Thursday, April 28, 2016

The (Secret) Word Is Out

Time for celebration: our friend Matthew Coniam will have his book That's Me, Groucho released a little latter this year--you can order it now.  His previous book, The Annotated Marx Brothers, is one of the best yet written about the team, and this is a follow-up.

That's Me Groucho promises to focus on Julius Marx, the most famous and successful of the brothers, in his solo career.  There are already a fair amount of books looking at Groucho's life--including some from Groucho himself--but Matthew has shown, through diligent research and deep insight, that there's still plenty more to discuss.

Groucho started performing in Vaudeville before his brothers were a team.  After they stopped making movies, he continued to work in all aspects of show biz.  He made solo films, but, more important, was a huge hit in radio and television as the emcee on You Bet Your Life.  This wasn't like any other game show--it was just an excuse for Groucho to talk to people and crack jokes.  A simple enough formula that few could have made work.  And for a generation, this was the Groucho that people knew best.

The book will also (as far as I can tell) look into his private life.  Groucho had a public persona--one which he himself tried to maintain--but how much do we really know about him?  Over the years, certain stories get repeated and beliefs solidify, but Coniam--as he showed in his other book--was able to think things through and question conventional views.  I assume he'll do the same with solo Groucho.

I admit Groucho alone isn't nearly as entertaining as the best of his work with his brothers, but then, what is?  He still had something, even to the end, and anything that adds to knowledge of life is worth checking out.


Blogger LAGuy said...

Before I forget, there's also a new book out on the making of I'll Say She is, the Brothers first Broadway hit. Who would have thought at this late date we could still get new information?

It's called Gimme A Thrill, and I'll certainly be getting it.

5:37 PM, May 02, 2016  

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