Sunday, October 2, 2011

The Marx Brothers in "Mother Goose Goes Hollywood" (1938)

Here, from Bonhams's June 26 sale, is a rare Disney cel featuring Chico and Groucho Marx at the piano. It's Groucho's birthday (October 2, 1890) today, so why not take a look?

Lot No: 2374Walt Disney celluloid of Chico and Groucho Marx from Mother Goose Goes to [sic] Hollywood 1938, gouache on trimmed celluloid applied to an airbrushed Courvoisier background; Disney's spoof of the Mother Goose rhymes ends with a elaborate musical production number as only the Disney animators could do it. Fats Waller plays piano until Groucho and Chico interrupt. This is an impressive, studio prepared Courvoisier cel set-up of Chico and Groucho Marx; as far as it is known, this is the only Courvoisier set-up known to exist, matted and framed. 7 x 7 3/4 in.
Sold for US$3,416 inclusive of Buyer's Premium 
Sale 19045 - Entertainment Memorabilia including Animation Art, 26 Jun 2011 7601 W. Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles 
Image modified December 7, 2013 

Bonham's contention, highlighted above in fuchsia, that this Courvoisier set-up is possibly unique, is readily disproved. I present the evidence just below, a 2007 auction from Christie's with not one but two such cels, only one of which is pictured. Voila!

Coincidentally, both auction houses have the name of the Disney short wrong.  It's "Mother Goose Goes Hollywood." No "to." Ordinarily I might just quietly correct their copy, but I was having so much fun pointing out errors today that I couldn't help myself.
Image modified December 7, 2013
Image modified December 7, 2013

The Fiddlers Three from

A real class act:

Related Marxist animation drawings from the same Bonhams sale:

Lot No: 2307
Two Walt Disney matching animation drawings of the Marx brothers from Mother Goose Goes to [sic] Hollywood
1938, graphite on paper, depicting Groucho, Chico and Harpo Marx as the Fiddlers Three in this Academy Award® nominated Disney Silly Symphony; approaching Old King Cole with their vaudevillian aplomb, they are sure to present a performance not soon forgotten.
8 x 12in each
Estimate: US$600 - 800

Lot No: 2347
Two Walt Disney animation drawings of the Marx brothers from Mother Goose Goes to [sic] Hollywood

1938, graphite on paper, to the delight of Old King Cole, the Fiddlers Three end their performance by abruptly breaking their fiddles over their knees, delighted, Old King Cole remarks "Over the hedge," obviously the Disney spoof of the classic Mother Goose nursery rhyme is a bit more entertaining than the original, matted and framed.
8 x 12in each 
Estimate: US$600 - 800

Christie's had more luck with similar animation drawings in its 2008 Pop Culture sale:

Lot Description

Walt Disney Studios

Mother Goose Goes Hollywood, 1938
A pair of production drawings of the Marx Brothers, Groucho and Harpo. Both framed, 19x17in.(2)

Price Realized 

  • $1,625
  • Price includes buyer's premium
    $500 - $700

Sale Information

Sale 2012 
Pop Culture 

25 June 2008
New York, Rockefeller Plaza

Special Notice

This lot is offered without reserve.

The Bonhams lot
Image added October 2, 2014
Film Still 6:21 matches Chico but not Groucho in the cel from Bonhams. Fats Waller is not on the Courvoisier cel. The piano keys are all wrong on the Courvoisier cels.
Image added October 2, 2014

"Mother Goose Goes Hollywood" (1938)

Video replaced  October 2, 2014

Note: My previous Disney post is here and it's a gas!

Source links:

No comments:

Post a Comment