Talk:Groucho Marx

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This is the talk page for discussing improvements to the Groucho Marx page.


A lot of the wonderful Groucho Marx quotes are lines he spoke in movies written by people like S. J. Perlman. I don't know whether or not they are quotes written by Perlman or improvised by Groucho, but Wikipedia should be sensitive to the issue.

—The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 19:54, 27 December 2004

There's George S. Kaufman to consider as well as Perelman. Groucho was funny but sometimes the lines are written by his scriptwriters...

—The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 17:33, 21 January 2006
I agree: where Groucho is not credited as writer the film lines do not belong on this page. To solve the problem, they could be moved to a new Marx Brothers article about the films. ~ Ningauble 13:49, 18 December 2008 (UTC)[reply]

Of course you know this means war[edit]

The quote, "Of course you know this means war" is not from "Duck Soup." It is from "A Night At the Opera."

Groucho says it several times in several films. He says it in 'A Day at the Races' too. 22:55, 11 May 2007 (UTC)[reply]

"Wives and Girlfriends"[edit]

While Groucho may have said it, it didn't originate with's actually a variation on an old Royal Navy toast: "To our wives and lovers -- may they never meet!" 15:06, 1 November 2006 (UTC)[reply]

True, I think it's even somewhere in Wikiquote (english proverbs?)


. (dictating a letter to his lawyers): "Gentlemen... Question mark" - In "Animal Crackers" ––Harol2 08:25, 6 August 2006 (UTC)[reply]


Marx's opposition to canned laughter[edit]

Comedian Jim Norton said that Marx once stated that canned laughter was killed comedy because "You [the makers of the sitcom] didn't have to work to be funny; you were always guaranteed a laugh." Does anyone have a source for this? 21:30, 3 June 2007 (UTC)[reply]

restricted country club[edit]

"When told that a swimming pool was off-limits to Jews"…

I had always heard that the story related to his half-Jewish granddaughter at a restricted (anti-Jewish) country club, and that what Marx actually said something to the effect it'd be okay if she went in up to her waist, implying that only asses used the pool.

And I thought she only went halfway in because she was half-Jewish.

--UnicornTapestry 21:56, 18 August 2007 (UTC)[reply]

Haaretz gives another version: [1]


I always believed Groucho Marx once said "Sincerity is everything, once you can fake sincerity the world is your oyster" or something to that effect. Am I misattributing this? (mikeavison)

Possibly. Other sources attribute it to Jean Giraudoux, a French diplomat.HughGRex (talk) 09:19, 2 June 2013 (UTC)[reply]
Also George Burns [2]

Quit before Retiring[edit]

In 'Animal Crackers', during the conversation with the Fish Peddler (starting at 29:15), more specifically at (30:08 to 30:55) there is the following dialog:

Groucho: ...and I'm Geoffery T. Spalding, I bet you don't know what the "T" stands for!

Roscoe W. Chandler: Uhh..."Thomas"?

Groucho: (Shakes his head) Edgar! You were close though, you were close though and you still are I bet. Now this is what I wanted to talk to you about Mr. Chandler: how would you like to finance a scientific expedition?

Chandler: Well, that is a question.

Groucho: Yes that is a question. You certainly know a question when you see it. (shakes Chandler's hand) I congratulate you. And that brings us right back to where we were. How would you like to finance a scientific expedition?

Chandler: Well, is there any particular kind of expedition you had in mind?

Groucho: Well, I'm telling you I'm getting along in years now, and there's one thing I always wanted to do before I quit.

Chandler: What is that?

Groucho: Retire! Now would you be interested in a proposition of that kind? You know I've always had an idea that my retirement would be the greatest contribution to science that the world has ever known.


