Thursday, June 03, 2004

40 YEARS AGO

On this day in 1964, T. S. Eliot wrote to Groucho Marx to confirm that a car would be at waiting at the Savoy to pick "you and Mrs. Groucho" up for dinner. Eliot also noted that Groucho's announcement of having "come to London to see me has greatly enhanced my credit in the neighbourhood, and particularly with the green grocer across the street." Eliot began corresponding with Marx several years earlier, having first sent a fan letter saying how much he enjoyed his movies. They exchanged photographs -- Eliot had to ask for a second of Groucho as his first one had no cigar -- and over several years tried to arrange an occasion for dinner or, as envisioned by Groucho, an evening wherein "you and I will get drunk together."

more at today in literature (via Rake's Progress)

When I was 11 I saw a marathon of Marx Brothers films (Duck Soup, Monkey Business and Horsefeathers) and instantly became a convert to their brand of Marxism. Their stuff is still amazingly fresh after more than 70 years. I've had many other culture heroes through the years, but Groucho ultimately inspired me more than any writer or "subversive" punk rocker.