Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Innocent, a Broad



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.

David Cairns

Groucho Marx and Margaret Dumont in Duck Soup (Leo Mc Carey;1933).

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Pretty in Ink



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

Barrel Tones



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

Popeye for an Eye



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

Evasion of the Body Snatcher



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.

David Cairns

Dwight Frye-Days celebrates character actor Dwight Frye, here as Fritz in Frankenstein (James Whale; 1931).

Thursday, May 18, 2017

The World According to Harpo



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.

David Cairns

Harpo Marx in a promo still from A Night at the Opera (Sam Wood; 1935).

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Five Guys Named "O"



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.

David Cairns

The five Marx brothers, circa 1957. Left to right: Harpo, Zeppo, Chico, Groucho and Gummo.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Way of a Groucho



His eyebrows and mustache--both grease
His wisecracks and insults don't cease
With twirling cigar
He'll verbally spar
Poor Margaret Dumont gets no peace. 

Groucho Marx and Margaret Dumont in Duck Soup (Leo McCarey; 1933).

Monday, May 15, 2017

Don't Eschew Gummo



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

One-Eyed Jacked



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.

David Cairns

Olive can't watch as Bluto and Popeye battle in The Paneless Window Washer (Dave Fleischer, Willard Bowsky [uncredited]; 1937).

Friday, May 12, 2017

Daydream Bereaver



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.

David Cairns

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

Easy Marx



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!

David Cairns

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.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Julius, Seizer



This cigar-puffing clown ain't no dope
Every starlet around he would grope
He pursues all the dames
Under ludicrous names
With a hearty and ground-skimming lope.

David Cairns

Julius Henry "Groucho" Marx (October 2, 1890 – August 19, 1977).Groucho plays Rufus T. Firefly in Duck Soup (Leo McCarey; 1933).

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

A Case of Do or Dialect



His English is tangled, absurd
Gets mingled and mangled and slurred
Though not really Italian
This silly rapscallion
Keeps slinging the slang with each word.

David Cairns

Leonard "Chico" Marx (March 22, 1887 – October 11, 1961). Chico is pronounced CHICK-oh. Title by case-sensitive Donald B. Benson.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Run Silent, Fun Beep



He's mute, not a peep does he utter
He plays cute, doesn't cheep, grunt or stutter.
But Harpo makes noise
Going "parp!" at the boys
Horns he'll toot, honk and beep like a nutter.

David Cairns

Arthur "Harpo" Marx (born Adolph Marx; November 23, 1888 – September 28, 1964). David tells us that "Parp!"s a UK comic-strip sound effect word signifying the honk of a horn, care of the magazines Beano and Dandy.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

The Subpar Mariner



This gob's lost the knack, feels depressed
Poor slob says he lacks any zest
All night he had dreamed
Of spinach that's creamed
Now the swab hits the sack for more rest.

Looks like poor Popeye could use a can of pick-me-up.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Size and Whispers



Dwight Frye's style of clod ain't discreet 
'Surprisingly odd' is his meat
Outrageous fixation
Upstages creation
How he eyes the dead bod's giant feet!

Fritz (Dwight Frye) and Henry (Colin Clive) admire the Monster in Frankenstein (James Whale; 1931). Dwight Frye-Days is a weekly feature here at LimerWrecks. Assist by David Cairns.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

A Pronounced Disadvantage



Superb when he flapped through the night,
He's verbally trapped by skills slight
Linguistically strained,
His mystic's lame-brained
Or his turban's been wrapped too darn tight.
 
Surly Hack and David Cairns

Béla Lugosi as phony mystic Prince Saliano in You'll Find Out (David Butler; 1940). Title by Donald B. Benson, pronounced "BEN-sun."

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Tomb Cruise



So creepy is Béla Lugosi
Down deep in a dungeon he'll mosey
Through doors that all creak
Past corpses that reek
To sleep in a coffin that's cozy.

Béla Lugosi is Dracula (Tod Browning; 1931). Title by David Cairns, tomb-aider.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Bat Got Your Tongue?



Though Boris is fluent and prosy
Talk's a chore for that truant Lugosi
If the words are new-fangled
Then absurdly they're mangled
Evermore he eschews the verbose-y.

David Cairns

Boris Karloff as Judge Spencer Mainwaring and Béla Lugosi as Prince Saliano in You'll Find Out (David Butler; 1940).

Monday, May 1, 2017

Uncastaways



Behind all the glamor and glitter
You'll find filmdom's damned, human litter
The worn and depleted
Both scorned and defeated
Unsigned has-been hams, old and bitter.

Our image is a bit unfair: Hank Patterson, Lenore Shanewise, Marjorie Bennett, and Earle Hodgins, several of the residents of the Sunnyvale Rest Home in the Twilight Zone episode "Kick the Can" (Lamont Johnson; Feb. 9, 1962). Title by un-passed away Donald B. Benson.