- Animal Crackers
- George S. Kaufman and Morrie Ryskind's* absurdly silly farcical play, with songs by Bert Kalmar and Harry Ruby, and starring the Marx Brothers, opened on 23 October 1928 for 191 performances. Animal Crackers marked the last Broadway appearance of the Marxes, Groucho (1890-1977), Harpo (18881964), Chico (1886-1961), and Zeppo (1901-1979), before they departed for Hollywood fame. Their second motion picture was a screen version of Animal Crackers in 1930. As they had done in The Cocoanuts (1925), their previous collaboration with Kaufman, to his chagrin, the Marxes improvised wildly. The slight plot of Animal Crackers, in which Groucho, as African explorer Captain Spalding, arrives for a Long Island house party, provided ample opportunity for improvisation and insertion of songs. The wacky Spalding, with his secretary (Zeppo), encounters high society denizens as well as two anarchic musicians (Harpo and Chico). A particular highlight was Groucho's parody of the famous "internal monologues" spoken out loud that had been introduced earlier that year by Eugene O'Neill in his Pulitzer PRiZE-winning drama Strange Interlude (1928).
The Historical Dictionary of the American Theater. James Fisher.