The Marx Brothers were of German Jewish orgin and thus grew up steeped in German culture and language. One of Groucho’s true delights in life (and I don’t think there were many of them) was performing a German novelty song called ‘Schnitzel Bank’ and above we see him do so with relish. (Schnitzel…relish…get it?). The form of the song resembles ‘The Twelve Days of Christmas’, where each course adds on a subject/object which then grows into a list recited in reverse before beginning the next chorus. (If that’s your idea of a good time). Groucho apparently performed this number in Vaudeville–as he tells it, it was necessary to adapt the ethnicity of the jokes while traveling from city to city based on the predominant ethnicity of the neighborhood they were in. One of the most charming things about the above is that we see a Groucho we don’t usually get a glimpse of; an aging man reliving a joyous memory of his youth sans sarcasm. He’s not in character, in other words. He’s Julius Marx, from Yorkville, happily lost for a moment in time.


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