Groucho, Laurel & Hardy in the Headlines

Two exciting stories to report; both have probably already exploded their way through every contact I have on social media, but for those who missed them, here they are:

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Variety reported yesterday that Steve Stoliar’s incredible book Raised Eyebrows (about Groucho Marx’s last days) is going to be made into a movie directed by horror helmsman Rob Zombie. It’s not such an odd fit. It’s well known that Zombie is a big Groucho fan and has named characters after Groucho personae in his films. And also..this is a DARK story. Groucho’s last decade or so were spent in an odd, one might venture to say exploitative relationship with an ambitious young actress named Erin Fleming. Stoliar had a ringside seat as Groucho’s personal assistant. Believe you me, there is psychodrama aplenty.

Raised Eyebrows is one of my favorite show biz books. I previously blogged about it here. And in fact, when the book was re-released by Bear Manor Media a couple of years ago, I reached out to Stoliar to gingerly inquire about screenplay rights for myself. (I figured it was worth a shot, I had found my previous out-of-print copy in a bargain bin — to my shock and surprise). But anyway Steve was like, “Yeah, no, I got this covered. I’m way ahead of ya, buddy.”

You can’t blame a guy for trying! I think very highly of this man and his book. It’s not just a compelling story, but it’s extremely well written, intelligent, funny, tragic, humane. Indeed when I heard that Bear Manor was re-printing Raised Eyebrows, I considered that a kind of seal of approval for Bear Manor. “If Steve Stoliar likes them, they have to be okay.” And they are more than OK. They published my book Chain of Fools and are about to publish Noah Diamond’s new book about I’ll Say She Is. 

Groucho fans rejoice! This is a Gala day for us!

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And the other exciting news which broke earlier this week…the long lamented missing reel of Laurel and Hardy’s epochal pie fight movie Battle of the Century , directed by Clyde Bruckmanhas been found. Classic comedy fans everywhere are overjoyed. Read an excellent account here at Slate. 

It’s said that good things come in threes. What else can be in store?

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