Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Episode 9: A Good Buy From MGM

Why, we didn't know you cared! But since you do, here's our ninth episode, in which friend-of-the-podcast and Council stalwart Nick Santa Maria drops by to discuss The Big Store, which we all agree was made by MGM in 1941 and stars the Marx Brothers and Tony Martin.

Episode Description: "Actor, writer, and singer Nick Santa Maria joins us to defend The Big Store…not the funniest of the latter-MGM films, but (in our opinion) the most likable. We speculate on the secret life of Hiram Phelps and love life of Mr. Grover, plus hear a rare audio clip of Tony Martin and his version of reality. We're also treated to the death stories of a couple of cast-members! Finally, everyone is rewarded by us not playing 'The Tenement Symphony.'  Note that your enjoyment of this episode will be greatly enhanced by watching the film first, as we get into detail that you might not remember..."

Download an MP3 directly to your computer.

Stream the episode via Cast.

Listen and subscribe via iTunes.

Listen and subscribe via Google Play.

Listen and subscribe via Stitcher.

Listen and subscribe via Blubrry.

Via YouTube:

This episode's end music is Nick Santa Maria's sweet rendition of "If It's You," by Ben Oakland, Artie Shaw, and Milton Drake, featured in The Big Store.

Get your copy of The Misadventures of Biffle and Shooster, featuring Nick, right here!

And here's MGM's original trailer for The Big Store, referenced in our episode title:

And there you have it, folks! As always, you can find us everywhere on the web, and join us in the Marx Brothers Council Facebook group to discuss this episode and all other Marxian matters.

See you next month!


  1. Great podcast. I really like when you focus on one film - I learned some things here, some that I didn't even WANT to learn.

    One thing, Martha Phelps is called Aunt Martha by Tommy Rogers. Term of endearment? Actual relation? I like YOUR explanation better.

    1. BTW - I was intrigued by Nick's JERRY LEWIS credit, so I tracked down the BUFFALO BILL episode on You Tube --- and it looks like he was cut out!

  2. Very enjoyable podcast. Two ideas I have on the film:

    1: I love the bit where Harpo's typewriting is so loud, nobody can hear a word. What always bugged me a little bit is Groucho's sour looks toward Harpo. In a Paramount film, Groucho would be in on the fun. I'm probably nitpicking.

    2: I know I am just making this up, but I like to think of Harpo's "harp trio" scene not as a dream but as Harpo actually projecting himself into the scene and projecting back out when it's all over. Call it magic, call it what you want. It's a power Harpo has but only when nobody is around.

  3. About 20 years ago, I met one of the the dancers featured in the "Sing While You Sell" number. Can't remember her name, but she said Groucho was really funny between takes. Coincidentally, I remembered seeing her, her husband and a third guy doing a dance routine on the Ed Sullivan show in the early 1960s.

    Not sure if I missed you mention this at the beginning of the show, but did you know that 'The Big Store' was a remake of the 1936 Metro drama "The Longest Night"?

    1. Thanks, Kevin -- very interesting, about THE LONGEST NIGHT! I don't know the film, but from some quick reading on the web, I see it had a similar plotline, and even a villain named Mr. Grover! A subject for further research, to be sure.

  4. Disappointed you didn't discuss Virginia O'Brien & her version of Rock-a-bye. It is awesome.


Episode 18: Marx Brothers: Unsolved

In our latest episode, we examine some unsolved Marx Brothers mysteries. Put on your deerstalker hat and join us on this journey into...