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Hooray For Captain Spaulding from "ANIMAL CRACKERS"

Hooray For Captain Spaulding from "ANIMAL CRACKERS"

Marx-Brothers

Chico (Leonard), Groucho (Julius), Harpo (Adolph/Arthur) and Zeppo (Herbert) Marx.

A catalog of Mystery Science Theater 3000 references to any of the Marx Brothers in reality or essence, their various acts, jokes and bits that they introduced that have entered the comedy lexicon, and things or people associated primarily with them in modern consciousness. Included are Groucho impressions, which are sometimes in the ear of the beholder. The way the boys and 'bots shot off one-liners and puns, it was probably difficult to resist using a Groucho voice every time. The evidence shows that the references began late in the KTMA season and started simply, pointing out character similarities. Then by Season 2 the riffs developed into more of an insiders' joke, with direct references to dialog. Frank Coniff had just joined the show, and may have been the biggest influence behind this development. The writers developed a technique of using set-up lines or responses to bring the Marx comedy to mind. The referencees then trailed off again steeply after Joel left the show, and that trend seemed to be sealed once Coniff left, eventually reverting to simple likeness comparisons by Season 10 and beyond. References to Animal Crackers far exceed any other Marx source, at well more than a three-to-one clip.


KTMA

14:40 – “He’s got Groucho Marx eyebrows,” followed by, “I’ll bet Groucho’s pissed.” Cornjob does have heavy black eyebrows that go up and down. (Then a pause) “He doesn’t need them anymore.” Groucho had died about 10 years earlier.

19:48 – “It's Harpo's girlfriend.” The alien girl is plucking a harp.

47:01 – “Major, Captain. Captain. Colonel. Colonel, Major. Sergeant, Captain. (Something), Colonel.” A Marx connection is debatable. This riff reflects a Groucho bit in A Night at the Opera. As Groucho repeatedly bows, he introduces two characters: “Mrs. Claypool, Mr. Gottlieb. Mr. Gottlieb, Mrs. Claypool. Mrs. Claypool, Mr. Gottlieb. Mr. Gottlieb, Mrs. Claypool. Mrs. Claypool – I could go on like this all night, but it’s tough on my suspenders.”

Close – “That’s Mr. Golf Bag to you, buddy.” This standard joke goes back to Groucho in Monkey Business. After a mob boss refers to him and Zeppo as Bozos, he replies, “That’s Mr. Bozos to you.”


Season 1

Opening – Was Dr. Forrester’s makeover meant to make him look like Groucho? A mustache was added, his eyebrows were made more prominent, his glasses became more prominent, his hairstyle turned eccentric, and his tie and lab coat mimic Groucho’s typical costume. You make the call.

37:17 – “It was a bizarre dream. You were all there – Fannie Flagg, and Groucho, and Carl Sagan. It was a Dick Cavett PBS special.” The scientist looks even more like Groucho than Forrester does.

39:57 – “It’s Harpo.” Again, because the scientist looks like Groucho. Harpo might eat a phone, but not talk on one.

09:11 – “How come they’ve got Groucho Marx mustaches on their helmets?” My guess is those are mouth vents, but they look like big black mustaches painted on.

12:10 – “Great gag.” A Marx connection is debatable. At the climax of Go West the Brothers are hijacking a train, tying up and gagging the engineer. “This is the best gag in the picture!” Groucho observes.

53:38 – “Don’t point that goat at me – it might go off!” An adaptation of Groucho’s exclamation to Sig Ruman, “Don’t point that beard at me – it might go off!” in A Day at the Races. Ruman, who was one of the few actors to share the screen with the Marxes three times, was expertly pointing his Van Dyke at Groucho in indignation.

1:00:10 – “Major.” “Colonel.” “Doctor.” (Something) “Captain.” See Ep. K14. This may or may not be a similar reference.

59:51 – “Wear a necktie next time so I’ll know who’s you.” An adaptation of Groucho’s wooing of Margaret Dumont in The Cocoanuts. “Oh, I can see it now – you and the moon. Wear a necktie so I'll know you.”  The setup in this episode is as follows: (Farm owner smooth talking judge) “Between this moon and you, I …” (Crow) “Don’t know which one is which.”

1:23:01 – “Well don’t ask Groucho.” The actor at far right on screen has a passing resemblance to an older Groucho.


