Sunday, November 23, 2014

Harpo Marx, Freemason!

Today is Harpo Marx's 126th birthday.  In honor of this illustrious occasion, I offer this tale about Harpo told by his younger brother, the one and only Groucho:

"Oh, I've got to tell you a wonderful story about Harpo!

"We had an uncle by the name of Felix Levy.  He was a 32nd Degree Mason and Harpo's one ambition in life at that time was to become a Mason just like my uncle.  I forget how the number system of the Masons works.  I think the lowest number is three and from there you can go all the way up.

"It's a lot of horse shit but the Masons believe in it.

"Anyway, Harpo finally became a Mason and he was very proud of the pin he'd wear in his lapel that would show everyone what he was.  It had taken him three or four years to become a Mason and he really treasured that pin very much.

"One day he picked up a dame in front of a theater and brought her to his dressing room because he wanted to lay her.  Before anything she asked him if he had any money and Harpo admitted he had none because we hadn't yet performed the first show.  Instead he said, 'Do you see this pin?  It's my treasured possession.  I haven't any money, but if you'll go down on me I'll give you the pin.'  And that was the finish of the Masons.

"He had talked for years about getting this Masonic pin and he gave it up just to get his head blown.  But we were young then and getting your head blown was considered kind of a triumph.  This was when we were in vaudeville.  Well, now we're really off the track.  Weren't we talking about our early films?"

--from pp. 146-47 of The Marx Bros. Scrapbook by Groucho Marx and Richard J. Anobile (Grosset & Dunlap, 1974)

No comments:

Post a Comment