So, it’s my birthday today, I’m 36 years old. ( are people still weird about saying how old they are? Why is that a thing? Why a fuck? That’s what I want to know…)
And so to celebrate, I figured why not share a very famous snippet from one of my very favorite movies: Coconuts by the Marx Brothers from 1929. I started watching Marx Brothers movies with my Dad, oh, doing the math here, about 28 years ago; and now my husband and I play the Marx Brothers’ Marathon every New Years’ Eve- thanks TCM!
The thing about the Marx Brothers that I’ve always loved is they’re so rapid fire and so witty- that even after close to 30 years of watching it I still found jokes in the script below that I’ve missed all these past decades. So without further delay:
Why a Duck?
Groucho: (after a pause) The next time I see you, remind me not to talk with you, will you? It’s gonna be a cinch explaining the rest of this thing to you, I can see that.
Chico: I catch on quick.
Groucho: That’s a rodeo you’re thinking of. All right, Einstein, here’s Coconut Manor. No matter what you say, this is Coconut Manor. Here’s Coconut Manor, here’s Coconut Heights, that’s a swamp, and over here where the road forks is called Coconut Junction.
Chico: Where do you have coconut custard?
Groucho: That’s on one of the forks. You probably eat with your knife, so you don’t have to worry about that. Here’s the main road leading out of Coconut Manor. That’s the road I wish you were on. Now over here is going to be an eye and ear hospital. That’s going to be a sight for sore eyes. Understand?
Chico: Yeah, that’s fine.
Groucho: Now, right over here is the residential section.
Chico: Oh, people live there, eh?
Groucho: No, that’s the stockyard. Now all along here is the riverfront. All along the river, those are all levies.
Chico: That’s the Jewish neighborhood?
Groucho: (after a pause)Why don’t we pass over that. You’re a peach, boy. Now here is a little peninsula, and over here is a viaduct leading over to the mainland.
Chico: Why a duck?
Groucho: (after a pause)I’m fine, how are you? I said this is a viaduct leading over to the mainland.
Chico: All right, why a duck?
Groucho: I say that’s a viaduct.
Chico: All right, why a duck? Why a duck? Why not a chicken?
Groucho: Well, I don’t know why not a chicken. I’m a stranger here myself. I know that’s a viaduct. You try to cross over there on a chicken and you’ll find out why a duck.
Chico: But why-
Groucho: It’s deep water, that’s why a duck. Look here, suppose you were out horseback riding and you came to that stream and you wanted to ford over. But you can’t. It’s too deep.
Chico: What would you want with a Ford when you got a horse?
Groucho: (after a pause)Well, I’m sorry the matter came up. I just know that that’s a viaduct.
Chico: Listen. I catch on to why a horse, why a chicken, why a this, why a that, but I don’t catch on to why a duck.
Groucho: I was only fooling. I was only fooling. They’re going to build a tunnel there in the morning. Is that clear to you?
Chico: Yes, everything except for why a duck.
Singing…”Happy, happy birthday to me… happy birthday to me… and to you”
(Happy Birthday to Me- Cracker)
AND- just realized this is my 36th blog post- how fortuitous!