This morning, I had the Tivo machine grab a showing of the 1933 Marx Brothers movie Duck Soup.
I'm indulging in a little Marxian madness this evening; I haven't time to watch the whole thing just now, but a few moments of Groucho, Harpo, and Chico are refreshing after a full week.
I find myself thinking back to the early 1970s, when I was a kid. A friend up the street invited me to the church his family attended one evening for a showing of Duck Soup. I had no idea what the movie was, but at that age, no longer a child but not yet a teen, any opportunity to get out with friends is worth taking.
Now, decades later, as the movie begins with its ornate 1930's crowd scene, musical number, and fancy costumes, I wonder what my initial reaction was. What was I thinking as he movie started? How did I react at the first entrance the wise-ass Groucho and the clowny Chico and Harpo?
I can say that that experience -- watching this insanity on a screen set up in River Road Unitarian Church -- changed my life. I became, and have stayed, a Marx Brothers fan.
It helped lead me to vintage movies, to vaudeville, to absurdist theater, to wider reading, and to an acceptance of silliness in all its wonderful forms.
I'd hate to think what my life would have been without it.