“When Groucho [Marx] went to New York City, he made a point of always visiting his [financial] adviser.
“Years after the [Stock Market] crash, the adviser one day asked Groucho if he would like to see the New York Stock Exchange. It turned out that the comic could neither forgive, nor forget. After watching the trading for a few minutes from the visitors’ gallery, Groucho stood up on his chair and began belting out ‘When Irish Eyes Are Smiling’ at the top of lungs.
“The traders stopped their work to look up at the nut in the gallery. They didn’t recognize Groucho without his mustache. The adviser tried to stop his friend, saying, ‘Groucho, I’m afraid they don’t appreciate clowning in the Stock Exchange.’
“But Groucho kept going. A guard told him to be quiet or he would call the police.
“‘Listen, you crooks,’ Groucho shouted, now that he had everyone’s attention. ‘You wiped me out of $250,000 in 1929. For that kind of dough, I think I’m entitled to sing if I want to.’”
Groucho Marx was free to joke about his experiences during the Stock Market crash of 1929. Despite his losses, he still remained financially secure as the mustachioed, cigar-chomping, quick-witted member of the famous Marx Brothers comedy team. For many other people who played the Market, however, there was little to smile about.
For much of 1929, it seemed as though the get-rich-quick world of the Stock Market was limitless in potential. Any average person with a few dollars could invest in stocks and come out a millionaire. As more and more people joined the rush to Wall Street, stock prices soared to record highs. Americans began to take out bank loans and to risk their life savings in order to buy more and more. Then came “Black Thursday.”
Six Days in October, by Karen Blumenthal, details the week that changed the financial situation of millions of Americans, as well as many people throughout the world. In addition, Blumenthal addresses some of the myths and misunderstandings that came out of the Stock Market Crash.