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The Marx Brothers Council Podcast

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The Marx Brothers Council Podcast

Matthew Coniam, Bob Gassel & Noah Diamond

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An insightful but not too serious look at the Marx Brothers films and careers from three guys who've spent way too much time thinking about them. Hosted by Matthew Coniam ("The Annotated Marx Brothers", "That's Me, Groucho!"), Noah Diamond ("Gimme a Thrill: The Story of I'll Say She Is") and Bob Gassel (he'll write a book someday). Featuring guest appearances by Marx experts, authors and notable fans. Inspired by The Marx Brothers Council Facebook group. New episodes post monthly. Check out ...
 
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show series
 
Renowned film writer Nell Minow joins us to discuss her longtime love affair with the Marxes, her first-hand encounters with two of the brothers, her famous dad’s round of golf with another, and her grandmother’s friendship with two of their spouses!Nell also details the origin and mission of her “Movie Mom” franchise , and discusses the difficulty…
 
This month, we take a deep dive into Richard J. Anobile’s controversial work from 1973, “The Marx Brothers Scrapbook”. Joining us is performer/writer/director Nick Santa Maria, who (like Bob) got the book when it first came out, has some deep insight, and (like Groucho) eye-opening opinions. We examine Groucho’s shocking and explicit comments, his …
 
And now for something completely different...We are joined by educator Hannah Mira, who details her fascinating story of screening Marx Brothers (and other classic) films for incarcerated teenagers, and their surprisingly positive response.A lifelong Marx fan, Hannah uses the brothers’ antics not only as entertainment, but as a springboard to intro…
 
We are honored to welcome Steve Stoliar, author of the iconic “Raised Eyebrows: My Years Inside Groucho’s House”.Outspoken as ever, Steve is as entertaining as he is candid. But what do you ask a guy who’s been interviewed on just about every podcast known to man (including ours)? Well, we didn’t know either, so we farmed the questions out to our l…
 
A look at the Marx Brothers final film, 1949's "Love Happy"...The brothers search for jewels as we search for laughs…and though it’s not top-tier Marx, there is still plenty to enjoy as well as plenty to ponder. Matthew tells how Chico agreed to appear in a Harpo solo film before Harpo did, Noah is baffled by how the jewels got into a sealed sardin…
 
You want to see Groucho as an over-protective father, Harpo hiding in a Coke machine, or Chico trying to pass himself off as Harpo? Well, you’ve come to the right place as we dissect Shout Factory’s DVD set featuring Marx TV appearances from the ‘50s thru the ‘70s.We uncover the many treasures, failures, and sublime moments this collection offers t…
 
ACTOR AND VOICE ARTIST EDDIE DEEZEN (GREASE, 1941, WAR GAMES) JOINS US FOR AN INDESCRIBABLE 90 MINUTES OF FREE WHEELING AND POTENTIALLY LITIGIOUS TALK ABOUT THE MARX BROTHERS.EDDIE RANKS THE MARX FILMS, OBSESSES ON CHICO’S SEXUAL PROWESS, AND GENERALLY TRIES TO STEER THE CONVERSATION TOWARDS THE BEATLES, MARTIN & LEWIS, AND THREE STOOGES WHENEVER P…
 
An addendum to our “A Night in Casablanca” deep dive (episode 33), Joe Adamson, author of “Groucho, Harpo, Chico and Sometimes Zeppo”, joins us for a further look. Comparing the finished film to the original script and studio call sheets, Joe theorizes on why changes were made, tantalizes us with scenes which didn’t make the cut, and even mourns a …
 
Noted screenwriter and Marx devotee Scott Alexander returns, this time for a deep dive into “The Howl Raiser of 1946”, A Night in Casablanca.The Marxes' screen comeback after five years was a triumph both artistically and financially, though not really appreciated until recent decades. With sharper writing and surprising moments of surrealism, it a…
 
Our deep dive into 1972’s "An Evening With Groucho" LP, and his historic, yet bittersweet, performance at Carnegie Hall.To be frank, we’re as conflicted about this as you probably are…Groucho finally gets the late-in-life showcase he craved and obviously deserved, but perhaps a bit too late for him to take full advantage of. We point out the triump…
 
