Yes, he’s so famous he’s known by one name.
Adolph Marx, the second oldest of the Marx family’s five surviving sons, was easily the zaniest and perhaps most creative of The Marx Brothers, and that’s saying quite a bit.
An silent anarchist in spirit, he believed that mayhem when thing go wrong was wholly salutary if not essential. His infamous “gookies” remain as hilarious as ever.
Our Monday Quiz today was inspired by Marx’s 1961 memoir, Harpo Speaks, coauthored by Rowland Barber, in which the comedian-mime reveals himself to be a remarkably sophisticated man behind the facade of grade-school dropout.
How I came to be educated, over the years, I don’t exactly know, he wrote. I only know that it didn’t happen during my sojourn at New York City Public School No. 86.
How much do you know about this amazingly inventive comedian? Please take our Monday Quiz, and find out. (As usual, answers tomorrow.) Here we go:
1) Question: Which one of the following was NOT considered a member of the Marx Brothers? a) Milton (Gummo); b) Adolph (Harpo); c) Leonard (Chico) or d) Herbert (Zeppo).
2) Question: Harpo’s mother, the former Minna Schoenberg, was the subject of a short lived Broadway musical in 1970. Can you name the show and the actress who played her?
3) Question: Harpo is famous for remaining the silent Marx Brother. How come he never uttered a word onstage or in movies? a) He was struck dumb in his Twenties; b) He reacted to a negative review from a critic in Champaign, Illinois; c) He was order to clam up by his forceful stage mother; or d) He simply enjoyed working sans dialogue.
4) Question: How did Marx get the stage name “Harpo?” a) That was his father’s nickname; b) Because he took up the stringed harp to liven up the boys’ vaudeville act; c) Because he was given a surprise gift by his mother; d) He just liked the sound of the moniker.
5) Question: Which of the following was Marx Brothers’ final Hollywood movie? a) Love Happy; b) A Night at the Opera; c) A Day at the Races; or d) A Night In Casablanca.
6) Question: As a self-described mime, Harpo had special affection for a) Marcel Marceau; b) Buster Keaton; c) Charlie Chaplin; or d) John Weaver.
7) Question: Although brought up with scanty formal education, Harpo became a celebrated member of the so-called Round Table group of intellectuals at New York’s Algonquin Hotel. Who was his closest Round Table pal? a) George Kaufman; b) Dorothy Parker; c) Bernard Baruch; or d) Alexander Woollcott.
8) Question: Marx’s most famous comic expression was known as a “gookie.” What exactly was it and who was it named after?
9) Question: Harpo sometimes appeared as a single, and in one case, toured and then spirited out of the country secret government documents from which one of the following countries? a) Soviet Russia; b) Nazi Germany; c) Haiti; or d) Cuba.
10) Question: Of all the Marx brothers, Harpo was the most romantically and sexually active, and never really settled down. a) True; or b) False.