Captain Spaulding (Animal Crackers)
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|Animal Crackers character|
|First appearance||Animal Crackers (musical)|
|Last appearance||Animal Crackers (film)|
|Portrayed by||Groucho Marx|
|Full name||Jeffrey Edgar Spaulding|
Captain Jeffrey Edgar 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. 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.
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.
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 thrown by Mrs. Rittenhouse (Margaret Dumont). She frequently claims that Spaulding is one of the most courageous travellers in the world, but his own accounts of his safari reveal 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.
In popular culture
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.
- Dirks, Tim. "Filmsite Review - Animal Crackers (1930)". AMC. Retrieved 22 July 2016.
- Hamlisch, Marvin (November 1992). The Way I Was. Scribner. ISBN 978-0684193274.
- Thomas, Melissa (18 July 2016). "31 Facts You (Probably) Didn't Know About Rob Zombie's Films". Moviepilot. Retrieved 22 July 2016.
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