Monday, June 26, 2017
Driving to the coast to sit on a beach for a week. What could possibly go wrong? We'll see you when we get back--if we get back.
Barbara Stanwyck and Ralph Meeker in Jeopardy (John Sturges, 1953); Ann Savage and Tom Neal in Detour (Edgar G. Ulmer; 1945).
Sunday, June 25, 2017
Friday, June 23, 2017
"A torch," Fritz opined, "is a treasure.
To scorch a behind is sheer pleasure.
Searing rears till they smart
Is so dear to my heart,
To torture is my kind of leisure."
Hunchback Fritz enjoys making the Monster's new life miserable: Dwight Frye and Boris Karloff in Frankenstein (James Whale, 1931). Don't play with matches on Dwight Frye-days.
Thursday, June 22, 2017
Connie Bailey is ought but carefree
This young frail ties the knot with all three
One wed to this troupe'll
Buy bed that's quadruple
What's entailed is too naughty to see.
Thelma Todd and Harpo Marx in Horse Feathers (Norman Z. McLeod; 1932). In the final scene, Todd's "college widow" Connie Bailey marries Harpo's dogcatcher, Chico's "iceman", and Groucho's school president! Title by Donald B. Benson, prone to excess.
Wednesday, June 21, 2017
Strict morals deride and pooh-pooh
When foursomes are tied with "I do"
The honeymoon suite
Groom one will complete
Any more wait outside in a queue.
Chico and Groucho Marx fight over Thelma Todd in Horse Feathers (Norman Z. McLeod; 1932). At the end of the film, these two and Harpo all marry her!
Tuesday, June 20, 2017
Most beware 'em, those censors who cense.
But she'll dare 'em to offer offense
When chic as a sheik,
To pique them she'll seek
Her own harem to make love intense.
Donald B. Benson
"College widow" Connie Bailey (Thelma Todd) weds the three Marx Brothers in Horse Feathers.
Monday, June 19, 2017
This union's not under a cloud
Three goons hitched to one is allowed
Though more than mere bigamy
(This foursome's polygamy)
Communing is fun, not a crowd!
Thelma Todd weds Chico, Groucho, Harpo at the end of Horse Feathers (Norman Z. McLeod; 1932). Title by Marxist Donald B. Benson.
Sunday, June 18, 2017
When Popeye by Bluto's oppressed
And must top the big brute's brutal best
He breaks out a can
Of what makes him a man
And bops the galoot with fresh zest.
Popeye and Bluto battle in A Dream Walking (Dave Fleischer, Seymour Kneitel; 1934) It's Cartoon Sunday at LimerWrecks. Limerick assist by David Cairns; title by edgy Donald B. Benson.
Friday, June 16, 2017
His performance, delightfully zany
He's abnormal, uptight and not brainy
Unrefined and deformed,
With a mind unreformed
He likes storms, and flies kites when it's rainy.
Fritz (Dwight Frye) eyes the cemetery in Frankenstein (James Whale; 1931). Things are always nutty on Dwight Frye-Days.
Thursday, June 15, 2017
Bro Chico pokes keys with a finger
And Groucho is free with a zinger
The third is a freak
No word will he speak
He's Harpo, a flea-ridden swinger.
Harpo, Chico, and Groucho Marx, at the bar in a speakeasy in Horse Feathers (Norman Z. McLeod; 1932). Harpo plays a dog-catcher, hence the fleas. Title by zoned out Donald B. Benson.
Wednesday, June 14, 2017
The iceman, he cometh too much
In a trice, the big dummy will clutch
Each oddball delivery
Makes Thelma all shivery
It's not nice when those bums try to touch.
Thelma Todd, Chico and Groucho Marx in Horse Feathers (Norman Z. McLeod; 1932). Baravelli (Chico) is an "iceman" who delivers ice and bootleg liquor from a local speakeasy. Connie Bailey (Todd) is referred to as a "college widow", a single woman living in a college town who enjoys the attention of the young men from the local school. Horse Feathers was in part a spoof of a 1927 film called The College Widow.
Tuesday, June 13, 2017
Like a tank, here's the stately Dumont
She's your swanky and straight-laced great aunt
She cannot be goaded
But man, is she loaded
It's her bank account dates really want.
Margaret Dumont (October 20, 1882 – March 6, 1965), here with Groucho Marx in Duck Soup (Leo McCarey; 1933).
Monday, June 12, 2017
The core of a college is sport
So ignore study hall and cavort
When fellas want more
With Thelma they'll score
"No sorority gal," their report.
"Campus widow" Thelma Todd wrestles with Chico and Groucho in Horsefeathers (Norman Z. McLeod; 1932).
Sunday, June 11, 2017
Friday, June 9, 2017
His character's lousy, he's goony
So hairy, his brow's almost uni
He's craven and dense
Needs a shave and some sense
He scares all the fraus -- he's no Clooney.
Dwight Frye as Karl, henchman to Doctor Pretorius in Bride of Frankenstein (James Whale;1935).
