Several years back I went to a Halloween party dressed as Groucho Marx, specifically as his character Quincy Adams Wagstaff, the eccentric and barmy president of Huxley College from the classic 1932 film “Horse Feathers.” I wore the cap and gown, a pair of baggy trousers, an ill fitted shirt, worn leather shoes; I painted on the moustache and the eyebrows. I did it up right. When I arrived at the party I found myself milling around the bar looking for some whiskey. Nearby was a crowd in their late 20’s or early 30’s dressed to the absolute nines. I suspect “glamorous perfection" (rented perfection?) was the concept behind their costumes, whatever it was, they hit it right. I sort of knew them from another party; I also knew they worked as grammar school teachers. I said hey and hello, they said hey and asked me about my costume.
“I’m dressed as Groucho Marx” I replied, cigar in hand.
They all blinked and dimly asked, ‘Who’s Groucho Marx?”
One of the saddest and most preposterous nights of my life, right at that moment I knew there wasn’t going to be enough whiskey or conversation or beautiful women to keep me at this shindig for long, or this pin-brained world. Soon I said my adieus and I wandered back home dazed, stunned by it all … and I wonder why I’m depressed sometimes!
Anyway, today, October 2nd, is the birthday to a comic cultural icon, and the inspiration behind those novelty glasses, Julius Henry "Groucho" Marx. Happy 117th birthday Groucho!