Marx, Harpo - 1934 Signed Harp Recital Program w/ 1934 Orig. Still Photo
A one page. 5 3/4 x 12 "Harp Recital" program, given by the "Pupils of Mildred Dilling", at the auditorium of the "Spence School", 22 East 91st street, NYC. This programs dates to June 2nd, 1934
Signed and inscribed by Harpo Mark, in blue fountain pen, in the upper left corner,
"To Karl Mikus from, Harpo Marx"
An Irene Mikus, is listed as playing and ending the first set of the program, with a number entitled, "Surprise Interlude". Could the surprise have been an appearance by Harpo? Was Karl maybe Irene Mikus's brother? Interesting thoughts to ponder!
Two horizontal storage folds,. One small border tear lower right edge. Otherwise very fine and rare. One of a kind item. The Harp / Harpo Marx connection is fabulous.
Comes with an original 1934 8x10 news paper glossy still photo. Surface damage including crackling to the surface and a loss of emulsion spot above Harpo's hat. Two Lower corner bends. Displays well viewed head on. A very rare image in what would be categorized as "Just Good" condition.
Numerous notations and back stamps on verso, with the oldest stamp dated to, Nov. 26, 1934.
Some background on Mildred Dilling and her relation to Harpo:
Mildred Dilling (February 23, 1894 – December 30, 1982) was an American harpist. She studied under Henriette Renié in Paris. She first started performing in 1911, and traveled over 30,000 miles per year at her busiest. She performed with many notable vocalists, had her own weekly NBC radio show, and appeared on the Bing Crosby radio show. She toured Europe and Asia multiple times, and often performed internationally. She enthusiastically championed the harp and gave many celebrities their first harp lesson, including Harpo Marx. In 1962 she helped found the American Harp Society. She devised a lever system for a non-pedal harp that made it more portable than a pedal harp but which allowed flexibility in harp tuning. Her extensive harp collection is held partially by Indiana University, and harp students still use two of her harp music compilations.
From the The New Yorker, February 3, 1940 profile of Mildred Dilling;
Harpo came into into her life in 1928, when the Marx Brothers were appearing locally in "Animal Crackers." She was in a music store trying out Poenitz's "Music Box" on a new harp, when Harpo walked up and said, "Lady, learn me that."
In this same article, Miss Dilling further tells about his harp lessons, which he continued even when he was in Hollywood;
He would telephone Miss D. at midnight, forgetting that was 3 o'clock in N.Y., draw his harp close to the mouthpiece so she could listen to him. She had to drag her harp to the phone and play back to California. Once he stuck a wad of chewing gum under her chair. She kept it there for good luck, until she told the boys at Hill School about it, and they stole the gum.