Free night of Stooges & Marx Brothers on October 1

Punch Drunks and Pop Goes the Easel topped by Duck Soup

Looks like something out of a Universal monster movie, not poster art for “the funniest picture ever made.”
  • Looks like something out of a Universal monster movie, not poster art for “the funniest picture ever made.”

“Do you really want to spend your 60th birthday showing movies?” inquires a concerned Jo Ellen Brantferger, regional publicity director for the Angelika Film Center.

You ask me that?

The idea has been growing in my brain for some time. Even before taking a tour of the space, AFC asked that I select a film to christen the new state-of-the art facility in Carmel Mountain Plaza.

First choices: In Harm’s Way or Some Came Running, two cosseted melodramas that put to the test the boundaries of CinemaScope. Neither is available on DCP. You don’t believe I’d extend an invitation to my readers to leave their couches for a home video pressing? Where’s the festivity in that?

There’s the newly minted 35th anniversary print of Goodfellas, but it’s bound to play the Arclight. Jo Ellen hints that in its former life as the Carmel Mountain 12, the theatre attracted a lot of families. The ah-ha! moment comes while looking at the photo from Duck Soup that accompanies my piece entitled Marx Madness. Why not make it viewing #129 and in so doing expose a few fresh minds to the glories of Marxism?

With a running time of 68 minutes — it only feels like ten hours of non-stop laughs — something is needed to round out the bill. Buster Keaton’s Sherlock Jr. is unavailable, something about being withheld due to a pending theatrical reissue. Lemme see...what movies do I know that are short and funny and feature another comedy group that may be dwarfed in comparison to the Marx Bros. but have still earned their rightful spot close to my heart?

Moe! Larry! The cheese!

You are invited to join me at the new Angelika Film Center on Thursday, October 1, 7 pm for a free screening of Punch Drunks and Pop Goes the Easel topped by Duck Soup. The Angelika is even going to spring for popcorn and soda for all in attendance. It’s a bonanza!

Most adults, let alone children, think the Stooges were a product of television. Starting in 1933 and lasting through 1958, all 200 Curly, Shemp, and Joe shorts produced by Columbia were made expressly for theatrical release. To see them projected with an audience is more intoxicating than a whiff of wild hyacinth.

It’s important that you bring kids. Let them know black-and-white movies are their friend. Several years ago I attended a packed Stooge-a-thon at the Alex Theatre in Glendale — it’s an annual event — and many of the hundreds in attendance were under the age of 15. Kids hee-hawed like adults, and parents giggled like children. A (Larry) fine time was had by all.

As much as she hates my mentioning her name in print, none of this would be happening were it not for Jo Ellen Brantferger. Happy birthday, indeed! Thanks a bunch, Jo, for the present to this reporter and the community.

Three auditoriums are reserved just in case, with more available if crowds warrant. Admittedly, it’s a drive from the big city, but sometimes one must work a little for their art. If sparkling digital copies of these titles aren’t incentive enough, well...go rain on someone else’s party.

Here’s a gallery of Duck Soup goodies to whet the appetite. Hope to see you there!

Chico and Harpo with Leo McCarey, the man Groucho dubbed, "The only director we ever worked with."

Chico and Harpo with Leo McCarey, the man Groucho dubbed, "The only director we ever worked with."

Original theatrical one-sheet featuring the 4 Marx Bros. in Duck Soup, 1933.

Original theatrical one-sheet featuring the 4 Marx Bros. in Duck Soup, 1933.

Promotional artwork by Bert Levy.

Promotional artwork by Bert Levy.

Trade ad from THE FILM DAILY, October 13, 1933.

Trade ad from THE FILM DAILY, October 13, 1933.

GREENSBURG DAILY TRIBUNE, November 25, 1933.

GREENSBURG DAILY TRIBUNE, November 25, 1933.

Pinky & Chicolini.

Pinky & Chicolini.

"You expecting somebody?"

"You expecting somebody?"

Harpo sends "PeaNUTS to you" vibes Edgar Kennedy's way.

Harpo sends "PeaNUTS to you" vibes Edgar Kennedy's way.

Christmas with the Marx Brothers! THE CHICAGO TRIBUNE, December 25, 1933.

Christmas with the Marx Brothers! THE CHICAGO TRIBUNE, December 25, 1933.

Hellish-looking window card, 1933.

Hellish-looking window card, 1933.

Trade ad. FILM DAILY, 1933.

Trade ad. FILM DAILY, 1933.

The perfect foil, Margaret Dumont, takes heat from Groucho and Zeppo.

The perfect foil, Margaret Dumont, takes heat from Groucho and Zeppo.

The old barrel gag! SHOWMEN'S TRADE REVIEW, April 21, 1933.

The old barrel gag! SHOWMEN'S TRADE REVIEW, April 21, 1933.

Uber-hack Harpo Marx at your service.

Uber-hack Harpo Marx at your service.

THE FILM DAILY, October 11, 1933.

THE FILM DAILY, October 11, 1933.

Firefly, Margaret Dumont, Louis Calhern, and Raquel Torres.

Firefly, Margaret Dumont, Louis Calhern, and Raquel Torres.

THE YOUNGSTOWN VINDICATOR, December 31, 1933.

THE YOUNGSTOWN VINDICATOR, December 31, 1933.

Promotional drawing by Bert Levy.

Promotional drawing by Bert Levy.

MOTION PICTURE HERALD, November 11, 1933.

MOTION PICTURE HERALD, November 11, 1933.

SOUP AU CANARD avec Le Freres Marx! LA CINEMATOGRAPHIE FRANCAISE, June, 1937.

SOUP AU CANARD avec Le Freres Marx! LA CINEMATOGRAPHIE FRANCAISE, June, 1937.

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