Season 2

09:28 – “Either this man is dead or my watch has stopped.” From Groucho’s medical examination of Harpo in A Day at the Races.

1:32:31 – “If I hold you any tighter I’d be in back of you.” A paraphrase of Groucho in A Day at the Races, when he was nearly being framed by Esther Muir, “If I hold you any closer, I’ll be in back of you.”

24:17 – (In a matronly voice) “Oh, Capt. Spaulding!” A typical response by Margaret Dumont to Groucho in Animal Crackers. See also Ep. 205.

36:05 – “That’s irrelephant!” A reference to Chico’s treason trial in Duck Soup. The routine is Chico: “Now I aska you one. What has a trunk, but no key, weighs 2,000 pounds and lives in a circus?” Prosecutor : “That's irrelevant.” Chico: “Irrelephant? Hey, that'sa the answer. There's a whole lotta irrelephants in the circus.”

35:05 – (In a Groucho voice) “This is the weirdest Lamaze class I’ve ever seen.” A simple impersonation, based on the line, “That’s the most nauseating proposition I ever had,” from A Day at the Races.

08:25 – (In a matronly voice) “Oh, Professor Firefly, it’s not my size.” See Ep. 203. Crow conflates two of Groucho’s characters – he played Professor Wagstaff in Horse Feathers and President Firefly in Duck Soup. In Duck Soup Margaret Dumont usually referred to him as Your Excellency; she did not appear in Horse Feathers at all.

Segment 2 – The duck from Groucho’s game show You Bet Your Life would drop from the air with a money prize when a contestant said the secret word.

18:55 – (In a matronly voice) “Oh, Capt. Spaulding!” See Ep. 203.

57:38 – “Hey, it’s George S. Kaufman guys.” Even after a long and influential career in theater, Kaufman is probably best remembered today as co-author of Marx Brothers’ Broadway hits The Cocoanuts and Animal Crackers, and as a collaborator in films A Night at the Opera and A Day at the Races.

Segment 2 – Joel mentions the Algonquin Round Table, and though he was not named, Harpo was a prominent member of the group and the only one who still has a broad audience. Crow mentions it again at 1:01:56.

56:09 – “Wear a necktie so I know it’s you.” See Ep. 112. An adaptation of Groucho. The setup this time is a biker inviting the driver to go outside and “serenade the moon.”

1:00:15 – Servo : “What about Hungadunga?” Crow: “Oh, you left him out. And he’s the most important one, too.” A reference to the dictation scene in Animal Crackers, in which Groucho’s lawyers are the firm of Hungadunga, Hungadunga, Hungadunga, Hungadunga and McCormick.

26:08 – “That reminds me, I must get my watch fixed!” A quote from Groucho in A Night in Casablanca, after watching Lisette Verea walk away from him.

1:18:25 – “That’s Mr. Slob to you.” See Ep. K14.

14:37 – “Omitted the body of the letter, eh?” A reference to the dictation scene in Animal Crackers. Zeppo has informed Groucho that he didn’t think the body of the letter was important, so he left it out.

17:34 – (In a Groucho voice) “And if his wife ever found out …!” (rim shot). The setup for this was “Joe had two children at that school.”

34:46 – Servo: “What are you, man or mouse?” Crow: “Put some cheese down there and you’ll find out.” A bit of dialogue between Allan Jones and Groucho in A Day at the Races.

1:00:53 – “Weeyuhd figguhs, straaange figguhs.” As he was going into his “strange interlude” in Animal Crackers, Groucho said this phrase, followed by reciting low stock prices. The stock market had crashed the year before the movie was filmed, when it was still being played onstage, and Groucho lost his life savings.

21:46 – (In a Groucho voice) “Say the secret word and win $100.” This is said in response to the kid saying “You bet your life,” a common phrase that was used as the name of Groucho’s game show. See Ep. 205.

19:55 – “Marx Brothers.” The four male characters are on the screen together and Joel and the Bots are guessing who they are.


Season 3

11:23 – “Groucho?” Servo says this during an explosion, so it must be a comment on a guy with a mustache in the shot before.

1:01:53 – “Make that three hardboiled eggs.” From the state room scene in A Night at the Opera. As Groucho ordered room service for three stowaways, Chico (from behind a closed door) continually inserted “and two hardboiled eggs,” at which Harpo would honk his bulb horn, eliciting this line.