Imagine a Marx Brothers-like film in 1992, now imagine a really good Marx Brothers-like film in 1992…well, imagine no longer because such a movie actually exists, "Brain Donors". Created by the team behind "Airplane!" and "The Naked Gun", "Brain Donors" achieved everything it set out to do…except find an audience.To explain why, we are joined by pr…
 
A holiday extravaganza because we say it is!Actor/writer Nick Santa Maria returns for an examination of the Marxes’ two principal writing teams, George S. Kaufman & Morrie Ryskind, and Bert Kalmar & Harry Ruby. We compare their styles and strengths, and go off on numerous unrelated tangents. But first, we detour to Kalmar & Ruby’s original vision f…
 
In our NEW longest episode yet, we welcome Groucho’s grandson, Andy Marx, for a deep dive into “A Night at the Opera”, and a whole lot more…Andy recalls growing up with Groucho during the time he went from being a game show host to a legend. We learn about his curious connection to rock stars and speculate on his politics. We also hear about Andy’s…
 
In our longest episode yet, we barely scratch the surface while talking to archivist John Tefteller. John has spent more than four decades accumulating rare Marx Brothers audio, and is producing a collection of the long-lost radio series “Flywheel, Shyster and Flywheel”.John details how, as a high school sophomore, he was hired to be Groucho’s pers…
 
In our final trip into the vault, we are treated to Jay’s never-before-heard 1984 chat with writer Nat Perrin. Perrin talks about his 50 year association with the Marxes, from contributing gags to “Monkey Business” all the way to Erin Fleming’s legal challenge to Groucho’s estate.You’ll hear about Nat’s work on the “Flywheel, Shyster and Flywheel” …
 
In the spirit of the great comedy compilation films of the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s, we’ve decided to create our own “Best of the Marx Brothers” money-grab.To be precise, the three of us have each compiled our own films…hamstrung by the constraints of our in-house Irving Thalberg. We’ll discuss our scene choices and come up with a final tracklist, all b…
 
Our long overdue look at the definitive Marx Brothers documentary, with special guests, producer/meme Robert B. Weide, and writer/editor Joe Adamson. The guys take us on Nutshell’s long journey, full of roadblocks and last minute scrambling. How did they get both Paramount and MGM clips when told it was impossible? Why did PBS viewers not see Woody…
 
Our contractually obligated deep dive into “At The Circus”, where your hosts are as enthused watching the film as the Marxes were in making it. We try our best to make sense out of this jumble of wonderful and embarrassing moments.You’ll scream as you experience the lost courtroom scene that MGM cut instead of "Two Blind Loves"….you’ll thrill as we…
 
This month we are joined by Zeppo expert/loyalist/fangirl/critic/stalker Andrea Orlando for a two-hour examination of the youngest Marx.Was he the funniest Marx Brother offscreen? Was he even a Marx Brother onscreen? Andrea rips some of Zeppo’s performances, then drools over his ripped shirt in Duck Soup. Matthew adds up his screentime, Noah secret…
 
Still stuck in quarantine, we’ve dug up another vintage interview from Jay’s archives. From 1979, Jay talks with Steve Stoliar, who worked in Groucho’s house as secretary during his final years and later wrote the essential account of this era, “Raised Eyebrows”. Steve details how he helped get “Animal Crackers” rereleased after being out of circul…
 
Quite the opposite of the live get-together this episode was supposed to document, your three quarantined hosts do their best to help you through COVID-19…First, we reveal the results of “The Marx Brothers Nonsensus” where fans made it known what they like and what they want. Let’s just say there are some curious folks out there...or at least a cou…
 
Taking advantage of a captive audience, we are proud to present the latest in our exclusive series of vintage interviews from the archives of Marx Brotherhood founder, Jay Hopkins. From 1984, Jay talks with Groucho’s son...author, playwright, tv scribe and screenwriter Arthur Marx. Arthur discusses the pitfalls of writing showbiz biographies, the g…
 
