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Marxology - Napoleon's First Waterloo (Mad Mad Comedians-version)


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Napoleon's First Waterloo (Mad Mad Comedians-version)

Napoleon Groucho
Alphonse (Chico) Paul Frees
François (Zeppo) Paul Frees
Gaston (Harpo) honking & whistling
Josephine Joan Gardner


COURT RECEPTION AT VERSAILLES

A Footman enters.

Footman The Empress! (fanfare)
The Emperor! (fanfare)

Napoleon As you were. Begone, peasants!
Groucho turns to footmen.
As for you, take that bib off - we don't eat for an hour yet.

Josephine Napoleon, did you hurt yourself? You told me you would be in Egypt tonight.

Napoleon That remains to be seen, but where are my faithful advisers, François, Alphonse and Gaston?

Josephine Do you wish their advice?

Napoleon Of course I do. They are always wrong

Footman Alphonse, First Gentleman-in-Waiting.
Chico passes Groucho with outstretched arms to the Empress.

Alphonse Napoleon!

Napoleon Alphonse!

Footman François, Second Gentleman-in-Waiting.

François Napoleon!
Zeppo passes Groucho with outstretched arms to the Empress.

Napoleon This devotion to me is touching, but it's not touching me.

Footman Gaston, Third Gentleman-in-Waiting.
Harpo whistles and heads straight for the Empress.

Napoleon Well, they are all taking the detour.
Everybody kiss the Empress.
There is a lot of heavy lipping going on around here, but somehow or other I got shoved out of it. But then I must not tarry. I must be off. Josephine, if I leave you here with these three snakes, I must be off.

Josephine Napoleon, when you go, all France is with you.

Napoleon Yes, and the last time I came home all France was with you...and a slice of Italy too.

Alphonse Haahaa, he means me.

Napoleon Yes, it's you I mean. And I could've left the "s" off "slice."

Josephine Napoleon, fight as you never fought before.

Napoleon Farewell, my Queen. Vive la France!
Music. Groucho exits.

Alphonse Ah, Josephine!

Josephine Alphonse!

Alphonse Why you crying?

Josephine I thought you were never coming.

Alphonse I thought-eh Napoleon was never going.
A knock is heard offstage.

Josephine Alphons, hide! Someone's coming.
Groucho peeps in.

Josephine Oh! It's you. I thought you were at the front.

Napoleon I was, but nobody answered the bell, so I came around here.

Josephine Well, what are you looking for?

Napoleon My sword. I lost my sword.

Josephine There it is, dear, just where you left it.

Napoleon Farewell, my Queen. Vive la France.

Alphonse Josephine!
A knock is heard offstage.

Josephine Alphonse, hide!

Alphonse Josie, has he gone?

Josephine Who?

Alphonse Anybody. Ah! Josie, you are so beautiful. Josephine giggles. Why don't you marry me?

Josephine What about Napoleon?

Alphonse Awright, I gonna marry him too. He's got money. He's the guy I'm really after.

Josephine Why, that's bigamy.

Alphonse And it's-a bigamy too.

Josephine Please play. I love music.

Alphonse Awright! Chico plays the piano. There's a knock on the door, Groucho enters, Chico dives under the piano and crawls off.

Josephine You're here AGAIN?!?! Oh, Napoleon, you're HERE again?

Napoleon I lost my sword.

Josephine Again?

Napoleon I had a swell chance to stab one of those Russians. I was gonna stab him right near the gates of Moscow. If I find my sword, I Moscow and get him. He promised to wait, but you can't depend on those Russians. Where's my sword? Ah! There's my sword. Farewell, my Queen.
Groucho exits and Harpo enters carrying a harp over his shoulder.

Josephine Gaston! I thought you were never coming back. Won't you please play for me?
Harpo plays the harp. A knock is heard and Groucho enters. Harpo hides under Josephine's crinoline and honks twice.

Napoleon Woman! Who's been here?

Josephine I have.

Napoleon Alone?

Josephine Alone.

Harpo honks his horn and crawls off.

Napoleon Remember, you can fool some of the people all of the time, and you can fool some of the people all of the time but you can't fool some of the people all of the time! I just made that up. Lincoln stole it from me. Someone's been here. Ah! He's a harp.

Josephine 'Tis my harp.

Napoleon Do you think you can stand there and make a schlemiel out of Napoleon? Do you think it's fun being Napoleon? How would you like to be Napoleon and stand like this for a hundred and fifty years? Someone has been here. I'm going to investigate. I'll smoke out these Siberian jackrabbits.
Groucho brings a flit gun out of his jacket and starts to pump.

Josephine I love but you.
Business of sneezing.

Napoleon Come out, come out, wherever you are.
Business of sneezing.

Napoleon Officer of the guard, remove the swine.
Two soldiers are pulling Groucho.
Hey! You've got the wrong swine.
Harpo whistles, standing with a lampshade over his head.
Take that off. I know you.

Harpo whistles and runs away, colliding with Chico and Zeppo.
Company fall in, right about face, forward march!
They exit.

Josephine Napoleon, what are you going to do to them?

Napoleon Look at them down there in the courtyard. The firing squad will soon give you my answer.
Groucho does a horse laugh. A first shot is heard offstage.
There goes Alphonse.
A second shot is heard offstage.
There goes François.
A third shot is heard offstage.
There goes Gaston.
After the third shot, two soldiers in their underwear run across stage followed by Harpo and Chico in their underwear! Harpo fires two more shots onstage at soldiers. Music cue

This script comes from Mad Mad Mad Comedians, a 30 minute cel animated special produced by Arthur Rankin, Jr. and Jules Bass, screened at 8:30 pm in 7 April 1970 by ABC. The show featured animated versions of famous comics like W.C. Fields, Jack Benny, George Burns, Henny Youngman, The Smothers Brothers, Flip Wilson, Phyllis Diller, Jack E. Leonard, George Jessel, and the Marx Brothers. All of them provided the voices for their own characters except for W.C. Fields and Chico (who had passed away) and Zeppo (who retired from showbiz in 1933). Those voices were done by Paul Frees. Joan Gardner played Josephine

In retrospect it's a pity that Zeppo didn't do his own voice since he was still around in 1970. I don't know if was asked to do it or not. Another note of interest is that in this version, Zeppo and Chico has switched parts so that Zeppo plays Francois and Chico plays Alphonse.

Romeo Muller is credited as having written "special material" for the show, but the script for the Napoleon scene was probably supplied by Groucho. Although not remembered by the general public, Mad Mad Mad Comedians at the time gave producers Rankin/Bass their highest ratings ever. This version of the "Napoleon Scene" is available in Real Audio on Frank Bland's "Why A Duck"-site, in the Streaming Audio Files section.





I'LL SAY SHE IS!