26:16 – (Singing) “I cannot stay, I must be going.” A key line from “Hooray for Capt. Spaulding,” Groucho’s theme in Animal Crackers and later for his game show, You Bet Your Life. In the movie Capt. Spaulding had just arrived at a society party.

33:07 – “Hey, who invited the elephant? I guess that’s irrelevant.” See Ep. 203. An adaptation of Chico.

50:22 – “She can’t take it there!” A reference to Chico calling the faux fight between Harpo and Margaret Dumont before the bridge game in Animal Crackers.

19:09 – “What’s the capital of South Dakota?” Based on an anecdotal but famous story about Groucho. Before he grew a real mustache, a group of friends took him to a seance in Chicago. When the medium claimed to have made contact with the spirit world, she asked if anyone had a question for the dead. The skeptical and anonymous Groucho suggested, “What is the capital of North Dakota?”

31:24 – “Hungadunga … Hungadunga …” See Ep. 208.

1:20:33 – “Okay, what’s the password, swordfish?” Swordfish has become a ubiquitous password, but it originates in the speakeasy scene from Horse Feathers. Chico is in charge of not letting anyone in without saying “swordfish,” and the bit goes on from there, including Harpo pulling out a sword and huge fish from his coat.

1:20:44 – “Try swordfish.” See Ep. 312.

16:21 – Crow: “And two hardboiled eggs.” Tom: “Honk!” Crow: “Make that three hardboiled eggs.” See Ep. 303. This is a direct quote of the bit.

Segment 2 – “Oh, he can’t take it there!” See Ep. 308. An adaptation of Chico.

20:27 – “That reminds me, I must get my watch fixed.” See Ep. 209.

25:22 – “Home of the Algonquin Round Table.” See Ep. 207.

30:22 – “Mrs. Rittenhouse.” Margaret Dumont’s character in Animal Crackers. Considering the fish dock, the joke here may be based on the storm scene, in which Harpo produces a fish (among other things) when Chico asks for a “flash”(light). Groucho later finds the fish and asks, “Pardon me Mrs. Rittenhouse, did you lose a fish?”

1:25:53 – “Whoa, he can’t take it there! He can’t take it there!” See Ep. 308. An adaptation of Chico.

55:00 – “Three cheers for Capt. Spaulding!” A line from the parlor scene in Animal Crackers, spoken by Louis Sorin. In response, Harpo brings in three chairs.

1:03:07 – (In a Groucho voice) “You’ll never go back to the other kind. Wooo!” A simple impersonation. This is in response to the line, “Once you’ve known a Grimolt warrior …”

1:34:19 – (Singing) “I cannot stay, I must be going.” See Ep. 306.

Segment 2 – ”Hey buddy, can you spare some change? I want a cup of coffee.” The Marx connection here is debatable. This may be an adaptation of a down-and-out guy’s request of Harpo in Horse Feathers, which leads to Harpo pulling a steaming cup out of his pocket, “Say buddy, could you help me out? I’d like to get a cup of coffee.”

51:17 – “Either he’s dead or my watch has stopped.” See Ep. 201. A paraphrase of Groucho.

51:55 – “Anything further, Father?” Zeppo asks this of Groucho in Horse Feathers closing out some dialog in the opening scene.

55:23 – Crow: “I’m sorry, I can’t think of the ending.” Servo: “I can’t think of anything else.” This is a paraphrase of an exchange between Chico and Groucho from the parlor scene in Animal Crackers. Chico, playing the piano, says “I can’t think of the finish,” and Groucho replies, “That’s strange and I can’t think of anything else.” The piece Chico is playing is his own composition, “Daffy Over You,” which served as something of a theme song for the Brothers’ Paramount films.

56:08 – “Why, are you coming apart?” This is a line from A Night at Casablanca, when Lisette Verea invites Groucho to dine with “Will you join us?” Crow recognizes the straight line was wrong and says, “Oh, that’s a different joke.”

42:21 – Servo: “Walk this way.” Crow: (In a Groucho voice) “If I could walk that way I wouldn’t be wearing the box.” A simple impersonation.

