December 18, 2009

Groucho Marx on Dick Cavett, singing Lydia the Tattooed Lady. Video.

The Dick Cavett Show
September 5, 1969

“Lydia the Tattooed Lady”, which became one of Groucho Marx’s signature tunes, was written by Harold Arlen and Yip Harburg, and first appeared in the movie At the Circus (1939).

I can’t quite say why, but Groucho has always been one of my favorite people, an idol really, right up there with Nelson Mandela, Gandhi, Jesus Christ, Buddha and MLK, Jr. Maybe it’s because he was so in the moment, punning and trilling and fibbing his way through life, that he reminded all of us that fun was right here, right now. Or, maybe it’s because I have a wobbly moral compass.

In either case, here’s an old Groucho, who still has it, appearing on TV for one of his last times, singing his signature song on the Dick Cavett show, which I’ve been netflixing in a continued attempt to learn from past talk shows how to better lead my own.

And here’s one from 50 years before:

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