Monday, November 26, 2012

The Document That Changed the Course of Marx Brothers' History

Minutes Of 1st Meeting of Marx Bros. Inc. Signed by Groucho, Harpo, Chico, and Zeppo Marx
The Marx Bros. translated their success in vaudeville onto film under contract with Paramount Pictures. Harpo, Chico, Groucho, and Zeppo became household names and made five great films in five short years –The Cocoanuts (1929), Animal Crackers (1930), Monkey Business (1931), Horse Feathers (1932), and Duck Soup (1933).

Although these films were zany and madcap, all was not rosy behind-the-scenes. Both artistic and financial differences raged – in particular during pre-production for Duck Soup. Paramount had been developed from Adolph Zukor’s Famous Players and Jesse Lasky’s company, and a reorganization of Paramount around the time of Duck Soup brought fears that money due the Marx Bros. wouldn’t be paid.

In 1933 the boys surprised the world by forming their own company – a challenge to the powerful studio system that was akin to therevolutionary formation of United Artists 1919 by D. W. Griffith, Charlie Chaplin, Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks. These actual typewritten minutes from the first meeting of the newly minted corporation document the moment the Marx Bros. struck out on their own – March 28, 1933.

All four signed on the second page their given and stage names: “Arthur Harpo Marx,” “Herbert Zeppo Marx,” “Leo Chico Marx,” and “Julius Groucho Marx.” On the first page, “Arthur Harpo Marx” signed again as Chairman and “Leo Chico Marx” signed again as Secretary. Both pages are double cloth matted and framed with an unsigned vintage 8 x 10 inch photo of the brothers playing saxophones to an overall size of 18 x 31 inches. When Marx Bros. Inc. was born, the new corporation wasn’t simply a negotiating ploy. Eventually Duck Soup was completed and released, but both Paramount and the Marxes knew the relationship was over.

Chico Marx played cards with producer Irving Thalberg who told the Marx Bros. that he wanted to do things differently than they had been done at Paramount – not make “lousy pictures like Duck Soup.” Groucho recollected being annoyed by that statement, but Thalberg explained that he could “make a picture with you that would have half as many laughs as your Paramount films, but they will be more effective because the audience will be in sympathy with you.” (p. 203 Marx Bros Scrapbook

Groucho would soon learn that Thalberg was right. The brothers began making pictures with Irving Thalberg and putting them out through M-G-M. Thalberg insisted on a stronger story structure than in the Paramount films with the Marxes playing more sympathetic characters.

In a 1969 interview with Dick Cavett, Groucho said that the two movies made with Thalberg - A Night at the Opera (1935) and A Day at the Races (1937) - were the best that they ever produced. If the Marx Bros. had never left Paramount and formed Marx Bros. Inc. we may never have had the famous overcrowded stateroom gag, Chico’s oft-quoted line “There ain't no sanity clause,” or countless other priceless laughs. The second act of their career all began with this two-page document, and the rest they say, is history.

Article by Kevin Segall, Proprietor of Collector's Shangri-La

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Collector's Treasure of the Day: Vintage 1938 Photo Autographed by Lucille Ball

Collector's Shangri-La has just acquired an incredible autograph collection from the 1930s and 1940s and we can't wait to share it all with you! Here's one of my favorites - a hand-signed publicity glamour shot of Lucille Ball 13 full years before the I Love Lucy television show hit the airwaves. Stay tuned as we post more of the treasures at!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Black Friday Weekend Deals on Pop Culture Memorabilia

Happy Black Friday Weekend! Celebrity signed photos, illustration art, and pop culture memorabilia on sale up to 64% off at! Quantities are extremely limited, and in many cases one-of-a-kind!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Collector's Calendar for November 2012


Collector's Shangri-La provides a monthly calendar of selected celebrity autograph signings, collector's conventions, and other events through our blog at:

Sign up to follow our blog to stay up-to-date!