48:28 – “What is that, the Groucho duck up there?” Joel is referring to a boom mic, but the scientist does have the basic Groucho look. See Ep. 205.

1:06:40 – Crow: “And two hardboiled eggs.” Tom: “Honk!” Crow: “Make that three hardboiled eggs.” See Ep. 303. This is a direct quote of the bit.

19:14 – “Oh that’s a chiropodist.” This is probably only the second time “chiropodist” has been a joke in an entertainment vehicle, the first time being Animal Crackers. In the parlor scene, Groucho requested Chico play the song about the Irish chiropodist, “My Fate Is In Your Hands.” Still, a Marx connection is up for debate.

48:17 – “You inspect her, I’m busy.” This is a paraphrase of an exchange between Groucho and Edward Metcalfe, playing a police inspector investigating the theft of the Beaugard in Animal Crackers.

1:22:44 – “Not da fish, da flash!” A reference to the storm scene in Animal Crackers. See Ep. 316.

Close – “You know at Arby’s, when I worked there, I was so funny my nickname was Zeppo.” Over the course of five movies, Zeppo – the decidedly un-funny Marx Brother – averaged 0.6 funny moments. He was a credible leading man, though.

18:45 – “Hey, it’s Chico Marx.” A woman entering the factory wears a hat similar to Chico’s typical Tyrolean.

27:34 – Crow: “And, uh, two hardboiled eggs.” Tom: “Honk!” Crow: “Make that three hardboiled eggs.” See Ep. 303. A paraphrase of the bit.


Season 4

22:39 – “The party of the first part who in this part will be known …” An adaptation of Groucho’s line in the contract scene from A Night at the Opera, played with Chico: “The party of the first part will be known as the party of the first part …”

59:56 – “Ya say the magic word and ya got a $100.” See Ep. 205. This is a paraphrase of the You Bet Your Life version of Groucho, whom the news announcer favors.

1:18:45 – “If I was any closer I’d be behind you.” See Ep. 201. A paraphrase of Groucho.

57:31 – “Here comes Zeppo.” The lead guy has Zeppo’s basic clean-cut look and basic blandness.

19:48 – “I can’t get down, I’m stuck up here!” A Marx connection is debatable, but in At the Circus, Groucho is walking on the ceiling with Eve Arden when she leaves him hanging, and he recites a litany of lines including “I’m stuck up here” and “Help me down.”

1:19:22 – (In a Groucho voice) “Once I shot an elephant in my pajamas.” A paraphrase of Groucho’s line in Animal Crackers, “One morning I shot an elephant in my pajamas.” This is the set-up for, “How he got in my pajamas, I don’t know.”

56:17 – (In a matronly voice) “Nobody asked for a ray gun, put that right away …” An adaptation of Margaret Dumont in Animal Crackers during the parlor scene when Harpo brings in three chairs: “No one asked for the chairs, you put them right back where you found them, now get out, get out.” See Ep. 317.

1:23:57 – “Oh, well, there’s got to be at least two more Russian aviators in that thing.” A reference to A Night at the Opera in which stowaways Chico, Harpo and Allan Jones sneak off a ship by pretending to be a trio of famous Russian aviators, with notable beards. See also Ep. 505.

26:54 – Crow: “And get me two hardboiled eggs!” Servo: “Honk.” Crow: “Make that three hardboiled eggs.” See Ep. 303. A paraphrase of the bit.

1:03:51 – (Singing) “I’m against it.” This is from Groucho’s feature song in Horse Feathers (fortuitously, also a college picture), “Whatever It Is, I’m Against It”. Servo gets the tune wrong, however. The line in the film that leads to this is “Whatever it is, …” 

12:04 – “She can’t take it there!” See Ep. 308.

14:09 – “Even George S. Kaufman won a prize.” See Ep. 206. The young guy looks like Kaufman.

Segment 2 – “Everything I love is either illegal, immoral or fattening.” A quote from Alexander Woolcott, as noted by Servo. A prominent New York journalist, gadabout and member of the Algonquin Round Table (See Ep. 207), Woolcott is most often remembered today for his role in promoting the Marx Brothers’ success on Broadway.

53:38 – “Jeez, he’s turning into Harpo.” Harpo’s earliest incarnation was as a blonde-chaser, though that aspect of his character was toned down after their earliest movies.

