Vn93.1 Marx Brothers 9/17/77

About a week or two ago, a radio program I sometimes listen to was
displaced by a series of recordings played in memory of the then just
dead Groucho Marx. I had to explain this to Robby and Miriam, explain
that the funny little man they had seen on TV in those old movies was
dead. Miriam asked if that meant we would never see his movies again.
For the short term, of course, the opposite is true. While we would
interrupt ourselves in the past when given the chance to see “Horse
Feathers” or “Duck Soup” on TV, we three had never seen the Marx
Brothers movies on the big screen.

The children spent all afternoon yesterday bickering with each
other. I felt Gretchen needed a break. Since I had slept little last
night, my taking the children to a dull movie occurred to me as a
relatively harmless way to spend an afternoon in which I could expect to
accomplish nothing anyway. My scenario called for our going to see “Star Wars”
over at Cleveland Circle (about a mile from our house). When the news-
paper advertised a Marx Brothers triple feature, the flashy sci-fi flick
was no competition. The kids said we had to go see the Marx Brothers,
even in the center of Boston.

We all had a great time, but 5 hours of movies gets a little wear-
ing. I’m sure the children will remember as I do the train ride in “Go
West,” the search for the 10 G’s in Goliath’s room in “At the Circus,”
and rollerskating in “The Big Store.” We all complained equally at the
recurrent ‘mush’ (Miriam was surprisingly delicate: “This is just too
much romance.”), but the ambience was not the same as thirty years ago
when the hero and ingenue were always greeted with boo’s. (The prices
have gone from 10¢ to $1.50, and the matinee crowd has shrunk

Gretchen had dropped us off at the theater by car. Our trip home
was by MTA. As we rattled away from the Auditorium station of the Green
Line, Miriam confided to me: “Daddy, I really love riding in the subway.”
So do I. I recall the many Sundays I spent at the age of 8 riding about
Philadelphia on the Public Transportation Company (PTC) system. A dime
would take you from the Northeast where I lived to the International
Airport in the Southwest or to the 69th Street terminal in the suburban
Northwest. I knew well all the routes that would permit a great circle
of free transfers back to the point of origin, and which stations on
the Broad or Market Street subways permitted a free reversal of
direction. When the ragweed is gone and the cooler autumn air holds less
dust in the underground stations, I expect we three will explore the MTA.

We are now moving into the final phase of our project. This vignette
marks how we spent one afternoon in a slack period, a small vacation in
place before we begin re-executing the Genevan experiments with which
our work began. Days such as this are essential in maintaining our good
working relationship, days where we do nothing ‘serious,’ only essential
things such as playing together, enjoying each other’s company.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email