All that you have is your soul (Tracy Chapman).

Tuesday, 12 April 2005

My Hero

Looking at the animation at the top of this page, you might be wondering why Harpo Marx is playing his harp (albeit silently). Well, here's the reason...

I have always been a huge fan of the Marx Brothers. I love their intelligent, quick humour, chutzpah and general shtick. For many people, Groucho is the genius who soars above his brothers, but to me, there's only one contender for the King of Comedy - Harpo.

I started watching the movies on TV when I was a teenager, as they were shown over the Xmas Holidays. I lapped them up, found myself sometimes in fits of laughter and always amazed at how little the films have dated. In fact, they remain as fresh today as I believe they must have been when they were originally released.

There are very few things I wish I could have been present at before I was born. One of them is a Marx Bros concert, which I have heard to be legendary. The brothers insulted the crowds, twinkled their eyes and by all accounts had everyone virtually wetting themselves.

Harpo though is special. Soon after we met, Dana lent me her grandmother's copy of his autobiography, Harpo Speaks!
It is without a doubt, one of the most memorable books I've ever had the fortune to read. Harpo writes beautifully, narrates extraordinary (and at times very funny) stories and comes out as a really wonderful human being.

I wish I could possess Harpo's attitude to life. He laughs at everyone and everything but knows when it's time to be serious. His comments about Anti-Semitism and the Second World War demonstrate his love and devotion to his brethren and the fact that, in his Will, he bequeathed his beloved harp to the State of Israel speaks volumes about the makeup of the man. If you want to know the real Harpo, look at his expression whenever he plays his harp. As they say, the camera never lies.

Beneath the tomfoolery, there was an extraordinary person who left this world too quickly.

I never knew Harpo, but I miss him, if that makes any sense. I pray that when it's my time to hit the long journey upwards, I am privileged to meet this man - one of my all time heroes.

It is with pride that he sits at the top of this site and hopefully adds a little smile to your face as you think about his movie antics.

Here's to Harpo!

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