11:00 – “Weeyuhd prisoners.” See Ep. 211. An adaptation of Groucho. The set-up line from the film is “… we’re returning with strange prisoners.”

11:59 – “Weeyuhd captives.” See above. This time the lead-in is “Strange captives.”

15:52 – “That’s Mr. Stinkin’ Rotten Mouthpiece to you!” See Ep. K14.

38:32 – “I can’t think of anything else.” See Ep. 320. The lead-in line from the film is, “We’ve got to think about your wound.”

27:01 – “It’s the turkey from Room Service!” One of their least-remarkable movies, Room Service featured the Brothers and Frank Albertson trying to avoid being evicted from their hotel room. In one scene a live turkey created havoc in the room.

1:15:24 – “Either this man is dead or my watch has stopped.” See Ep. 201.

30:14 – (In a Groucho voice) “Say the secret word, and Bill Cosby rips your show off.” See Ep. 205. During MST3K’s fourth season, Cosby was hosting a reboot of You Bet Your Life. The reference is to the equipment descending from the ceiling.

1:22:04 – “Weeyuhd creatuhs.” See Ep. 211. An adaptation of Groucho.

25:45 – “I replaced Gummo.” The riff is in reply to a line in the movie, “How’d you get into the act?” Gummo was the straight-man Marx Brother in their early vaudeville days, but dropped out of the act when the U.S. entered World War I. He was replaced by Zeppo, who was all of 17 at the time. Eventually they went into business together as talent agents.

1:21:31 – “Whoa, ho, he can’t take it there!” See Ep. 308. An adaptation of Chico.

47:05 – “How come I never get a nurse like that?” A Marx connection is flimsy. This could be an adaptation of Groucho’s character in A Day at the Races, Dr. Hugo Hackenbush. During the examination scene a nurse helps prep Harpo and exits somehow relieved of her dress, revealing an industrial-grade slip. Groucho peers at her through some medical equipment and says, “How is it a dame like that never gets sick?”

47:12 – “Well thank you, Pinky!” There’s not much reason for this riff, which Joel directs at a policeman who’s just said he would bring his car around, and a Marx connection is debatable. Harpo’s character in Duck Soup is called Pinky, and he’s the  driver for President Firefly’s car (actually a motorcycle with sidecar).

44:55 – (In a matronly voice) “Nobody asked for a goose, you take that right away.” See Ep. 404.

06:52 – “I may be wonderful, but I think you’re wrong.” A quote from Groucho in Animal Crackers, which was a play on the popular 1929 song "I May Be Wrong (but I Think You're Wonderful)".


Season 5

Segment 2 – “I couldn’t beat Margaret Dumont!” ’Nuff said.

26:56 – “Why, are they falling apart?” An adaptation of Groucho. See Ep. 320.

1:26:03 – “Pippo – the Marx Brother nobody liked.” In chronological order, they were Chico, Harpo, Groucho, Gummo and Zeppo. The story is, during a Vaudeville poker game a performer named Art Fisher, whose hobby was giving people nicknames, applied these names (except Zeppo) as he dealt cards, all being based on a comic strip character called Knocko the Monk.

12:02 – “Excuse me while I have a strange interlude.” A paraphrase of Groucho’s line in Animal Crackers, “Pardon me while I have a strange interlude,” before he breaks the fourth wall. That line in itself was a parody of Eugene O’Neill’s experimental play Strange Interlude.

33:45 – “You know, either this man is dead or my sundial has stopped.” An adaptation of Groucho. See Ep. 201.

38:37 – “Upp, she can’t take it there. She can’t take it there.” See Ep. 308.

Invention Exchange – Frank’s Virtual Comedy machine includes Groucho glasses.

1:15:09 – “(Gasp) Ze Beaugard! Ze Beaugard! Ze Beaugard! Zat is not my Beaugard!” From Animal Crackers, when the fictional painting After the Hunt by the fictional artist Beaugard is revealed at Mrs. Rittenhouse’s party. The last exclamation quotes Louis Sorin, who realizes his painting has been replaced, the central plot point of the movie.

Segment 3 – A Marx connection is debatable here. Joel’s repeated requests for water may be a reference to the scene in A Night at the Opera in which Chico, Harpo and Allan Jones pose as long-bearded Russian aviators in order to get off the ship they stowed away on. Harpo, when called upon to make a speech, instead poured and drank so many glasses of water that it sloshed over on his beard and washed it off. This would also touch upon the Russian nature of the film. See Ep. 404.