No, it’s not a sequel to “1917”, but something even better! This month we discuss the year that the Marx Brothers didn’t do anything besides lose Zeppo. After finishing “Duck Soup” in late 1933, the team was without a studio contract, and in no hurry to make another film…in fact, they weren’t certain they wanted to remain in Hollywood at all. We ex…
 
After avoiding its 90th anniversary, Matthew pushes Noah and Bob into the pool for a deep dive into The Cocoanuts. Why did contemporary critics consider it their best? Why does Margaret Dumont get more laughs than Zeppo? Who the hell is Penelope? Noah connects a Groucho line to Star Trek: The Next Generation, Bob brings up Philip Seymour Hoffman, a…
 
A deep dive into Groucho’s first solo effort, 1947’s “Copacabana”, which can be considered both a success and a failure…as well as neither. Surprisingly, for one of your hosts, this was a first time viewing, so Bob comes up with observations that most of you had decades ago. We explore the fascinating teaming of Groucho with Carmen Miranda, and rom…
 
This month we take it easy and discuss only half of the team, Groucho and Chico. We listen to and deep dive into all their great scenes together….as well as the one from "At The Circus". You'll learn why perhaps their most famous encounter isn’t really a Marx scene at all. We also introduce a new feature where we reveal our latest and greatest Marx…
 
Marx Brothers scholar Stewart Tryster returns as we try to explain curious moments in the Marxes' films and career. Who was that in the dark in "Animal Crackers"? Did pressure from Italians result in the pigeons being cut from “A Day at the Races”? What edible substance made up Harpo’s “A Night in Casablanca” hair? We speculate, jump to conclusions…
 
The second in our exclusive series of vintage interviews from the archives of Marx Brotherhood founder, Jay Hopkins. From 1979, Jay talks with the infamous Erin Fleming, Groucho’s secretary, personal manager, and companion in his final years. Erin details day to day life with Groucho, as well as the celebrities, shows and events she seemed to crave…
 
This month we take a deep dive into the misunderstood “Room Service”, perhaps not the best Marx film, but the one with the most interesting backstory…as well as the most frustrating compromises. Matthew enlightens us on how it almost became more of an authentic Marx vehicle, and how it almost became less of one. Bob is surprised by his reaction to …
 
Though the Marx Brothers stopped performing together after 1949’s “Love Happy”, that didn’t stop the constant stories, rumors and false starts of future projects. This month we take a look at the Marxes’ 1950s post-career, which included a few moments when they did reunite. Bob comes up with a unique (and probably stupid) theory about “The Incredib…
 
The first in our exclusive series of vintage never-before-heard interviews from the archives of Marx Brotherhood founder, Jay Hopkins… From 1979, Jay talks to “You Bet Your Life” creator and producer John Guedel about the genesis of the show, how it was put together each week, and how the show library was on the verge of being discarded in the earl…
 
Founder of the legendary Marx Brotherhood fan club, Jay Hopkins, joins us for a look at the 1970s Marx renaissance. What caused it? Could it happen again? What was Nat Perrin’s apartment number? We examine Groucho’s part in the movement, as well as his curious relationship with Erin Fleming. Jay tells of his experiences with the Brotherhood, as wel…
 
We are joined by writer/performer/bon vivant Trav S.D. for an in-depth analysis of the world of Chico. We examine his strengths, weaknesses, contradictions and roller skating. Is he the most underrated of the three, or the most overrated of the four? And where does he fit alphabetically…you’re going to be surprised. Along the way we’ll enjoy some c…
 
This month we take a deep dive into “Duck Soup”, which Matthew acknowledges as one of his thirteen favorite Marx Brothers films. Bob fixates on trivial moments, while Noah savors the early scripts way more than Leo McCarey did. By the end, we all reluctantly agree that the film is over…and so is Zeppo. Oh, and be on the lookout for a Ramones shout-…
 
Screenwriter and lifelong Marx fanatic Scott Alexander (“Ed Wood” “Man on the Moon” “The People vs. Larry Flynt”) joins us to discuss Kyle Crichton’s 1950 biography of the Marxes, which established many of the myths that hold to this day. Later, Scott details the creation of his Marx Brothers bio-pic script, and how Tony Clifton might be responsibl…
 
