View Full Version : Best Groucho Marx Quote

08-30-2001, 09:09 PM
Well, any quote could probably be considered the best since there were so many and they were all good but one that is in my mind at the moment is when Groucho is trying to persuade his would-be lover to rendezvous with him:

GROUCHO: "Meet me in the garden tonight. It'll just be you and the moon. The moon and you. You wear a scarf so I'll know ya"

08-30-2001, 10:32 PM
"I never forget a face but in your case I'll make an exception."

08-30-2001, 10:38 PM
"Everything about you reminds me of you except you. How do you explain that? (aside: If she gets this one, she's good!)"

08-30-2001, 11:52 PM
"Ah yes, I can see you slaving over a hot stove...I just can't see the stove."


08-31-2001, 12:23 AM
[To woman with lots of children (10?)]

GROUCHO: My goodness, ma'am, ten children?

WOMAN: I love my husband, Groucho!

GROUCHO: Well, I love my cigar, but I take it out on occasion....

08-31-2001, 05:27 AM
My favorite Groucho non-sequitors...

"From the moment I picked your book up until I laid it down I was convulsed with laughter. Someday I intend reading it."
- On S J Perelman’s 1929 book Dawn Ginsbergh’s Revenge

"East is east and west is west and if you take cranberries and stew them like applesauce they taste much more like prunes than rhubarb does."
- From Animal Crackers

"Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read."
- source ???

08-31-2001, 05:51 AM
(while romancing that matronly woman in all his movies)
"Ever since I met you, I've been sweeping you off my feet."

"Leave! And never darken my towels again!"

Now where did I put my copy of "The Groucho Letters"..?

08-31-2001, 05:56 AM
(Note: The following is paraphrased because I don't want to run upstairs, find the book, and come back down)...

Chico: "If you want me to not come back, I got to have more money."
Groucho: "It's worth it."

08-31-2001, 07:29 AM
AMBASSADOR TRENTINO: I'm a man of few words....

RUFUS T. FIREFLY: I'm a man of one word -- SCRAM!

And of course, there's always my sig line....

Ukulele Ike
08-31-2001, 07:41 AM
You guys DO realize that most of these are "Best George Kaufman/Morrie Ryskind Quotes," "Best Kalmar/Ruby Quotes," or "Best S.J. Perelman Quotes" ?

-- Uke, on behalf of writers everywhere

PS: It's "You wear a NECKTIE so I'll know you." See, the joke is, Margaret Dumont is a lady, and doesn't wear neckties. And it's "I can see you now, BENDING over a hot stove...but I can't see the stove." See, the joke is, Margaret Dumont has a large rear end.

Ukulele Ike
08-31-2001, 07:46 AM
Oh yeah...one of my favorite scenes is about halfway through A NIGHT AT THE OPERA.

Harpo and Chico are eluding Inspector Henderson by dashing from room to room in Groucho's hotel suite. And, JUST FOR THE SHEER HELL OF IT, they move the all the FURNITURE from room to room as they keep one step ahead of the cop.


OTIS B. DRIFTWOOD: Which question did you want me to answer first, Henderson?

Ukulele Ike
08-31-2001, 07:48 AM
Also the great throwaway line from DUCK SOUP, just before the famous Mirror Scene:

RUFUS T. FIREFLY (locked in the bathroom by Harpo and Chico): Hey! Let me out of here! Let me out! Let me out, or throw me a magazine.

Ukulele Ike
08-31-2001, 07:53 AM
Same scene, a little earlier. C and H are burglarizing Mrs' Teasdale's house. H maintains stealth by tuning the radio in to a loud Sousa march. G and MD listen from an upstairs bedroom, clad in their nightclothes...

MRS. TEASDALE: Listen! What is THAT?

RUFUS T. FIREFLY: Sounds to me like mice.

MRS. TEASDALE: Mice? Mice don't play music!

RUFUS T. FIREFLY: No? What about the old maestro?

(Oh, Christ. Somebody stop me.)

Chez Guevara
08-31-2001, 10:45 AM
Originally posted by dwtno
My favorite Groucho non-sequitors...

"From the moment I picked your book up until I laid it down I was convulsed with laughter. Someday I intend reading it."
- On S J Perelman’s 1929 book Dawn Ginsbergh’s Revenge

Not Groucho reviewing but it could have been:

'The covers of this book are too far apart'.

