Uncle Al wrote us a new script for our vaudeville act. Well, correction, he wrote a new script for Julie, Leo and Milton. I got one line and then the rest is silence! So, I gonna ad lib my way through this act and the rest of them can work around me. I deserve more that one line!
Evidentally farmers don't get drafted so Ma figured she'd make farmers out of us Marx Brothers.
Five kids, who were raised in the city.
To be farmers.
Anyone else seeing how badly this couldn't work? The rats are eating the chicken eggs and so we had to end up buying eggs to meet our egg quota. The guy was stunned to see chickens lay white eggs. Who knew the chickens we had layed red eggs?
Hahahahahahahah! So Julie, Leo, Milton and I were playing cards with one of our fellow vaudevillians Art Fisher during a show and he decided we all needed nicknames. As he passed out cards he gave us our respective names for that evening. Leonard - since he is always chasing women - became Chicko. I am Harpo, if you can't figure that one out you're denser than I am. Julie is Groucho and Milton has become Gummo. For the rest of the night, Art called us by these names. Maybe we'll try to keep them, though I'm not sure it'll last.
We were in Ohio and the mayor insisted that we all go to a birthday party with him. We really didn't want to, because we had to be in Indianapolis the next day, but he pressured us into it. I had two drinks and now I can barely remember what the hell happened the night before. When I finally woke up the entire troupe had already gotten on the train for Indianapolis and left me behind. So I ended up buying a secondhand Model-T, threw my harp in the back and drove. Unfortunately, this car didn't want to drive and kept breaking down. After getting there I had to sell it for junk, but my harp took such a beating I should have just bought a new harp.
Ah well, I made it. Now I got to get over this headache.
My self-taught harp lessons are going pretty well. I've finally managed to get a solo, which is "Annie Laurie". However, one day, I was walking past this store window and I saw a figure of an angel playing a harp. When I looked closer, I noticed she had the harp leaning against her right shoulder and not her left, as I have had it. >_> Ooops...
^_^!! *jumps up and down* I GOT A HARP! I GOT A HARP! I GOT A HARP!!
Ma went to Chicago to try to find us some gigs and the rest of us stayed in Illinois until she returned. Suddenly I got this telegram from here that said: DON'T LEAVE TOWN UNTIL YOUR SHIPMENT ARRIVES BY FREIGHT. PAYMENTS ON IT ON DOLLAR PER WEEK. DON'T GET IT WET. MINNIE.
I was terribly confused; what could she possibly be sending me? When the box arrived, it was this huge strangely shaped box, but inside was a harp! My Grandma had a harp that was always missing strings and it sat in a corner in my Grandpa's room. I've always wanted to hear one played, and I swore that I'd save up the money to buy strings, but when I finally got my money, it got spent on other things. BUT NOW I HAVE ONE!!
Bad news: Our tenor singer left our act. Good news: Who cares?
We were paying him $25 a week, but he found an act that payed $27.50 and left us without any warning. While we could easily work around his absense in School Days, Ma felt we needed him in the second half, cause we had to leave the audience with a song. Since he had the only tuxedo in the show, Ma felt that our class was departing with him. Julie said it was no problem, he could sing "La Donna E Mobile" and Leo told her to fire the piano player, use that money to buy a suit and he would play the piano. She agreed and left us to go shopping for a new tenor. Left us when we had a show to perform. Well Julie started the aria, but after a couple of bars he stopped. "I don't like your key, Giuseppe," he said to Leo. "How about this key, boss?" Chico said and switched to - I think - C-minor. If you've ever heard C-minor, it's terrible. "Worse," Julie replied. I bolted from the wings, shoved Leo off the piano stool and began thumping out "The Holy City". Julie bumped me off and then Leo bumped Julie off. We finally ended up played "Waltz Me Around Again, Willie". Leo sat at the stool, I sat on Leo's shoulders and Julie reached around Leo, all of us singing away. We got to take seven bows that night and the manager asked us to play the entire week! Ma was a little saddened, but we are not so much music as comedy now.
Well, we were going to spend the summer back at home, what with most of the theatre's being closed because of the heat, but we quickly got to the bottom of our meager savings and had to go back on the road. We've been on the road for a while and we finally came upon some town in Illinois, where we intended to do our Fun in Hi Skul bit. As I made my entrance onto the stage, I saw Julie looking kind of dazed and staring off into the pit. Following his gaze to the piano, I saw the the guy was calmly hitting some keys. It was Leo!! With a shout, I pulled some of the fruit out of my hat and threw it at him. Leo threw it at Julie who threw it at Milton who threw it somewhere else. As you can tell, the act quickly collapsed into a fruit fight, until we managed to get Leo to surrender and climb up on stage with us. He ad libbed this great part as an Italian kid and the crowd loved us. Turns out so did the orchestra, 'cause one fiddle player, Benny Kubelsky - try to say that name three times fast - couldn't stop laughing at anything we did. In fact, we found him after the program and he began laughing at just the sight of us.
Nagadoches, Texas is now the survivor of an explosion of comedic Marx Brothers.
In the middle of our production of School Days some guy ran into our theatre and shouted that there was a runaway mule outside and the audience nearly killed each other trying to get out to see this ass. Julie, Milton and I had been wanting to let loose and improve our way through School Days for a while and with the audience gone Ma couldn't stop us. The other actors had to flee to the wings as the three of us began roughing it up onstage, swinging, tripping, tumbling around while ripping our costumes and knocking the scenery about. After a while, the audience showed up again, and instead of continuing with the normal scene, we were so annoyed with them that we began heckling them. Julie turned to the audience and called out, "Nagadoches is full of roaches!" and "Well one jackass always attracts more jackasses!!" Instead of booing us of stage like we expected, the audience laughed. They kept laughing right through the show.
Unfortunately, we had to pay for the broken sets and fixtures. In the end we made a net profit of minus seven dollars. So Ma's calling Uncle Al to get the money so we can get out of this place.
Well bless Julie's fabulous memory. We're currently playing in Texas and it seems the audience loved us a lot.
So much so that the manager asked us to play another night. However, he said we couldn't repeat the same show, because if we did something new the same audience would come back. Ma agreed, but didn't stop to remember that we had no other show besides being The Three Nightengales. As we sat around discussing our current problem, Julie spoke up and said, "Why not put on School Days? I had to follow the act clear across Montana and I know it by heart!" Since our "theatre" was - in reality - a school assembly room, it seemed to be possible. We divided up the parts an Julie was to be the teacher; Milton is the Hebrew boy; the teacher's despair was me. The bass player got the Mama's Boy, Aunt Hannah was the Bright Little Girl and Ma the No-So-Bright Little Girl.
One of my great bits was when Julie - as the teach - would tell me to say the alphabet and I'd get him to help me out. Me: Gimmie a start, teacher. Julie: All right, dum-kopf, I'll give you a start. "Ah-ah-ah-" Me: Ah! Julie: Not "Ah!" -"A"! Me: That's the alphabet - "A"! Julie: That's not the alphabet. Come back here. Me: There's more?!
HAHAHHA!! We have a lot more fun as comedians than as singers. We've decided to keep it in the act, along with the singing.