Thursday, January 24, 2008

Found on eBay: Marx Brothers and Popeye!

A bit of a posting here for those of you who may not dig the Give-A-Show Fridays post following this...

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This "A Night at the Opera" lobby card portrays, as any Marxian enthusiast will easily identify, the famous "Stateroom scene." What the average person doesn't know is that after their first two movies (which were based on stage plays the Marx Brothers originated), Groucho, Harpo and Chico preferred, whenever they could, to "preview" scenes from movies by performing them live prior to them being filmed... so that they could hone the comedy as much as possible, time for laughs, etc.

This scene? Well, it didn't work at all on stage, but it killed in the movie.

But that method worked so well for other scenes...

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"A Night in Casablanca" is one of the Marx movies I've never seen... but I do know this: When the movie was announced, Warner Bros. (who produced the classic "Casablanca") had some concerns that the Marx's movie might infringe on their rights.

However, after an exchange of letters with Groucho? Well, let's just say that Groucho must've completely flummuxed Warners to the point where they just stopped worrying about it. You can read the whole story in one of those "Letters to Groucho" books that most good libraries should have available.

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Going from Groucho to Popeye (it would be interesting to contrast and compare the two, but not tonight!), here's a Popeye coloring book, which also features Swee'Pea and (I presume) the Whiffle Hen.

Not familiar with the Whiffle Hen? It's a magical creature that, when you rub it, brings you good luck. Popeye historian Bill Blackbeard has written about how in the original newspaper comics (i.e., Thimble Theater), it was the Whiffle Hen which gave Popeye his extraordinary strength and near-invulnerability, as opposed to the cartoons' use of spinach!

Actually, that bird looks nothing like the Whiffle Hen... but it gave me an excuse to throw that bit out!

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Another Popeye cartoon... apparently he must've eaten some other-worldly spinach that made the sailor man grow and be able to survive in space, eh? Nice to see Olive Oyl, Wimpy, and either Brutus or Bluto on the cover of this one... along with Swee'Pea, of course!

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Yes, by the time this Popeye book was drawn, quality control was going down the tubes, and being off-model wasn't a concern!

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Hmmm... this Popeye Dot Book isn't too much on-model either, is it?

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In case you weren't familiar with Corgi outside of this blog, you might think they produced nothing but Batmobiles, Batboats, and other Bat-stuff... but here's one of their Popeye vehicles! There should be more of these coming up in the blog, but it may be a looooong time before I get to them!

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Heh... in case you thought Jaymar only did puzzles (especially if you followed the Halloween Countdown posts)... here's a very unique vintage item, the Funny Face Maker! As you can tell, you dial different features together... this would've been a good car-trip toy, I'm guessing!

Corgi wasn't the only company that made toy vehicles with Popeye and his friends... here's some Matchbox vehicles!

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Next up on "Found on eBay"? I'll start off, at least, with some Planet of the Apes collectibles!

Jon

2 comments:

  1. Very cool! I'm sorry to say I lost track of your blog for awhile but I'm back and I see I have some serious catching-up to do! I love the "By the Tens" feature, too!

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  2. Welcome back, Booksteve, and thanks! To honor your return, I posted an early installment of By the 10's tonight!

    Jon

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