Chance the Gardener
08-31-2001, 11:13 AM
Chico and Harpo are impersonating famous aviators who are asked to give address a large crowd. The microphone is in front of Chico, who doesn't want to blow his cover. Chico turns to Groucho for advice.

Chico: I don't know what to say to 'em.

Groucho: Tell them you're not here.

Chico: What if they don't believe me?

Groucho: Oh, they'll believe you once you start talking.

08-31-2001, 12:32 PM
Either this man’s dead or my watch is broken.

Room service? Send up a larger room.

Those are my principles. If you don't like them I have others.

He may look like an idiot and talk like an idiot but don't let that fool you. He really is an idiot.

08-31-2001, 12:50 PM
Was it Groucho who said "I would not want to belong to a club that would have me as a member." ???

08-31-2001, 01:08 PM
Originally posted by Ukulele Ike
You guys DO realize that most of these are "Best George Kaufman/Morrie Ryskind Quotes," "Best Kalmar/Ruby Quotes," or "Best S.J. Perelman Quotes" ?
Okay, here's an AFAIK genuine Groucho quote, from his collection of personal letters, paraphrased from memory:

"I find television is great for reading. Every time the TV comes on, I leave the room and read a book."

08-31-2001, 02:23 PM
Dick Cavett claims that Groucho once phoned him to ask, "Has it ever occurred to you that Peter O'Toole has a doubly phallic name?"

08-31-2001, 02:27 PM
From his Playboy Interview:

I once visited the offices of the New York Times and was told that they already had a "dummy" obituary written up for me. I asked to see it, read it, and it was so badly written that I volunteered to punch it up for them. They turned me down.

08-31-2001, 03:59 PM
I had a calender that attributed this to him:

"I refuse to join any club that would have me as a member."

Sir Rhosis
08-31-2001, 07:08 PM
Supposedly, when Nabakov's "Lolita" was released, Groucho said he planned to wait six years to read it so that Lolita would be 18.

Sir Rhosis

08-31-2001, 09:38 PM
I'm not sure about the 'any club that will have me as a member' quote, but on the same subject he said: "My son's only half Jewish; can he go into the water half-way?" (A country club wouldn't admit him as a member because he was Jewish.)

For the people who say you should credit the people who wrote the lines, I would point out that Groucho knew how to deliver the lines like nobody's business. Yeah, I agree that you should credit the people who wrote the lines (I believe that most to the lines in the Marx Brother's movies were written by others), but Groucho (and Chico and Harpo) could deliver the lines very well (OK, so Harpo didn't have any lines, but he was a great silent comedian).

08-31-2001, 09:50 PM
Come and lodge with my fleas in the hills!
I mean, flee with me to my lodge in the hills!

09-01-2001, 12:02 AM
"Military intelligence is a contradiction in terms."

Ukulele Ike
09-01-2001, 09:27 AM
I think THAT was George Carlin. As part of his "jumbo shrimp" routine.

09-01-2001, 09:30 AM
sjc, not to be a pedantic little priss (I know, too late!), but the half-Jewish story goes thusly:

Once the Marxes hit it big on Broadway, they were the toast of society. Groucho moved out to Great Neck and was allowed to join an exclusive country club, even though he was Jewish. Even though they gave him a token membership, though, they requested that, since he was Jewish, he not swim in the pool.

Groucho then asked, "Since my daughter's only half-Jewish, can she go in up to her knees?"

This used to be my sig line, since my daughter is also half-Jewish, and I always remind her whenever she's going to go swimming that she can only go in up to her knees.

Oh, BTW, Groucho tendered his resignation shortly afterward.


And since our illustrious moderator picked on all the quotes not actually originating from Groucho, here's another that fits his narrow and prissy parameters:

Some Hollywood tabloid rag ran on or two scandal stories about Groucho, prompting this letter:

"Gentlemen: If you continue to print slanderous material about me, I shall feel compelled to cancel my subscription."

Surreal, absurd and very funny.

09-01-2001, 09:30 AM
I've a good mind to join a club and beat him over the head with it.

09-01-2001, 01:02 PM
From Groucho and Me, Groucho's autobiography:

"This was a poverty-stricken revue, and we cheated all along the line. Boy, did we cut corners! We cut enough corners to build a whole new street."