Breakfast Club Cast Photo Signed by Molly Ringwald, Ally Sheedy, Judd Nelson, Emilio Estevez, Anthony Michael Hall
11/1/2012 7:00 PM at Barnes & Noble - Grove Drive. Los Angeles, CA.
Molly Ringwald, 1980s "Brat Pack" star, signing her book When It Happens To You

11/1/2012 7:00 PM at Barnes & Noble - Union Square. New York, NY.
Ric Ocasek, lead singer of the 1980s band The Cars, signing his book Lyrics & Prose

On History: Tariq Ali and Oliver Stone in Conversation Signed by Oliver Stone
11/1/2012 6:45 PM at the Aero Theater - Montana Avenue. Santa Monica, CA.
11/2/2012 7:00 PM at Book Soup - Sunset Blvd. West Hollywood, CA.
11/10/2012 8:00 PM at the 92nd Y - Lexington Avenue. New York, NY.
11/13/2012 7:00 PM at Barnes & Noble - Union Square. New York, NY.
Oliver Stone, director "Natural Born Killers" and "JFK", signing his book Untold History of the United States

KISS Psycho Circus Autographed by Todd McFarlane, Gene Simmons, Paul Stanley, Ace Frehley, Peter Criss
11/2/2012 6:00 PM at Changing Hands Books - South McClintock Drive. Tempre, AZ.
Peter Criss, drummer of the band KISS, signing his memoir Makeup To Breakup

11/3/2012 2:00 PM at Barnes & Noble - Americana Way. Glendale, CA.
Colin Powell, former U.S. Secretary of State, signing his book It Worked For Me

Art-Toys Limited Edition Book Autographed by 17 including Attaboy, Gary Baseman, Tim Biskup, Frank Kozik, Mark Ryden
11/3/2012  DesignerCon at the Pasadena Convention Center, CA.
Scheduled Guests include: Frank Kozik, Miss Mindy, Kathie Olivas, Brandt Peters, Ragnar, Jeff Soto, and many more!

Near Dark Photo Signed by Lance Henriksen
11/3/2012 - 11/4/2012 Long Beach Comic & Horror Con at the Long Beach Convention Center, CA.
Scheduled Guests include: Neal Adams, Brom, Howard Chaykin, The Chiodo Brothers, Amanda Conner, Lance Henricksen, Thomas Jane, William Stout, Len Wein, Marv WolfmanBernie Wrightson, and many more!

11/3/2012 2:00 PM at Barnes & Noble - Tysons Corner Mall. McLean, VA.
Valerie Bertinelli, star of "One Day at a Time", signing her book One Dish At A Time

Dark Shadows Poster Signed by Kathryn Leigh Scott and Lara Parker
11/3/2012 2:00 PM at Dark Delicacies - West Magnolia. Burbank, CA.
Kathryn Leigh Scott and Lara Parker, stars of "Dark Shadows", signing their book Dark Shadows: Return To Collinwood

Original Ren and Stimpy Drawing Autographed by John K. and Billy West
11/3/2012 to 11/4/2012 Rhode Island Comic Con at the Rhode Island Convention Center - Providence, RI.
Scheduled Guests include: Nicholas BrendonRichard HatchJohn DeLancieErika EleniakGil GerardPeter MayhewLee MerriwetherRobert Picardo, Billy West, and many more.

11/7/2012 7:00 PM at Barnes & Noble - Route 17 South. Paramus, NJ.
Cyndi Lauper, 1980s pop music star, signing her book Cyndi Lauper: A Memoir

11/7/2012 7:00 PM at Barnes & Noble - Grove Drive. Los Angeles, CA.
Kevin Pollak, actor "The Usual Suspects" and "A Few Good Men", signing his book How I Slept My Way To the Middle

My Word is My Bond Book Signed by Sir Roger Moore
11/9/2012 6:00 PM at Barnes & Noble - Fifth Avenue & 18th Street. New York, NY.
Roger Moore, star of the James Bond film series, signing his book Bond on Bond

Jimmie Walker Autographed Photo
11/9/2012 - 11/10/2012  Hollywood Show at the LVH - Las Vegas, NV.
Scheduled Guests include: Julie Adams, Chris Atkins, Linda Blair, Morgan Fairchild, Donna Loren,  Butch Patrick, Jimmie Walker, Johnny Whitaker, and many more!

