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Re: Today's LTAR
On 1 May 2000, Jibguy@aol.com wrote:
> We had not mentioned WNTN as the station he was recorded on; or who may own
> the airchex. It was someone else who is supposedly using them on a
> website, recorded off a DIFFERENT station, of whom I can't remember. Donna
> would know, as I think she brought up the topic. Near the time we talked
> about this, WNTN did come up, since he had worked there for a very short
> time, from what people say. ----jibguy
Well, whatever station, then. Same thing.
All of this reminded me of another dispute that turned out to be a tempest
in a teapot. When the Marx Brothers announced that they were going to
make a movie called "A Night in Casablanca," they got a letter from the
Warner Brothers legal department, threatening legal action because
Warners, five years earlier, had made the movie "Casablanca."
Instead of a lawyer, Groucho himself wrote a reply to Warner Brothers. I
won't quote the whole long letter here. It appears in its entirety in
several books about the Marx Brothers. It combined flawless legal logic
with Groucho's unique humor. I will give a couple of excerpts:
"Apparently there is more than one way of conquering a city and holding it
as your own. For example, up to the time that we contemplated making this
picture, I had no idea that the city of Casablanca belonged exclusively to
"Even if you plan on re-releasing your picture, I am sure that the average
movie fan could learn in time to distinguish between Ingrid Bergman and
Harpo. I don't know whether I could, but I certainly would like to try."
Groucho went on to point out that the Marx Brothers were brothers
professionally long before the Warner Brothers. "...and even before us
there had been other brothers -- the Smith Brothers; the Brothers
Karamazof; Dan Brothers, an outfielder with Detroit, and 'Brother, Can You
Spare a Dime?' ..."
He went on to point out that Jack Warner was not the first Jack, having
been preceded by Jack of "Jack and the Beanstalk" and Jack the Ripper "who
cut quite a figure in his day." He did the same with Harry, and then
questioned whether Luther Burbank would approve of their use of the name
He finally attributed the whole thing to some minor functionary and
assumed that Jack and Harry Warner really knew nothing about this. "Well,
he won't get away with it! No pasty-faced legal adventurer is going to
cause bad blood between the Warners and the Marxes. We are all brothers
under the skin and we'll remain friends till the last reel of 'A Night in
Casablanca' goes tumbling over the spool."
The Warner Brothers legal department wrote suggesting that if Groucho
would give them some idea what their story was about, something might be
worked out. So Groucho replied with something else thoroughly Groucho.
The attorneys wrote back that they still didn't understand the plot. So
Groucho wrote another letter of similar ilk. "I play Bordello, the
sweetheart of Humphrey Bogart. Harpo and Chico are itinerant rug peddlers
who are weary of laying rugs and enter a monastery just for a lark. This
is a good joke on them, as there hasn't been a lark in the place for
"... In the fifth reel, Gladstone makes a speech that sets the House of
Commons in an uproar and the King promptly asks for his resignation.
Harpo marries a hotel detective; Chico operates an ostrich farm. Humphrey
Bogart's girl, Bordello, spends her last years in a Bacall house."
After that, the Marxes heard no more from the Warners.
A. Joseph Ross, J.D. 617.367.0468
15 Court Square firstname.lastname@example.org
Boston, MA 02108-2503 http://world.std.com/~lawyer/