Archive for the ‘St.Chico Day’ Category

St.Chico Day

November 25, 2006

Wrath, Chico:5, 6006 YD

On this Fifth day of the month of Chico, we again celebrate the life and legacy of St.Chico Marx.

The second oldest of the five Marx Brothers, and visibly almost identical with older brother Harpo, his nickname was originally “Chicko” due to his tendency to ‘chicken-peck’ the keys of the piano when he played one-handed. St.Chico was a talented pianist despite the fact that St.Groucho once claimed that St.Chico never practiced the pieces he played. Before performances he would soak his fingers in warm Palmolive before going on instead. He was known for “shooting” the keys of the piano; as part of the act he would play passages with his thumb up and index finger straight — like a gun. He originally started playing with only his right hand and fake playing with his left, because his immigrant teacher did so herself, eventually he learned to perform almost any feat requiring two hands with only a single hand – in fact St.Chico is the only person on record to successfully solve the Zen riddle “What is the sound of one hand clapping?” – although he never revealed the answer to anyone.

For a time St.Chico led a big band; young Mel Torme began his professional career singing with the Chico Marx Orchestra, and St.Chico himself taught Torme how to scat, the style of singing he himself had invented, apparently because he found words “boring and utterly tedious”.

St.Chico was a compulsive gambler, which usually kept him short of funds, and which compelled him to continue in show business long after his brothers had retired in comfort from their Hollywood income. He kept on his person at all times a set of gold dice, the snake-eye on each die showing only a small ‘k’, and when rolling was often overheard to murmer: “Luck be a Goddess tonight”.

By the Gregorian calendar he was born on the 22nd day of March 1889, and died on the 11th day of October 1961.