Simcha Fisher reminded me that I overlooked an important day yesterday. The 130th birthday of Chico Marx. Read here and she’ll give you some interesting tidbits.
The Marx Brothers, the first comedy troupe to successfully exploit the new invention of talking pictures, are like the Beatles. Everyone has their favorite. For me, it was Chico. In life he had his problems. Addicted to gambling, his brothers often had to bail him out. In fact, some of their later (and far less quality) films were to help Chico with his financial struggles.
On screen, however, he was the link between Groucho’s dialogue driven quips and Harpo’s arsenal of pantomime comedy. Also, like his brothers, he was multi-talented, and a piano virtuoso. He wasn’t on the same level as Harpo, but nobody has ever tackled the keyboard with the panache and flair of Chico. So in tribute to his important day (one day late), here is a clip of him playing possibly my all time favorite on screen piano performance (make sure you close any pop up ads along the bottom, it’s watching his hands that makes the difference):