1:08:11 – “Harpo’s coming! Honk honk honk!” Because the women are screaming. See Ep. 408.

1:08:33 – “Now Harpo’s after the guys!” See above.

40:06 – (In a Groucho voice) “This is her over here. Isn’t she beautiful? Take a look.” Not a Groucho line, but this kind of banter was typical.

54:03 – (In a Groucho voice) “What’s the secret word? Say the secret word and win a hundred dollars.” The teller looks like an elder Groucho. See Ep. 205.

1:03:08 – “Oh, it’s the three hard-boiled eggs she ordered.” Her door buzzer sounds similar to Harpo’s horn. See Ep. 303.

1:05:27 – “Zey stole ze Beaugard! – Ze Beaugard!” The crooks have a crate made for packing a framed painting. See Ep. 504.

52:15 – (In a Groucho voice) “Dressed as show girls.” The riff is in response to the line “… the experiments our technicians have been carrying out …”

45:40 – “It’ll be you, me and the moon. You wear a necktie so I’ll know you.” An adaptation of Groucho. See Ep. 112.

1:12:34 – “Either this boy’s dead or his heart has stopped.” An adaptation of Groucho. See Ep. 201.

Invention Exchange – As TV Frank’s head is being scanned at the end, he is “throwing a Gookie,” the way Harpo imitated the facial expression of a tobacconist from the brothers’ childhood neighborhood.

49:50 – (In a matronly voice) “Nobody asked for a prostitute …”  An adaptation of Margaret Dumont. See Ep. 404.

1:00:17 – (Singing) “Sweet Adeline”: the opening to Monkey Business where the Brothers are singing within barrels in which they stowed away on an ocean liner.

14:45 – (In a matronly voice) “Capt. Spaulding!” Servo mocks the woman’s tone of voice. See Ep. 203.

59:16 – (In a matronly voice) “Capt. Spaulding!” Crow mocks the doctor’s tone of voice. See Ep. 203.

46:18 – Crow sings the tune to “Hooray for Capt. Spaulding”  as the old lady walks across screen in a Groucho-like stoop. See Ep. 306.

1:05:10 – “Take it there!” See Ep. 308. This adaptation of Chico is debatable.

08:12 – “If those pants were any tighter they’d be behind her.” An adaptation of Groucho. See Ep. 201.

16:13 – (In a Groucho voice) “This isn’t kosher, I shouldn’t be eating this.” Crow speaks for the ducks, assuming they’re Jewish like Groucho. There’s a connection to Groucho’s game show You Bet Your Life; see Ep. 205.


Season 6

26:51 – “Mr. Peters, Mr. Hurley. Mr. Hurley, Mr. Peters.” See Ep. K14. An adaptation of Groucho.

31:26 – “I’m having a strange interlude.” See Ep. 502. A paraphrase of Groucho.

1:12:36 – “If those pants were any tighter they’d be behind her.” An adaptation of Groucho. See Ep. 201.

Segment 1 – One of Dr. Forrester’s moves in his victory dance mimics Groucho during “Hooray for Capt. Spaulding” in Animal Crackers (see video above). It is probably standard vaudeville fare, but Groucho’s performance is the earliest filmed version still widely available.

16:28 – (In a Groucho voice) “Why, what are all these gin bottles doing in here?” Crow’s voice is close enough to be considered an impersonation.

28:00 – “I’m weeyuhd.” See Ep. 211. An adaptation of Groucho.

57:02 – “Isn’t that Harpo on the right there?” The girl’s hair sort of looks like his wig.

58:43 – “Beat it, Harpo. (honk honk)” See above.

1:04:49 – (In a Groucho voice) “Say the secret word and get killed by a psycho.” See Ep. 205. An adaptation of Groucho. The riff is inspired by the ducks.

28:48 – “Hey, it’s Harpo!” Harpo wore a blond wig in most of his movies, because his red wig from their stage productions photographed too dark.

35:52 – “Baravelli?” A reference to Chico, whose character name in Horse Feathers was Baravelli. The unspecified Mediterranean guy approximates Chico’s Italian character.