"There are people who do nothing all their lives but fight progress or change. I'm sure it was their ancestors who hooted at the first self-starter, and laughed loudly at the Wright brothers and their foolish attempts to get that contraption off the ground."

"With that, I strode back to my room and started reading Kafka's Life of Camus(or maybe it was the other way around... by this time it didn't make much difference)."

"A bright girl bent on matrimony is usually cagey enough to hide her old lady until she has had time to gouge a Buick and an engagement ring out of her intended victim."

09-02-2001, 12:34 AM
I have had a perfectly wonderful evening, but this wasn't it.

Crunchy Frog
09-02-2001, 12:48 AM
Not his best line, but one that always cracks me up is from a scene in The Big Store. A woman walks onto the screen modeling a dress, Groucho says to the camera, "This is a red dress, but Technicolor is soooo expensive."

09-02-2001, 11:56 AM
"Who are you going to believe, me or your own eyes?"

"This could be understood by a child of five. Go and fetch me one!"

"A man is only as old as the woman he feels."

09-02-2001, 02:23 PM
One left out:

Blonde: "I've never been so insulted in all my life."
Groucho: "Ah, it's early yet."

As far as Perelmen, Kaufman, et. al. and their authorship of Groucho's lines, remember what Kaufman said at a performance of "The Cocoanuts." He was standing backstage when someone said something to him. He turned and said, "I'm sorry. I didn't hear you. I though I had heard one of the original lines."

09-02-2001, 05:46 PM
The Cocoanuts:
(Chico and Harpo are checking in.)
CHICO: We wanna double up!
GROUCHO: Well, eat some green apples.
Animal Crackers:
(Chico and Groucho are discussing how to find Mr. Chandler's stolen painting...)
CHICO: At'sa my solution.
GROUCHO. Yeah, and I wish you were in it. You oughta lie down for a couple of years.
Monkey Business:
(Groucho is caught in the Briggs' stateroom by Alky Briggs, a murderous mobster.)
GROUCHO: I'm not in the habit of making threats, Sir, but there'll be a letter about this in the Times tomorrow morning!
BRIGGS: Yea, but you won't read it, because I'm gonna lay you out pretty!
GROUCHO: Oh, you're gonna lay me out pretty, eh? That's the thanks I get for freeing an innocent woman who, although she is hiding in the closet, has promised to become the mother of her children.
Horse Feathers:
(Groucho and Thelma Todd are in a boat on a lake. Groucho has his team's football signals and Thelma tries to get them.)
THELMA (cutesy baby talk): If icky baby don't learn all about the footbawl signlas, icky baby gonna cwy!
GROUCHO (even more so): If icky baby keep talking that way, big stwong man gonna kick all her teef down her fwoat!
Duck Soup:
(Groucho's country is at war. A general brings him a message.)
GENERAL: Here's a message from the front, Sir!
GROUCHO: Oh, I'm sick of messages from the front! Can't we ever get a message from the side?
A Night at the Opera:
Groucho intervenes when arrogant tenor Lassparri, in a "Pagliacci" clown suit, has been beating Harpo. Lassparri pushes Harpo away...)
LASSPARRI: Now what do you have to say to me?
GROUCHO (Plucking a button off Lassparri's suit): Just this--can you sleep on your stomach with such big buttons on your pajamas?
More to come. :)

Ukulele Ike
09-02-2001, 05:53 PM
Originally posted by dougie_monty
More to come.

More to come, eh? So I take it that you don't subscribe to the common critical estimation that the Boys didn't make a decent movie after A DAY AT THE RACES?

Actually, one of the Marx lines I use more than any other in daily conversations comes from GO WEST, and was a CHICO line to boot...

GROUCHO: Don't you love your brother? (meaning Harpo)
CHICO: Nah, but I'm used to him.

