Harpo Marx @120

Harpo Marx @120


Harpo Marx (18881964) was one of the Marx Brothers, a group of Vaudeville and Broadway theatre entertainers who achieved fame as comedians in the American film industry, greatly admired by the French surrealists and properly identified as American Surrealism.

Harpo was well known by his trademarks: he played the harp; he never talked during performances, although he often blew a horn or whistled to communicate with people; and he frequently used props – one of his most commonly used props in films was a walking stick with a built-in bulb horn.

He is exemplar of selective mutism, aphonia and the silent protagonist.

A little known fact is that in 1937 Salvador Dalí visited Harpo Marx in Hollywood to write the scenario for Giraffes on Horseback Salad, a film that was never produced. Photographic evidence of this encounter is perhaps this: “Dalí sketches Harpo Marx at the barbed wire harp”[1].

One thought on “Harpo Marx @120

  1. drayv

    Paul McCartney has a song called “She’s Given Up Talking,” all about a girl with selective mutism. When she’s at school she’s given up talkin’, but at home she’s a yap-a-yap-a-yap. A great song about the disorder, explained in only a few words.

Comments are closed.