Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Episode 38: Help-a Those Kids (featuring Hannah Mira)



School and schoolteachers are a recurring theme in the Marx Brothers' work, from their earliest vaudeville comedy (Fun in Hi Skule), to the zenith of their Hollywood years (Horse Feathers), to the professorial quizmaster of You Bet Your Life and the childhood memoirist of Harpo Speaks. On this episode, our special guest is a real live teacher, who has used the Brothers' films as a curriculum for students in extraordinary circumstances. We say this every month, I know, but this is a good one.

Hannah Mira
Hannah Mira

Official description: "And now for something completely different...

"After relating our first impressions of the Marxes from way back when, we are joined by educator Hannah Mira, who details her fascinating story of screening Marx Brothers (and other classic) films to incarcerated teenagers, and their surprisingly positive response to them.

"A lifelong Marx fan, Hannah uses the brothers’ antics not only as entertainment, but also as a springboard to introspection. We learn what the most popular gags and scenes are with her students, as well as whom their favorite brother is (spoiler: it ain’t Zeppo). Hannah also tells of a surprising encounter with a Harpo painting.

"Of course, we are on our best behavior with a teacher present, but still find time for a few spitball fights."

Hannah says: "If listeners want to help at-risk youth stay out of juvenile hall / jail, please have them visit Homeboy Industries. It is the largest gang rehabilitation and re-entry program on the planet and the work they do is incredible. Donations and volunteers are always needed. The headquarters is in Los Angeles but they have outreach around the world."

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Here's the Harpo painting discussed by Hannah in the episode:



Episode 38: Help-a Those Kids (featuring Hannah Mira)

School and schoolteachers are a recurring theme in the Marx Brothers' work, from their earliest vaudeville comedy ( Fun in Hi Skule ), t...