One Night of Indecency! — Marx Brothers in Lanark

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One Night of Indecency!  — Marx Brothers in Lanark

There were seven brothers were: Robert (R. W.), Thomas (Tom), Joseph (Joe), Ernest (Ernie), John, MacIntyre (Mac), and Alexander (Alec).

April 03, 1902 Lanark

Marks Bros., the peoples choice, Kings of Repertoire, Drama and Vaudeville, played to a packed house in the Lanark Village town hall, Monday evening. The hall was filled half an hour after the doors opened and many people were turned away. Local crowds were looking forward to favourites of the footlights, faith in their great reputation.

From time to time they have come this way, and reports told of artistic presentations of the dramatic art to immense audiences in the great cities of the Dominion and the United States. There was a huge desire to see a real show, on their return to Lanark Village after an absence of ten years.

But pride took a mighty fall, faith was destroyed and the end desire was disappointment. The Marks’ idol was shattered. The show was almost unanimously agreed to be the worst ever given in Lanark County by those who had seen them many times.

Surely these people can serve entertainment, after all these years of tuition, than the vile stuff dished out on Monday night. Jokes, the most coarse and vulgar inflicted by people who cast a slur and reproach upon the name occupied– an all too prominent part of the unfortunately planned program.

True, there were some good natures. The bicycle act, the singing of May A. Bell Marks, tha dancing of Master George, the ballads of Miss Minnie Bell were among the good things. But those were completely lost sight of in the flow of low gags and snide dialogue between a team of young men having the brazen effrontery to style themselves as comedians.

It was only by a great effort at self contrul and out of respect to the management that these men were not hissed off the stage. Many people wished to leave the hall and were only prevented from doing so by not desiring to cause unnecessary comment.

Lanark can enjoy good clean entertainment and will patronize it cheerfully —but to be treated to a vaudeville performance having acts of the bum variety will not go down with the people of this town. Scores who have witnessed the Marks’ Bros, performances in other towns could scarcely believe to be the same management that handled this show and cannot yet understand what motive they have in allowing their names to be identified with themselves held responsible for such an act. Nothing but shady performers whose work is an affront to the intelect,intelligence and common decency.

The story goes that in 1878, King Kennedy, a magician, was playing to a small crowd in Maberly, Ontario.  Afterward, a brash young man offered to take over Kennedy’s management, for a percentage on every ticket he sold above the dismal crowd in Maberly.  Robert Marks’s career as a theatre entrepreneur was born. Within two years, he had purchased the Emma Wells stock company, was joined by brothers Tom, Joe and Ernie and the Marks Brothers Dramatic Company was created.

From the 1870s into the 1920s, Perth, Ontario’s Marks Brothers Dramatic Company toured much of North America.

The last of the performing Marks, R. W.’s son Robert Jr., who was a stage veteran at the age of three, passed away in the early 1980s, leaving  his collection of Marks memorabilia to the Perth Museum. Read more here– CLICK

Frisky Marks Bros. Husband

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The Lanark Era
Lanark, Ontario, Canada
09 Jun 1897, Wed  •  Page 1


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The Lanark Era
Lanark, Ontario, Canada
11 Mar 1908, Wed  •  Page 1
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The Lanark Era
Lanark, Ontario, Canada
19 Mar 1902, Wed  •  Page 1

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The Lanark Era
Lanark, Ontario, Canada
10 Apr 1907, Wed  •  Page 1
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The Lanark Era
Lanark, Ontario, Canada
08 Sep 1909, Wed  •  Page 4

also read-MY LIFE WITH THE ORIGINAL MARKS BROTHERS

Ontario’s Version of the Marks Bros-Tales of the Queen’s Hotel

The Story of Ms. Kitty Marks

Travelling Shows on the Rural Stage

What’s Happening at Christie Lake June 23, 1899

Peg O My Heart — Gracie Mark’s Belt

What’s Happening at Christie Lake June 23, 1899

The Killarney of Canada in Lanark County

About lindaseccaspina

Before she laid her fingers to a keyboard, Linda was a fashion designer, and then owned the eclectic store Flash Cadilac and Savannah Devilles in Ottawa on Rideau Street from 1976-1996. She also did clothing for various media and worked on “You Can’t do that on Television”. After writing for years about things that she cared about or pissed her off on American media she finally found her calling. She is a weekly columnist for the Sherbrooke Record and documents history every single day and has over 6500 blogs about Lanark County and Ottawa and an enormous weekly readership. Linda has published six books and is in her 4th year as a town councillor for Carleton Place. She believes in community and promoting business owners because she believes she can, so she does.

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