothers, a day at the races, you bet your life, some movie-premeer and an unknown radioshow." from video introduction

Harpo plays "Take me out to the ball game" on I love Lucy

Video from simbaerod

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