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."

Note for early birds: When a new episode is released, it might not appear at all of the locations below right away. If you visit your favorite podcast provider and the previous episode is still the most recent one you see there, be patient! And above all, don't worry.

Download an MP3 directly to your computer.

Stream the episode via Cast.

Listen and subscribe via Google Podcasts.

Listen and subscribe via Apple Podcasts.

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

Episode 50: The Gods Look Down and Laugh (Our Animal Crackers Deep Dive featuring Heidi Gassel)

Not every Marx Brothers fan would name  Animal Crackers  when asked which film is their favorite, but as it happens, all three of your hosts...