on this day in 1964, groucho marx broke bread with t.s. eliot.
...At any rate, your correspondent arrived at the Eliots' fully prepared for a literary evening. During the week I had read "Murder in the Cathedral" twice, "The Waste Land" three times, and just in case of a conversational bottleneck, I brushed up on "King Lear."

Well, sir, as the cocktails were served, there was a momentary lull - the kind that is more or less inevitable when strangers meet for the first time. So, apropos of practically nothing (and not with a bang but a whimper) I tossed in a quotation from "The Waste Land." That, I thought, will show him I've read a thing or two besides my press notices from Vaudeville.

Eliot smiled faintly -- as though to say he was thoroughly familiar with his poems and didn't need me to recite them. So I took a whack at "King Lear"...

That too failed to bowl over the poet. He seemed more interested in discussing "Animal Crackers" and "A Night at the Opera." He quoted a joke - one of mine - that I had long since forgotten. Now it was my turn to smile faintly...

We didn't stay late, for we both felt that he wasn't up to a long evening of conversation - especially mine.

Did I tell you we called him Tom? - possibly because that's his name. I, of course, asked him to call me Tom too, but only because I loathe the name Julius.

Tom Marx

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