Showing Out

Harpo Marx is in the News for This Big, Girthy Reason

Well folks, I never thought this day would come, but here we are. Not only is one of the Marx Brothers trending for a very gay reason, but I get to write about it. What did I do to deserve this? Are the Gods taking pity on a bedraggled, depressed queer community sick of having our rights attacked? Maybe.

Or maybe it’s just the siren song of the celebrity nude.

Because that’s what I’m here to tell you: Harpo Marx, the best part of Duck Soup, Horse Feathers, AND Animal Crackers (sorry Groucho) was apparently hung like a horse in his heyday.

That’s correct: I have it on good authority that the famously-silent comic of such classics as A Night at the Opera and Room Service was packing heat. How do I know? Because of a newly-circulated picture that recently went to auction and was sold for a measly 6 grand. A steal, if you ask me!

The photo, which displays the star reclining on the set of the 1932 feature Horse Feathers, is a tasteful and gorgeous display of one of the finest penises of our time. Well…perhaps not our time, exactly. A time long ago, when it was totally fine to rock out with your c*ck out on the set of an unrated comedy feature.

Apparently, our boy Harpo was a fan of hanging out in the nude on set. Honestly, who isn’t?

This was far from the only instance of Harpo stripping down for laughs. According to the auctioneers: “one night as Harpo and Groucho were headed to a bachelor’s party in a hotel, they decided to play a gag which entailed walking out of the elevator nude and surprising their friends. While in the elevator, the brothers’ undressed and put their clothes into the suitcases they were carrying, then accidentally landed on the wrong floor, exposing themselves to a horrified all-female bridal shower.”

Apparently this photo is the only known full-frontal nude of the iconic harp-playing star, despite his fondness for baring all in public.

But that’s not the only queer thing about Harpo. Throughout the 30s and 40s, Marx had plenty of friendships with queer luminaries and intellectuals, such as the bisexual playwright Moss Hart, the gay writer Somerset Maugham (in whose pool Harpo skinnydipped) and the queer, possibly asexual critic Alexander Woollcott. Woollcott, who many biographers have assumed to be queer, if non-practicing, was so devoted to Harpo that he actually came along on the comedian’s honeymoon in 1936. The friends remained close for years, and while scholars mostly believe the relationship remained unconsummated, the two men clearly adored each other and relished the chance to bask in one anothers’ company.

And even if the stories about Harpo’s youth were wild, friends and family recalled the star’s sweet disposition. He and his wife Susan, whom he remained married to until his death in 1964, adopted four children, and Harpo apparently wanted more. “I’d like to adopt as many children as I have windows in my house,” he famously told the comedian George Burns. “So when I leave for work, I want a kid in every window, waving goodbye.”

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