Captain Spaulding

Captain Jeffrey T. Spaulding is a fictional character in the Broadway musical Animal Crackers and the film of the same name. He was originally played by actor Groucho Marx, one of the Marx Brothers, in both productions.[1] Despite his middle name being Edgar, he is known as Jeffrey T. Spaulding; his first name is also spelled as "Geoffrey" in parts of the film.

Captain Spaulding
Animal Crackers character
Groucho Marx as Captain Spaulding in the film version of Animal Crackers.
First appearanceAnimal Crackers (musical)
Last appearanceAnimal Crackers (film)
Portrayed byGroucho Marx
Information
Full nameJeffrey T. Spaulding
AliasGeoffrey Spaulding
GenderMale
TitleCaptain
OccupationExplorer

Spaulding had a theme song entitled "Hooray for Captain Spaulding", composed by Bert Kalmar and Harry Ruby, which all of the guests sing upon his arrival. This song would go on to be associated with Marx for the rest of his life in public ; it was the theme for his television series You Bet Your Life and was often played when he was introduced as a guest on television shows. At Marx's Carnegie Hall concert in the early 1970s, accompanist Marvin Hamlisch played the song as Marx made his entrance onstage.[2]

Role in Animal Crackers

Spaulding is a famous explorer on return from a trek across Africa to be the guest of honour at a high-society party given by the wealthy Mrs. Rittenhouse (Margaret Dumont). She frequently claims that Spaulding is one of the most courageous travellers in the world, yet by his own accounts of his safari, he reveals his cowardice. At the party, which is taking place over a weekend, a valuable painting is stolen, and he, along with the police and his secretary Jamison (Zeppo Marx), try to recover it.

One morning, I shot an elephant in my pyjamas. How he got in my pyjamas I don't know.

Captain Spaulding

In the 1939 Marx Brothers' film At the Circus, J. Cheever Loophole (also played by Groucho Marx) sings a rendition of "Lydia the Tattooed Lady" and one line references Lydia having a tattoo of Captain Spaulding exploring the Amazon.

The horror film character Captain Spaulding, who appears in several works by Rob Zombie (including House of 1000 Corpses and The Devil's Rejects), is named after Marx's character.[3][4]

References

  1. Dirks, Tim. "Filmsite Movie Review - Animal Crackers (1930)". Filmsite.org. AMC Networks. Retrieved July 22, 2016.
  2. Hamlisch, Marvin (1992). The Way I Was. Scribner. ISBN 978-0684193274.
  3. Burr, Ty (July 22, 2005). "'Rejects' is a depraved love letter to B-films". The Boston Globe. Retrieved October 22, 2019.
  4. Schager, Nick (September 17, 2019). "Rob Zombie's Movies Are Legitimately Fucking Vile. That's What Makes Him Such a Genius". Esquire. Retrieved September 24, 2019.
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