Author Josh Frank joins us to discuss his upcoming graphic novel, “Giraffes on Horseback Salad”, an adaptation of Salvador Dali’s 1937 proposed screenplay for the Marxes. Later, we delve into surrealism and its relation to Marx Brothers humor, along with their appeal to the intellectuals of the day. Unfortunately, Roscoe W. Chandler was not able to…
 
Hmmm…what could this be? Chico leading a Mars expedition? Zeppo getting a talent transplant? No, actually we take a look at the Marx fandom, past, present and future. Where are the new fans coming from, where are the older fans going? Does their humor hold up, and is it becoming too politically incorrect? We promise you won’t be surprised by our an…
 
After a recap of feedback to the “Big Store” episode, Matthew and Noah talk about the Marx Brothers books they have authored which, coincidentally, are available as holiday gifts. Later, Bob makes a bold proclamation for 2019.
 
Actor, writer, and singer Nick Santa Maria joins us to defend “The Big Store”…not the funniest of the latter-MGM films, but (in our opinion) the most likable. We speculate on the secret life of Hiram Phelps and love life of Mr. Grover, plus hear a rare audio clip of Tony Martin and his version of reality. We’re also treated to the death stories of …
 
For this installment, we kill a couple of hours answering listener questions as well as attempting to pronounce names of various Council members…one of whom won’t be happy at all with our open-mindedness. Plus, Matthew looks for stuff.
 
Matthew, Noah and Bob over-analyze “Monkey Business”, the Marxes’ first film shot in Hollywood and first written exclusively for the screen. You’ll learn how many stowaways are singing, if Siri knows who played Alky Briggs, and in what century the portable lighter was invented. Musicologist and Zeppocologist Andrea Orlando stops by to offer some mu…
 
Marx Brothers scholar Rodney Stewart Hillel Tryster joins the guys for a look into now lost moments from the Marxes career. Some are legendary, some are obscure...and some may never have occurred. Bob interviews Thomas Racz, who details his exciting discovery of a unique print of “A Night at the Opera” at the Hungarian Film Archive. Rodney and Matt…
 
Screenwriter and Marx Brothers fanatic Cinco Paul ("Despicable Me”, "The Secret Life of Pets", "Bubble Boy”) joins the guys to discuss and play their favorite musical moments from Marx films. Cinco also talks about how the brothers influence his work, and the Marx references he has and has not been able to incorporate into his films. Songs include……
 
The full-length interview with actor/musician/writer/director Les Marsden, who has portrayed three of the brothers onstage, in addition to writing and starring in the one man show, “A Night at Harpo’s”. Among the topics Les discusses with Noah are audience expectations, learning to play the harp, pitching the one-man show to Harpo’s widow Susan, an…
 
Noah, Bob, and Matthew deflate some accepted Marx myths that get under their skin, then they examine the fan favorite 1969 LP “The Marx Bros. - The Original Voice Tracks From Their Greatest Movies” narrated by Gary Owens. Later, Noah talks with Les Marsden, who has portrayed three of the four brothers onstage, and also wrote and starred in the one-…
 
Actor/writer/director Frank Ferrante, the world's most renowned Groucho Marx impressionist, and star of the touring show, "An Evening With Groucho" joins the guys for a deep dive into "A Day at the Races". Frank details his personal history with the film, and they dissect it scene by scene. Noah reveals a surprising secret and, later, Frank answers…
 
The guys discuss whether they disagree enough, then list their least-favorite moments in the Marxes films. A quick trip to the news-desk is followed by a chat with renown author Joe Adamson ("Groucho, Harpo, Chico and Sometimes Zeppo”), who discusses the origins of the book and which film his views have changed the most in the years since.End Music…
 
In the inaugural episode, Matthew, Bob, and Noah introduce themselves, discuss the pronunciation of Chico's name ("Chico"), and give their quick thoughts on each of the Marxes 13 starring films...Visit us online at: https://www.marxbrotherscouncilpodcast.com/Join the lively discussion on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1389369721281242…
 
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