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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 
Warner Brothers."

"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 
"Burbank studios."

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 
fifteen years."

"... 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                     lawyer@world.std.com
 Boston, MA 02108-2503      http://world.std.com/~lawyer/