I am different from Washington; I have a higher, grander standard of principle. Washington could not lie. I can lie, but I won’t. –Mark Twain
In honor of George Washington’s birthday — or George Birthington’s washday, as we called it when we were kids — I have decided to write a post about Chico Marx, who was also born on February 22nd. But first, a poem about that other birthday guy:
I cannot tell a lie —
Not even if I try.
Believe me, it’s no fun
When you’re George Washington.
Chico, as you old timers know, is closely connected with George by way of his brother Groucho (Marx, that is), who sang Lydia the Tattooed Lady, whose tattoo of Washington crossing the Delaware could be viewed (along with Kankakee and Paree) for a dime. As an aside, Groucho Washington, George’s brother, never amounted to Mucho, and is all but forgotten today.
For the benefit of you unfortunates who missed my post of Jan. 13, I’ll clarify the preceding paragraph by repeating the opportunity to view a clip of “Lydia the Tattooed Lady” from the Marx Brothers film AT THE CIRCUS:
Now that that’s settled, I’ll close with a little Chico Marx trivia: toward the end of the Big Band era of the mid 1930s to early 1940s, Chico had his own orchestra. Here’s their swinging rendition of Pagliacci: