Why "Why A Duck"?
"Why A Duck?" @ marx-brothers.org
I named this site "Why A Duck?" simply because I wanted a catchy name that would be instantly recognizable to other fans and make them feel like part of a club that would have them as a member. The "Why A Duck?" routine from the Marxes' first picture came instantly to mind as filling the bill in this regard, and it has been the name of this place ever since.
The story behind the creation of this site dedicated to The Marx Brothers may be long, but I think you will find it most uninteresting.
In the summer of 1995, I got my first true Internet account with Web access. In my initial excitement, one of the first things I tried was a search for material about the Marx Brothers. To say I was disappointed in what I turned up would be an understatement. After checking various search engines, I found one sound site that hadn't been updated in over a year, and a HTML instructional site on a college server that had a token bit about the brothers being used simply as an example of how to write HTML.
I decided that if anything was to be done about this sorry state of affairs I would have to do it myself. So, armed only with my (admittedly meager) knowledge of the Marx Brothers and a HTML editor provided by America Online, I learned how to write HTML and posted the beginnings of this site in a single weekend. It wasn't much at first...A few small pics and some sounds I sampled from a Marx Brothers LP narrated by Gary Owens was all I had to offer. But it was a start. Within a few weeks, after having registered at a couple of search sites, the email started trickling in and I began expanding the site to include synopses of the films and transcriptions of a few favorite scenes.
By early 1996 I started getting noticed by reviewers. These reviewers were all very complimentary, and quite helpful in suggesting improvements -- so were the rest of my visitors. By the middle of the year I had added several other sections to the site. Jay Hopkins offered to give me his comprehensive listing of Marx TV Appearances and I added a short Marx Chronology, a Selected Bibliography, and a Roster of all the fans who were kind enough to contact me. (The roster has been removed since the Children's Online Privacy Protection Rule (COPPA) went into effect, but will soon be replaced with a standard guestbook.)
By this time I was far from alone. The number of web sites dedicated to the Marxes had been growing steadily since the winter of 1995/96 and, thanks to Teej, who began the first-ever Marx Brothers Internet Mailing List (hosted by Panix) at around this time, we had all become one big happy family. My Fan Roster was growing by leaps and bounds, and I continued adding new content; my site was serving over a hundred visitors each day and this number has continued to grow steadily.
All of which brings us to where we are today. While America Online met my needs for the first couple of years, I decided early in 1998 that it was time to register a domain and move the site to a provider that could offer me some of the spiffier features available. So, through the kind assistance of CIHost, I am now able to offer full site searches, real-time chats, audio streaming, and a host of other features that were previously prohibitively priced. Thanks to all the folks who have supported me over the past few years, I am happy to offer one of the finest Marxist sites on the Internet. And I'm confident that the combination of my host's technical capabilities and my own knowledge (and that of my visitors) will enable me to serve the Web needs of Marxists well into the next century. What started out as a reactionary measure in response to what I considered a lack of vital information on the Internet has become a bona fide passion.
If you've read this far, I'd just like to close by saying that I've had a hell of a time working on this site and getting to know all of you over the past few years. All I hope is to make this space interesting enough to keep you visiting often. Hail Freedonia!
©1995-2006, Frank M. Bland
The pages under www.marx-brothers.org/whyaduck were originally created by Frank Bland for his site www.whyaduck.com. Frank did kindly give me permission to use the contents of his site.
If you find text referring to "I" or "me" on pages under www.marx-brothers.org/whyaduck, this will usually refer to Frank.