11/11/2012 2:00 PM at Barnes & Noble - Grove Drive. Los Angeles, CA.
Kirstie Alley, star of the TV comedies "Cheers" and "Veronica's Closet", signing her book The Art Of Men

11/14/2012 6:00 PM at Barnes & Noble - Warren Street. New York, NY.
Penn Jillette, magician and host of "Penn & Teller's Bullsh*t", signing his book Every Day Is An Atheist Holiday!

11/15/2012 7:00 PM at Barnes & Noble -Union Square. New York, NY.
Fred Armisen, comedian, "Saturday Night Live"and co-creator of "Portlandia", signing Portlandia

11/15/2012 12:30 PM at Barnes & Noble - Grove Drive. Los Angeles, CA.
Caroline Kennedy, author and daughter of JFK, signing the book Listening In

Highwaymen Guitar Autographed by Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, and Kris Kristofferson
11/15/2012 3:00 PM at Bookpeople - North Lamar. Austin, TX.
11/19/2012 1:00 PM at Barnes & Noble - Fifth Avenue. New York, NY.
Willie Nelson, country musician, signing his book Roll Me Up And Smoke Me When I Die

Mike Huckabee Signed Photo
11/15/2012 7:30 PM at Barnes & Noble - Southwest 17th Street. Topeka, KS.
11/23/2012 11:00 AM at Barnes & Noble - Airport Blvd. Pensacola, FL.
11/24/2012 8:00 PM at Barnes & Noble - East Colonial Drive. Orlando, FL.
11/25/2012 3:00 PM at Barnes & Noble - Old Camp Road. The Villages, FL.
11/29/2012 7:00 PM at Barnes & Noble - 28th Street SE. Grand Rapids, MI.
11/30/2012 4:00 PM at Barnes & Noble - Miller Road. Flint, MI.
Mike Huckabee, former Arkansas Governor and former presidential candidate, signing his book Dear Chandler, Dear Scarlett

To Save America Book Signed by Newt Gingrich
11/16/2012 6:00 PM at Barnes & Noble - Legacy Avenue. Palm Beach Gardens, FL.
11/19/2012 7:00 PM at Barnes & Noble - West Northwest Highway. Dallas, TX.
Newt Gingrich, former U.S. Speaker of the House, signing his book Victory at Yorktown

Cry-Baby Photo with Johnny Depp Signed by Traci Lords
11/17/2012 to 11/18/2012 Super MegaFest at the Sheraton Framingham Hotel in Framingham, MA. Scheduled Guests include: Traci LordsDavid Prowse, John Wesley Shipp, and many more.

11/19/2012 7:00 PM at Barnes & Noble -Union Square. New York, NY.
11/23/2012 4:00 PM at Bookends - East Ridgewood Avenue. Ridgewood, NJ.
11/24/2012 7:00 PM at Book Revue - New York Avenue. Huntington, NY.
Tony Bennett, Jazz and pop singer, signing his book Life Is A Gift

Lois & Clark Cover Story TV Guide Signed by Dean Cain
11/24/2012 11:00 AM at The Frank & Son Collectible Show - City of Industry, CA.
Dean Cain, Superman of "Lois & Clark", will be signing autographs.

11/28/2012 6:00 PM at Barnes & Noble - Warren Street. New York, NY.
Billy Ray Cyrus, country music star, signing his CD Change My Mind

11/28/2012 7:00 PM at Barnes & Noble - Richmond Avenue. Staten Island, NY.
Jane Seymour, star of "Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman", signing her book Open Hearts Family

The Amazing Spider-Man #50 Signed by Stan Lee
11/30/2012 - 12/2/2012 New Orleans Comic Con at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center.
Scheduled Guests include: Dean Cain, Eliza Dushku, Stan Lee, David Mack, Kevin Sorbo, Patrick Stewart, and many more!

Information sometimes changes. Before showing up, please contact the event location to verify accuracy, and let us know if there are any errors in our listing. Thanks!