20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on September 14, 2001
In his second book on the Marx Brothers (the first being 1971's "Why A Duck?") Richard J. Anobile conducted lengthy interviews with Groucho, Gummo, Zeppo, Harpo's widow Susan, and Jack Benny, among others. Most of the book is Groucho speaking, and his recollections are fascinating and brutally honest. Frequently the eighty-two-year old comedy giant lashes out at the twenty-six-year old Anobile: "Fifty years ago! How the hell am I supposed to remember what I did fifty years ago?" Gummo is pleasant and cooperative, more so than Zeppo, who was no doubt squirming about that card game that was getting away. Susan Marx is blunt about Groucho's caustic tongue and Chico's gambling. Groucho's four-letter words, which are in abundance, found their way into the final print and Groucho sued for $15,000,000.00 to stop publication. This was settled in Anobile's favor as Groucho signed all the releases. Steve Stoliar, a college student who worked for Groucho and helped get "Animal Crackers" re-released, says he doesn't doubt Groucho used that language, but never thought that Anobile would include it. Son Arthur Marx attributed it to his father's advanced age. This can't be recommended enough for Marx Brothers fans; it's a treasure trove of information, tidbits, and gossip.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
The Marx Brothers were arguably the greatest comic act of the century and 'The Marx Brothers Scrapbook' brings the heart and soul of the great performers to life. With engaging interviews, hirlarous anecdotes, and moving glimpses into the brother's lives, this book is a must for any die-hard Marx fan. Especially remarkable is the look author Anibole gives us of Groucho in his latter years. Fantastic!
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on March 20, 1998
A book that displays Groucho as he was. If a true fan reads this, they should understand his unfortunate display of vulgarities related to the incedible childhood and subsequent amazing career paths of the brothers. In order to appreciate this book, you must read Harpo's account in "Harpo Speaks", as well as any thing by Adamson that you can.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on December 15, 2004
First, the praise.
This book presents one of the best portraits of Vaudeville that I've ever encountered. While Groucho disavowed the book, I will be forever grateful to Anobile for transcribing Groucho's words as he said them instead of editing them. I think the portrait that emerges is human, amusing and elucidating. The early sections about the Marx family's life in Vaudeville are especially illuminating.
Now, the bad news.
According to several sources, transcription errors abound. I would point you to Kanfer's biography on Groucho for a description of the particular errors. At least one or two of the photos are misidentified. Of course, this might be of interest only to obsessive fans like myself, but it is does throw some of the information into question - hence the four star rating.
That all being said, for a fan of the Marx Brothers, this work is indispensible - a must buy!
on February 27, 2009
Needless to say, this book is indespensible for fans of the Marx Brothers, as it offers fantasticly rare photos and fascinating insights from Groucho and many others.
Many people complain about Groucho's use of four letter words. Personally, what I found more objectionable was the author's occasional tendency to be pushy, even bullying with his subject. I mean first of all, Groucho was 80 years old and couldn't be expected to recall everything. Second, this is Grouch Marx, even in his younger days he wasn't exactly into giving straight answers! It felt like the author was too busy fighting with Groucho for accuracy, rather than just letting him be himself.
1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on May 21, 2011
We purchased this book for our son in law who lives in California. We had it mailed to us in Missouri with the intentions of forwarding it to him. That was several weeks ago and a big mistake. I cannot get my husband to put this book down. He reads it, laughs aloud, points out paragraphs for me to see, makes comments like "I never knew this about the Marx family...". I believe I am going to have to order another for him for Father's Day.
In the meantime, if our son in law happens to read this, I swear I'll sneak this book to the Post Office this coming week.