Marx Brothers, 1948

Wikiquote no longer allows unsourced quotations, and they are in process of being removed from our pages (see Wikiquote:Limits on quotations); but if you can provide a reliable and precise source for any quote on this list please move it to Groucho Marx. ~ Ningauble 14:09, 22 April 2009 (UTC)[reply]

  • A black cat crossing your path signifies that the animal is going somewhere.
  • A man's only as old as the woman he feels.
  • A moose is an animal with horns on the front of his head and a hunting lodge wall on the back of it.
  • Age is not a particularly interesting subject. Anyone can get old. All you have to do is live long enough.
  • An apprentice mortician? What, do you only bury live people?
    • You Bet Your Life (television show; undated)
  • Because we were a kid act, we traveled at half-fare, despite the fact that we were all around twenty. Minnie insisted we were thirteen. "That kid of yours is in the dining car smoking a cigar," the conductor told her. "And another one is in the washroom shaving." Minnie shook her head sadly. "They grow so fast."
  • Before I speak, I have something important to say.
  • Blood's not thicker than money.
  • Do infants have as much fun in infancy as adults do in adultery?
  • Eventually I smoked Havanas. A cigar makers' organization once said that I was the most famous cigar smoker in the world. I don't know if that's true, but once while visiting Havana, I went to a cigar factory. There were four hundred people there rolling cigars, and when they saw me, they all stood up and applauded.
  • Ever since they found out that Lassie was a boy, the public has believed the worst about Hollywood.
  • Home is where you hang your head.
  • How do you make your living? If you call that living...
  • I cannot say that I do not disagree with you.
  • I chased a girl for two years only to discover that her tastes were exactly like mine: We were both crazy about girls.
  • I didn't like the play, but then I saw it under adverse conditions — the curtain was up.
  • I drink to make other people interesting.
  • I feel [I feel] like an old jerk.
    • On how it felt to be an elder statesman of comedy, c. late 1960s
  • I find television very educational. The minute somebody turns it on, I go to the library and read a good book.
  • I have nothing but respect for you, and not much of that.
  • I intend to live forever, or die trying.
  —There’s a similar line in Catch-22: “He had decided to live forever or die in the attempt …”
  • I made a killing on Wall Steet a few years ago...I shot my broker.
  • I started smoking as soon as I went on the stage. I'd make cigars out of the Morning World when I was a kid.
  • I wish to be cremated. One tenth of my ashes shall be given to my agent, as written in our contract.
  • I'm not a vegetarian, but I eat animals who are.
  • I'm not feeling very well, I need a doctor immediately. Ring the nearest golf course.
  • If women dressed for men, the stores wouldn't sell much -- just an occasional sun visor.
  • If you fall out of that window and break both your legs, don't come running to me.
  • If you want to see a comic strip, you should see me in the shower.
  • If you've heard this story before, don't stop me, because I'd like to hear it again.
  • In America you can go on the air and kid the politicians, and the politicians can go on the air and kid the people.
    • Will Rogers made a similar comment: "My little jokes never hurt anyone, but when Congress makes a joke, it's a law.
  • It isn't necessary to have relatives in Kansas City in order to be unhappy.
  • It looks as if Hollywood brides keep the bouquets and throw away the grooms.
  • Marriage is a wonderful institution ... but who wants to live in an institution?
    • This has also been attributed to Mae West
  • Marriage is the chief cause of divorce.
  • Military justice is to justice what military music is to music.
  • My favourite poem is the one that starts "Thirty days hath September" because it actually tells you something.
  • My mother treated us all equally ... with contempt.
  • My son is half-Jewish. Can he wade in up to his knees?
    • When told that a swimming pool was off-limits to Jews
    • Variation: "Well, my daughter's only half-Jewish. Could she go up to the middle?"
  • Now, there's a man with an open mind. You can feel the breeze from here.
  • Paying alimony is like feeding hay to a dead horse.
  • Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly, and applying the wrong remedies.
  • Q: What do you get when you cross an insomniac, an agnostic, and a dyslexic?
    A: Someone who stays up all night wondering if there is a Dog.
  • Room service? Send up a larger room.
  • She got her looks from her father. He's a plastic surgeon.
  • A hospital bed is a parked taxi with the meter running.
  • That kid's so smart, he could be the fifth Marx Brother.
  • The husband who wants a happy marriage should learn to keep his mouth shut and his checkbook open.
  • The only game I like to play is Old Maid — provided she's not too old.
  • The secret of success is honesty and fair dealing. If you can fake those, you've got it made.
  • There is only one way to find out if a man is honest...ask him. If he says 'yes', you know he is crooked.
  • Those are my principles. If you don't like them I have others.