Thursday, June 8, 2017
Her figure and curves: they're iconic.
Her giggle: for nerves it's a tonic.
When her parts start to move,
On the arts they improve.
Her wiggle alone is symphonic.
Surly Hack and Donald B. Benson
Marilyn Monroe, Groucho Marx, and Eric Blore in Love Happy (David Miller; 1949).
Wednesday, June 7, 2017
Of Teasdale he's hot in pursuit
He sees there's a shot at her loot
With laughter, not stealth
He's after her wealth
She's pleased, but she's not too astute.
Rufus T. Firefly (Groucho Marx) woos Mrs. Gloria Teasdale (Margaret Dumont) in Duck Soup (Leo McCarey; 1933). Title by orderly Donald B. Benson.
Tuesday, June 6, 2017
With aplomb Dumont barely reacts
To the comic's disparaging cracks
Groucho's banter abuses
But she shan't blow her fuses
Remains calm through unsparing attacks.
Rufus T. Firefly (Groucho Marx) hurls barbs at Mrs. Gloria Teasdale (Margaret Dumont) in Duck Soup (Leo McCarey; 1933). Title from the poison pen of Donald B. Benson.
Monday, June 5, 2017
The bigwigs at auld Huxley College
Peddled trig, Latin lore, arcane knowledge--
But with Wagstaff as head
They will bag much more bread
Through pigskin and bonded waste haulage.
James Finn Garner
Horsefeathers (Norman Z. McLeod; 1932): As Professor Quincy Adams Wagstaff, president of Huxley College, Groucho Marx leads his brothers in a football game against the school's arch rival. One unorthodox touchdown is scored via horse-drawn garbage wagon that Harpo rides like a chariot. Mr. Garner is the creator of Rex Koko, Private Clown, and the manager of the Triple A Bardball team.
Sunday, June 4, 2017
He's the sailor in chief, he's the man
Saying nay to chipped beef, no to bran
That's perfectly green
Hip hooray for that leaf in a can!
Popeye shows what makes him Strong to the Finich (Dave Fleischer, Seymour Kneitel; 1934). Title by title-mad Donald B. Benson.
Friday, June 2, 2017
This devil, I guess, is not deft
And he'll never confess to the theft
Of an unstable brain
That's been labeled insane
Nor, ever, the mess that he left.
Dwight Frye as hunchback Fritz in Frankenstein (James Whale, 1931). We celebrate Dwight Frye-Days every week at LimerWrecks.
Thursday, June 1, 2017
Meet Rufus, the new head of state
The goofball makes bluebloods irate
Trentino gets sore
Which means they're at war
This spoof is so screwball it's great.
Trentino is slapped by Firefly while Mrs. Teasdale looks on: Louis Calhern, Groucho Marx, and Margaret Dumont in Duck Soup (Leo McCarey; 1933)
Wednesday, May 31, 2017
Superb with the quips most absurd
He murders these drips with a word
When they're taken aback
By his breakneck attack
He verbally flips them the bird.
Zeppo takes the minutes as Groucho takes no prisoners in Duck Soup (Leo McCarey; 1933).
Tuesday, May 30, 2017
Though she ought to just scoff at his flack,
It's just water from off a duck's back
Though the vibes are lascivious
To his jibes she's oblivious
And this haughty, rich toff doesn't crack.
Margaret Dumont and Groucho Marx as Mrs.Claypool and Otis B. Driftwood in A Night at the Opera (Sam Wood;1935).Tile by Donald B. Benson, getting carried away.
Monday, May 29, 2017
Though his manner is rude, actions rash
And he can be quite lewd, and too brash
This society matron
To the wise-guy stays patron:
She's a fan of his pseudo-moustache.
Rufus T. Firefly (Groucho Marx) woos Mrs. Gloria Teasdale (Margaret Dumont) and her money in Duck Soup (Leo McCarey; 1933). Title by Don Juan Benson.
Sunday, May 28, 2017
Popeye's riding a whale like a clipper
He's astride it, prevailing as skipper
He'll its blow-hole impale
With a pole with a sail
When land's spied, he'll turn tail--and a flipper.
Blow Me Down! (Dave Fleischer, Willard Bowsky; 1933)
Saturday, May 27, 2017
On the pendulum Price was a swinger
Over ends not-so-nice he would linger
When his flicks were released
He would mix up a feast
And for friends he would slice off a finger.
Vincent Leonard Price, Jr. (May 27, 1911 – October 25, 1993). Top: The Pit and the Pendulum (Roger Corman;1961). Above: William Castle and Vincent Price, director and star of The Tingler (1959). Title by Donald "B is for Blood" Benson.
Friday, May 26, 2017
Never trust a good brain to this schlub
He's disgusting, inane, just a grub
Lets it smash on the floor
In a splash of grey gore
When it's bust, an insane one he'll sub.
Dwight Frye-Days remembers the unique character actor, here as the bumbling Fritz in Frankenstein (James Whale; 1931.
