In the early Seventies, the Marx Brothers films and their anarchistic collisions with authority in high society, grand shipboard cruises, the halls of government and the groves of academia were very popular on American late-night and sometimes prime-time television. The main surviving Marx Brother, Groucho, was a celebrity above celebrities and could be seen from time to time on talk-shows, expounding his own wit and talking about the great scenes in his films.
The brothers honed their talent on the vaudeville stages of America and Canada.
Oddly enough, when the brothers first played in England, their act, a tried and true spoof of a school room, did not go over well and the audience threw pennies at them! Something didn't translate in the sketch. Later, of course, their stock went up "over there" when the movies came out. .
Otherwise their career was quite successful. W.C. Fields, a comic juggler and no median wit himself, actually refused to go on stage one week in Ohio when he was booked in a vaudeville show with the Brother Marx as the opening act. They literally wore their audiences out with their mayhem. "The only act I could never follow!", the great Fields later said.
The first two of their sound films, including this one, were originally stage plays and were shot in an early sound stage for Paramount studios near New York City.
The Marxes, particularly Groucho, ad-libbed so much on stage it drove the writers of the shows around the bend! "Hold on!" the prolific scribe George S. Kaufman said from the wings at a Broadway performance of "The Coconuts" , "I think I heard a line I actually wrote!"
Buoyed by the efforts such great comic writers as Kaufman--who wrote "The Man who Came to Dinner" and many other comic and dramatic hits--as well as the equally famous S.J. Perlman, Harry Ruby and Mort Ryskind, the brothers took to Hollywood where original screenplays were put together at Paramount and later MGM studios to suit their blend of physical and wise-cracking comedy.
Here is one of Groucho's best bits--as the famed but likely fake African great white hunter Captain Spalding in "Animal Crackers". Enjoy.
The Tuscaloosa is a river in the state of Alabama just so you know.