Harpo Marx, one of the three funniest Marx Brothers, was born on this date in 1888.
The Marx Brothers' family had show biz connections and their mother Minnie had the necessary iron will to serve as their manager during the turn of the century musical variety years. The brothers were all fine musicians and it was in this capacity that they first took the stage. Harpo, master of many instruments, was the most talented at music. It was the comic ad libs the brothers threw around onstage and their responses to hecklers that made them major stars though. Harpo's elaborate pantomimes gave the routines a sublime dimension and as we all know they went on, in middle age, to become movie stars as well.
Here is a scene from THE BIG STORE (1941), not their best work, but like all Marx Brothers films, a showcase for some peerless routines. Here brothers Chico and Harpo execute a piano duet that contains humor, agility, brotherly love and, of course, anarchy.