"You don't like those ideas? I got others!" - Marshall McLuhan full lecture The Medium is the Message 1977 part 1 v3 around 14:23 into ABC TV, Monday Conference:

  • Time wounds all heels.
  • We should pull out. Which is what Nixon’s father should have done.
  • When I heard about Hair, I was kind of curious about the six naked primates on stage. So I called up the box office and they said tickets were $11 apiece. That's an awful price to pay. I went into the bathroom at home and took off all my clothes and looked in the mirror for five minutes. And I said, "This isn't worth $11."
  • Whoever named it necking was a poor judge of anatomy.
  • Why should I care about posterity? What's posterity ever done for me?
  • Yesterday is dead, tomorrow hasn't arrived yet. I have just one day, and I'm going to be happy in it.

Groucho didn't say this. It's a paraphrase of what was stated by a guest on his show You Bet Your Life - 1951 March 28 -

  • A man's only as old as the woman he feels.
  • A woman is an occasional pleasure but a cigar is always a smoke.
  • Anyone who says he can see through women is missing a lot.
  • Behind every successful man is a woman, behind her is his wife.
  • From the moment I picked your book up until I laid it down, I convulsed with laughter. Someday I intend on reading it.
  • Go, and never darken my towels again.
  • I don't care to belong to a club that accepts people like me as members.
  • I find television very educational. Every time someone switches it on I go into another room and read a good book.
  • I remember the first time I had sex - I kept the receipt.
  • I resemble that remark.
  • I thought my razor was dull, then I heard his speech.
  • I was married by a judge. I should have asked for a jury.
  • I've had a perfectly wonderful evening, but this wasn't it.
  • If you write about yourself, the slightest deviation makes you realize instantly that there may be honor among thieves, but you are just a dirty liar.
  • In Hollywood, brides keep the bouquets and throw away the groom.
  • Military intelligence is a contradiction in terms.
  • My mother loved children, she would have given anything if I had been one.
  • Only one man in a thousand is a leader of men -- the other 999 follow women.
  • Outside of a dog, a book is Man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read.
  • Pardon me while I have a strange interlude...
  • Quote me as saying I was mis-quoted.
  • There is one way to find out if a man is honest; ask him! If he says yes you know he's crooked.
  • Time flies like an arrow; fruit flies like a banana.
  • Whoever named it necking was a poor judge of anatomy.
  • You get a canoe later and I'll paddle you.
  • In the middle of a cricket match: "So when does the game begin?"

Groucho has his own, highly individual interpretations of common supersitions. Some of his remarks include:

  • When a person's nose itches, it is a sign that it should be scratched.
  • A black cat crossing your path signifies that the animal is going somewhere.
  • Thirteen at a table is unlucky when the hostess has only twelve chops.
  • Shaking hands across the table means that two parties are lazy.
  • Singing before breakfast is a forewarning of a fight with a neighbour- if the neighbour is trying to sleep late.
  • Throwing salt over the shoulder is likely to give the impression that the man who throws the salt has dandruff.
  • Recognising the number 13 is a sign that you have been to school.
  • Finding a four leaf clover is a sign that you have been down on your hands and knees.
  • To get out of bed on the wrong side probably means that you had had too much the night before.
  • To carry a rabbit's foot is a sign that you are a good shot- or have a friend that is.
  • When three men get a light off one match it is indicative of the fact that they have only one match or are Scotsmen.

There's a (video) documentary on Groucho which has him actually saying some of the quotes above, and there's others I'm almost certain I've seen footage of him saying (later in life in interviews on various shows). It might be worth searching Groucho material on youtube to find evidence of some of these quotes - if nothing else it might provide a pointer to where a more "reliable" source can be found.

Last Words contradiction[edit]

Apparently, the last words of Henry John Temple (Lord Palmerston) were supposedly about dieing being the last thing he will do, but on the Wikipedia page linked from the article, his last words were about Article 98. A little bit of a contradiction, I think.

-- Wikipedia's EbedYahweh, 17:39, 11 June 2012 (UTC)[reply]

bonds "if you have enough of them"[edit]

I often read a quote attributed to Groucho in which an NYSE trader asks him where he invests. "I keep my money in bonds" or "treasuries." Trader: "You can't make a living that way." OR "You'll never be rich from those." Marx: "You will if you have enough of them."

Any sources for that? Tharsaile (talk) 15:36, 14 February 2018 (UTC)[reply]