48:11 – “I get my partner Rusty. Hey, Rusty! (Honk)” A reference to Chico, whose business partner in A Night in Casablanca was Harpo’s character, Rusty. The little swarthy guy still sounds sort of like Chico.

48:44 – “Would you take off the rubber nose and glasses please?” Mike invokes the classic Groucho glasses novelty item. The flunky resembles Groucho, right down to the cigar.

50:27 – “Oh, Professor Firefly!” See Ep. 203. Same error as in Ep. 205. Crow mocks the horse.

29:35 – “Oh, Capt. Spaulding!” See Ep. 203. A matron faints.

30:17 – “Mrs. Rittenhouse!” See Ep. 316. A matron smooches a guy.

1:09:47 – “He’s got all our spoons.” Although they’re not falling from the character’s sleeve, this is a reference to Harpo at the end of Animal Crackers. As the police inspector exhorts him to follow a virtuous life, stolen silverware endlessly clatters to the floor from Harpo’s coat sleeve.

34:46 – “Montreal.” A reference to the parlor scene in Animal Crackers. Chico is at the piano, and Groucho requests that song about Montreal, “I’m a Dreamer, Montreal.” He’s punning on the popular song at the time, “I’m a Dreamer, Aren’t We All?” from the early movie musical Sunny Side Up.

Close – As he is choked by Forrester, Frank is “throwing a Gookie.” See Ep. 511.

24:03 – (In a Groucho voice) “Other than the father at the moment of conception.” A possibly-not impersonation.

15:44 – “Ah, yes, the three Russian aviators.” See Ep. 404. There are three corpses present.

49:27 – (In a Groucho voice) “I’d like to apologize in advance for our wedding night.” This one is a pretty clear impersonation.

1:15:28 – “She’s been stucco’ed.” In the auction scene of The Coconuts, Groucho’s spiel includes the line, “You can even get stucco. Boy, can you get stucco.” That offers only a thin context for this riff, but still.


MST3K: The Movie

57:35 – “Glad to meetchya.” A Marx connection is debatable, but this exchange, built upon the movie line “Dr. Meacham,” reflects Chico in Go West: “Mr. Beech’a, we’re here to meetchya.”


Season 7

Segment 2 – As the song wraps up, the lyric is heard, “We’ll line you up against the wall and pop! goes the weasel.” This paraphrases Groucho’s signature song from Duck Soup, “Just Wait ’Til I Get Through With It.” The song explains the consequences of being on the wrong side of a decision: “We’ll line him up against the wall and pop! goes the weasel.”

49:17 – “Harpo!” At the climax of Horse Feathers, Harpo makes a series of touchdowns simply by catching footballs and setting them down beyond the goal line.

52:39 – “Is my Aunt Minnie in there?” In the state room scene of A Night at the Opera, as the room fills up, a random woman comes in and asks “Is my Aunt Minnie in here?” to which Groucho says, “If she isn’t in here, you can probably find someone just as good.” For trivia lovers, the Brothers’ mother, who famously guided their early career, was named Minnie.

56:05 – “Was he George S. Kaufman?” See Ep. 206. What’s behind this riff on the line “(Her last victim) lasted almost a week” isn’t clear, but might have been inspired by Kaufman’s prolific playwriting career that certainly must have included a few bombs.

31:10 – “You’ve met Lydia.” A reference to “Lydia the Tattooed Lady”, Groucho’s signature song from At The Circus. Coming off of the movie’s line “Oh, uh …” the riff reflects the song’s opening line, “Lydia, oh Lydia, oh have you met Lydia …”

1:22:21 – “Is there a bug on my shoulder?” The man has a gun pointing at his face. The possible Marxian connection is extremely thin, but in Animal Crackers Capt. Spaulding faints when a caterpillar is found on his lapel. The riff must have some basis, and that’s the best explanation I can come up with.


Season 8

1:00:30 – “Ah, can’t you see what I’m trying to tell you, Mrs. Claypool, I love you.” A paraphrase of Groucho from Duck Soup. Groucho said something like this to Margaret Dumont in every movie they appeared in together; the direct quote referenced here is “Can’t you see what I’m trying to tell you, I love you.” These sentiments always followed some sort of insult. Here Servo mixes in Dumont’s character name from A Night at the Opera.