Thursday, May 25, 2017
You-know-who is the craziest Marx
He'll eschew repartee or remarks
But getting undressed
There's a pet on his chest
A tattoo of a canine that barks.
Pinky (Harpo Marx) displays his unique tattoo in Duck Soup (Leo McCarey; 1933).
Wednesday, May 24, 2017
Groucho's favorite foil is Dumont
Does she crave, yearn or spoil for each taunt?
No! He subtly pokes
But the butt of his jokes
Remains grave, mind unsoiled, nonchalant.
Groucho Marx and Margaret Dumont in Duck Soup (Leo Mc Carey;1933).
Tuesday, May 23, 2017
She's the queen of the tattooing arts
And a genie of natural parts
The gal has so much
And her talents are such
That she's seen on anatomy charts.
At the Circus (Edward Buzzell; 1939): Groucho sings "Lydia the Tattooed Lady" by Yip Harburg and Harold Arlen. Title by Donald B. Benson Inc.
Monday, May 22, 2017
These tricksters sing songs in a barrel
The pickling's strong but it's sterile
Be on guard now they're out
For they're hardly devout
All you chicks move along -- you're in peril.
Harpo, Zeppo, Chico, and Groucho Marx in Monkey Business (Norman Z. McLeod; 1931). Title by barrel-chested Donald B. Benson. From Wikipedia: Early on in Monkey Business, the Brothers—playing stowaways concealed in barrels—harmonize unseen while performing the popular song "Sweet Adeline". It is a matter of debate whether Harpo joins in with the singing. (One of the ship's crew asserts to the captain that he knows there are four stowaways because he can hear them singing "Sweet Adeline".) If so, it would be one of only a few times Harpo used speech on screen, as opposed to other vocalizations such as whistling or sneezing.
Sunday, May 21, 2017
The bout has been brutal and heated
Knocked out, to the roots he's depleted
Till the spinach is eaten
Then he's winning, not beaten
And the lout known as Bluto's defeated.
Surly Hack with Donald B. Benson
Bluto shows Popeye is on the ropes in Let's You and Him Fight (Dave Fleischer; 1934).
Friday, May 19, 2017
Dwight tries to explain how he's bumbled
There's a crisis with brains that he fumbled
One's improper, a wreck
And one's dropped on the deck
But what lies in Frye's cranium's jumbled.
Dwight Frye-Days celebrates character actor Dwight Frye, here as Fritz in Frankenstein (James Whale; 1931).
Thursday, May 18, 2017
He beeps with his horns in morse code
And sleeps with the horse that he rode
In his raincoat's recesses
Is what anyone's guess is
He keeps there the hoard that he's stowed.
Harpo Marx in a promo still from A Night at the Opera (Sam Wood; 1935).
Wednesday, May 17, 2017
There was Harpo, who leapt from a crouch-o
Then there's sharp-dressing Zeppo, no slouch-o.
Groucho played with a thicko
The ladies called Chico
Gummo scarpered and slept on the couch-o.
The five Marx brothers, circa 1957. Left to right: Harpo, Zeppo, Chico, Groucho and Gummo.
Tuesday, May 16, 2017
Monday, May 15, 2017
Brother Gummo's the one in the wings.
Never acts, never jokes, never sings.
But earned a good name
In the agenting game
As a mensch who takes good care of things.
Donald B. Benson
Left to right: Gummo, Zeppo, Chico, Groucho and Harpo Marx in 1957. Milton "Gummo" Marx (October 23, 1892 – April 21, 1977) was the second youngest of the five Marx Brothers. Gummo worked with his brothers on the vaudeville circuit, but left acting when he was drafted into the U.S. Army during World War I (years before his brothers began their film career).
Sunday, May 14, 2017
When some guy slams his skull till it thickens
Popeye's wise to indulge till he sickens
All that spinach he'll munch
Breakfast, dinner and lunch
So his biceps will bulge like the dickens.
Olive can't watch as Bluto and Popeye battle in The Paneless Window Washer (Dave Fleischer, Willard Bowsky [uncredited]; 1937).
Friday, May 12, 2017
His end's often fatal, not pretty
Though he tends not to rate any pity
Does he daydream or mope
When he sways from a rope?
This offender's no great Walter Mitty.
Dr. Waldman (Edward van Sloan) and Henry (Colin Clive) discover that the Monster (Boris Karloff) has hung his tormentor, Fritz (Dwight Frye): Frankenstein (James Whale; 1931). Here at LimerWrecks, every Friday is Dwight Frye-Day.
Thursday, May 11, 2017
Here's Zeppo, named after a blimp
Lacking pep, he seems lame and quite limp
But away from the screen
He could raise quite a scene
He was hep, chasing dames like an imp!
Herbert Manfred "Zeppo" Marx (February 25, 1901 – November 30, 1979). Zeppo played straight man to his brothers in their first five films. Here he is with Harpo and Thelma Todd in Horse Feathers (Norman Z. McLeod; 1932). Title by sleazy Donald B. Benson.