Ithaca Blog

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Harpo Marx Conte$t Answers

M.Z. of Trumansburg was the randomly-selected winner of last weekend's trivia quiz about Harpo Marx, who was born 118 years ago this Thanksgiving.

Contestants only needed to know one of three answers, but M.Z. knew them all:

Harpo's birth name was Adolph. He actually changed it legally to Arthur, for reasons that seem obvious, but were actually prescient. He thought Adolph sounded "too German". But he changed it decades before the emergence of Adolph Hitler.

As Chico's character was supposed to be Italian, Harpo was supposed to be Irish: conniving and fey. The connection fell away once Harpo began performing entirely in pantomime. His namesake instrument, however, is a national symbol of Ireland.

Harpo did actually play the harp, although he was initially self-taught and for years played it in a tuning of his own invention.

Congratulations to M.Z. for her prize, a $10 gift certificate to Small World Music (see our ad in the Ithaca Blog sidebar). New contest every Friday!

Steve Burke
for Ithaca Blog

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