Archive for Lydia

Marx Goodies

Posted in Marx, Marx Brothers, Re-Marx, Sites of Interest with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 15, 2010 by Andrew T. Smith

In the build-up to the release of my book, Marx and Re-Marx, I set up a Facebook page that was intermittently updated with links to cool Marxian offerings. It seems a shame to confine them to one virtual location, so here they are!


Director Allan Arkush offers his opinion of  A Night at the Opera on Trailers From Hell – CLICK HERE


Harpo Marx in his first film role and ironically, given that this was a silent movie, his only speaking part.


Groucho sings Lydia. Perfection.


American news cameras were present when the BBC recorded their first Flyhweel recreation.


Bill Marx, son of Harpo, recently launched his own website which features some very cool historical curios – CLICK HERE


A Night at the Opera’s famous contract scene, the roots of which can be traced back to Flyhweel, Shyster and Flywheel.


Gummo Marx’s Patented Packing Rack – CLICK HERE

Coming Soon: My First Book!

Posted in Marx Brothers, Ramblings, Re-Marx, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 5, 2008 by Andrew T. Smith

I have been gagging to announce this publicly for a great deal of time now and at long last I can finally come clean about what I have been scribbling a way at over the past year; my first book! Bear Manor Media in the USA have kindly agreed to publish the book that nobody asked for, a complete history of the Marx Brothers’ Flywheel, Shyster and Flywheel! Read on for the a better explanation of what is to come.


Marx and Re-Marx

Creating and Recreating the Lost Marx Brothers Radio Show

Flywheel Radio Guide Magazine Cover


In 1932 the legendary Marx Brothers began work on one of their most hilarious and enduring feature films, Duck Soup. At the same time they also began work on their first ever radio series, a half hour sitcom that featured the adventures and mishaps that befell the underhanded lawyer Waldorf T. Flywheel (Groucho) and his hapless assistant Emmanelle Ravelli (Chico). This series, eventually entitled Flywheel, Shyster and Flywheel  was written by Marx collaborators and comic geniuses Nat Perrin and Arthur Sheekman, was popular with audiences but in 1933 was cancelled and promptly forgotten. The scripts were shelved, the recordings discarded and the Marxes went back to work on Duck Soup.

However Flywheel, Shyster and Flywheel refused to remain buried and tantalizing glimpses of the routines from the series went on to be reused in classic films like Duck Soup, A Night at the Opera and The Big Store. 

In 1986 Micheal Barson, a researcher and Marx fan who had unearthed all but one of the original radio scripts, published them in book form and people took notice. In 1989 BBC Radio 4 aired the first of what was to become an eighteen episode remake of the series. Painstakingly adapted and augmented and with a lovingly recreated cast and ambience Flywheel, Shyster and Flywheel once again proved a success becoming popular with listeners and picking up the Golden Award at the New York Radio Festival.

You can’t keep a good joke down.

For the first time in detail Re-Marx takes a look at the history of this enduring series, its genesis, its death and its resurrection.



  • Previously unpublished letters from the desk of Flywheel creator Nat Perrin.


  • Full Episode Guides for both incarnations of the Flywheel and a guide to related productions.


  • Contributions from the cast and crew of the BBC remake of Flywheel; Mark Brisenden (Weekending, Spitting Image), David Firman (Dinner Ladies, Norbert Smith: A Life) (Graham Hoadly (The Adventures of Sexton Blake, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang: The Stageshow), Dirk Maggs (Superman: Doomsday and Beyond,Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency), and Frank Lazarus (Pennies From Heaven, Our Friends in the North). 


  • Transcripts of the remaining recordings of the original series.


Due Spring 2009


Spring 2009 is the best approximate publication date I have so far and while there is still a damn good chance I could mess things up I am very excited about being able to keep you up to date with the latest developments on this very blog. Also bear in mind is that the book, unlike the above announcement, will be fully proof read!

I said Lydia, La La

Posted in Marx Brothers, Sites of Interest with tags , , , , , , on June 30, 2008 by Andrew T. Smith

A link has been posted in the comments section of my first post that I just have to flag up here in a post of its own. Dave Corey disects all the cultural references in the great, great Harold Arlen and Yip Harburg song Lydia the Tattooed Lady. For years I have listened to the song without questioning who Nijinsky was and now I know! Well worth checking out.