09-02-2001, 06:20 PM
A Day at the Races:
Chico and Harpo are trying to warn Groucho about "Flo," who is part of Morgan's plot to get him fired. So Chico starts busting up Groucho and Flo's tryst.
CHICO: Well, I got fire insurance.
GROUCHO: Well, you better get accident!
Room Service:
(Wagner, the hotel supervisor, gives Groucho 15 minutes to pay a bill of $1200 or he'll be thrown out.)
WAGNER: And don't try the old gag of staying in the room! I'll force you out! I'll send in painters--fumigators--!"
GROUCHO: You should've sent in fumigators weeks ago!
At the Circus
Groucho arrives at the mansion owned by circus-owner Jeff's aunt Mrs. Tewksbury. He sends the butler Whitcomb off with:)
GROUCHO: Here's a dime! Get yourself a clean shirt!
Go West:
(Groucho is trying to impress the villain, Red Baxter, with his own sharp eye after Baxter shoots corks off bottles at the bar without damaging the bottles.)
GROUCHO: See the man at the end of the bar?
GROUCHO: See his nose?
GROUCHO: See the fly on the end of his nose?
BAXTER: (taking closer look)Ohh, Yes!
GROUCHO: You've certainly got good eyesight!
The Big Store:
(Groucho is about to be hired as store detective by Mrs. Phelps, but the villain, Mr. Grover, is skeptical.)
GROVER: Have you had any experience in a department store?
GROUCHO: I was a shoplifter for three years!
A Night in Casablanca:
(Beatrice Reiner is wooing Groucho.)
BEATRICE: I'm Beatrice Reiner. I stop at the hotel.
GROUCHO: I'm Ronald Kornblow. I stop at nothing.
Love Happy:
(Near the end; Groucho and Madame Egilichi are on the roof among people seeking a stolen diamond necklace. They come face to face.)
GROUCHO: Remember me?
EGILICHI: Yes, I do! (Slaps Groucho)
GROUCHO: I mean before that.

09-02-2001, 07:47 PM
One morning on safari I shot an elephant in my pajamas. How he got in my pajamas, I'll never know.

Q May we join you?
A Why? Am I falling apart?
Q It's just funny that you are dining alone at a table set for four.
A If you think that's funny, my alarm is set for eight.

09-03-2001, 06:12 AM
...No thank you. I don't like to eat on an empty stomach.

09-03-2001, 12:49 PM
GROUCHO: Do you accept tips?
STEWARD: Yes, sir.
GROUCHO: Do you have two fives?
STEWARD: Oh, yes, sir!
GROUCHO: Then you don't need the nickel I was gonna give you.

Man, I wish, just once, I could pull off the kind of stunts, insults, and wisecracks Groucho did. Just once!!

From A Day At the Races:

HACKENBUSH: Here, boy, take these up to my room. And here's a dime for you.
MARGARET DUMONT: Oh, no no no. This is Mr. Whitmore, our business manager.
HACKENBUSH: Oh, I'm terribly sorry. Here's a quarter.


WHITMORE: Isn't this a little large for a pill?
HACKENBUSH: Well, it was too small for a basketball, and I didn't know what to do with it. Say, you're awfully large for a pill yourself.

Hee hee hee! I love the Marx Brothers.

09-03-2001, 01:04 PM
You remind me of the Prince of Wales. And believe me, when I say Wales, I mean Whales.

09-04-2001, 08:23 AM
Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana.

09-04-2001, 05:51 PM
Animal Crackers:
I wish I were back in the jungle where men are monkeys.
At the Circus:
(Eve Arden, the bad guy's moll, stuffs the $10,000 Groucho is after, into the front of her dress top.)
GROUCHO (to the camera): There must be some way to get that money back without getting in trouble with the Hays office!
Go West
(In the saloon, again: Lulubelle [June McClory], Red Baxter's moll, approaches Groucho.)
GROUCHO: Lulubelle! I didn't recognize you standing up!
Duck Soup:
MRS. TEASDALE: I have taken it upon myself to make an effort to prevent this war.
GROUCHO: It's too late. I've already paid a month's rent on the battlefield.
Room Service:
CHICO: How d'ya like-a that! Just because he [Harpo] owes six months'-a rent, they throw-a him outta his place!
GROUCHO: Well, six dollars is six dollars!
Horse Feathers:
(In classroom; Groucho holds pointer and touches its other end to the rear end of a horse in a wall chart.)
GROUCHO: That reminds me--I haven't seen my son all day.
A Day at the Races:
(Mrs. Upjohn and Whitmore introduce the sanitarium staff to Groucho.)
WILMERDING: Johns Hopkins, 1922.
GROUCHO: Dodge Brothers, late '29.

09-05-2001, 01:38 AM
Groucho Live at Carnegie Hall:

"I knew a prostitute that commuted from Minniapolis to St. Paul, She was known as the Tail from Two Cities."

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