In my recent revival of interest in all things Marxian, I got to thinking about how impossible it is to imagine Chico speaking in a non-Italian dialect. Did he carry that act over into his personal life? Was he ever Lenny to his card-playing friends? (Was Groucho ever Julie?) And what of Harpo? (Was he ever Adolph--at least before 1939? And was he ever Artie after?) He was said to be quite shy and not terribly conversational, though when he wrote his autobiography it ran to five-hundred some pages so I guess we can dismiss that canard. But he famously never spoke in public and the sound of his voice must remain a mystery.
Or must it? Click on the above video for an actual sample of Harpo talking (it comes about one minute in). He's a straight up, old-fashioned New York Jew with a deeper and more serious delivery then you might expect. As for Chico's real voice, tune in tomorrow...
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Posted by Raymond De Felitta at 2:02 PM