Segment 2 – The spoons fall from Servo’s sleeve just as they did from Harpo’s sleeve at the end of Animal Crackers. But no coffee pot. See Ep. 617.

47:50 – “A strange interlude.” See Ep. 502. A truncated version of Groucho’s line.

1:08:18 – “That encyclo-pidia.” See Ep. 704. This is in response to the line “Yes, Lydia.” One line in “Lydia the Tattooed Lady” is “Lydia, oh Lydia, that encyclo-pidia …”

11:46 – “Fra-jee-lay.” This of course is a reference to A Christmas Story, brought about by the excelsior the statue is packed in. But the joke originated with Animal Crackers, when Groucho tells Zeppo to put a letter in a box and “Mark it fragilly. F-R-A-G... Look it up, Jamison, it's in the dictionary. Look under ‘fragile.’ ”

10:34 – (In a matronly voice) “Oh, Professor Firefly!” See Ep. 203. Same error as Ep. 205.

38:42 – “Weeyuhd figgahs.” See Ep. 211.

53:26 – “The only person who can save our country is Rufus T. Firefly.” A summation of Margaret Dumont’s general attitude in the opening scene of Duck Soup.

1:18:26 – “And never darken my towels again.” A paraphrase of Groucho’s parting shot to Louis Calhern after peace talks fail in Duck Soup: “Go, and never darken my towels again.”

08:33 – “Back into Harpo’s chest.” In Duck Soup, Harpo reveals a tattoo of a dog house on his chest. A dog emerges and barks at Groucho.

53:52 – Mike sings the tune to “Hooray for Capt. Spaulding”  as the monsters cross the screen in a Groucho-like stoop. See Ep. 306.

36:22 – “The Margaret Dumont Society expresses its appreciation.” The guys have already identified the crowd as the league of dowagers.

31:13 – “Ah, he’s above the stage. Now he’s going to fall right in right at the end of the opera.” A Marx connection might be debatable, but this is what happens to the brothers at the climax of A Night at the Opera.

32:24 – “Initiate Harpo hair.” The woman onscreen has curly hair.


Season 9

1:07:02 – “Inspect her yourself.” See Ep. 323. This is the exact exchange.

56:57 – “Can’t you see I’m trying to tell you I love you.” See Ep. 801.

38:11 – “Make that three hardboiled eggs.” Because the hobgoblin is using a bulb horn like Harpo. See Ep. 303.

39:38 – “Can’t you see I’m trying to tell you I love you.” See Ep. 801.

20:42 – “This script was punched up by Harpo Marx.” After a long period of no dialog.

1:24:12 – “It’s Harpo!” The guy on screen looks somewhat similar to Harpo.


Season 10

40:05 – “Can’t you see I’m trying to tell you I love you.” See Ep. 801.

1:26:39 – “Capt. Spaulding, Captain Kangaroo, Cap'n Crunch.” This is in response to the line, “Let four captains bear Hamlet like a soldier to the stage.” Capt. Spaulding was Groucho’s character in Animal Crackers.

20:10 – (In a matronly voice) “Oh, Professor Firefly!” See Ep. 203. Same error as Ep. 205. Servo mocks the woman’s tone of voice.


Season 11

40:18 – “Hey! I found a comedy schnozz with a mustache over here! Think there’s a connection?” See Ep. 504. There was a pair of glasses in the shot before.

33:35 – “Have you seen Zeppo?” This is in response to Philoctetes calling out to Licos (pronounced Lee-co).

1:04:10 – “With Margaret Dumont as the Black Knight.” An imposing figure in long robes is striding regally across screen.

27:12 – “Black Harpo. Wow.” and a moment later, “Black Harpo is everywhere. Honk honk.” One of the humanoid races held captive is black guys wearing curly wigs.

1:17:29 – “Oh, yeah, this is like that scene with the Marx Brothers where they’re acting like they’re the same reflection in a mirror. Duck Soup, right?” A couple of characters are sliding along the floor in sync; there is one moment in the mirror scene where Groucho and Harpo are both on the floor.


Season 12

17:12 – (In a Groucho voice) “I still haven’t seen it for the first time!” This is in answer to the line, “I’ve never seen something like this before.”

Segment 4 – “Groucho, Harpo, Chico, Zeppo …” See Ep. 501.



to be continued ...
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