Friday, March 14, 2008

During the Earthquake

The 1933 Los Angeles Times ran a Hollywood version of earthquake trivia, a week after the March 10 temblor. Among the gems:

Groucho Marx was at the Brown Derby when an earthquake shook the place. Groucho got up on his chair and announced: "Ladies and gentlemen, this time tomorrow--A Volcano!"

Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart were working with story editor Sam Marx (no relation to the brothers), playing a tune on the piano for a new show. When the room shook, Rodgers dove out the window, taking the screen with him. The other two followed. A truck driver who didn't even feel the earthquake (his truck was already pretty shaky) hollered, "What's going on in there?"

Marlene Dietrich was signing an autograph when the quake made her pen jerk. Under her signature she wrote, "Will you ever forget this?"

Several other anecdotes lose their punch because the comedians and actors are long forgotten. Ricardo Cortez and William Harrigan were filming; George E. Stone fainted. I confess my ignorance of these actors.

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