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A Legal Laugh

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Welcome to winter and sub zero temps. With that in mind, we thought a little "legal humor" would nice.

For that, we turned to one of America's all time favorite comedians, Groucho Marx. In 1946 Groucho became embroiled in a legal dispute with Warner Brothers. Being Groucho, rather than hire a lawyer, he decided to handle the matter himself in classic fashion.

Casablanca was released in 1942 by Warner Brothers. It starred Ingrid Bergman and Humphrey Bogart. Four years later, The Marx Brothers planned to release A Night in Casablanca. Warner Brothers wanted the Marx Brothers to change the name of the movie, so Groucho wrote a letter to Warner Brothers. Here is a snippet of the letter:

"Dear Warner Brothers,

Apparently there is more than one way of conquering a city and holding it as your own. For example, up to the time that we contemplated making this picture, I had no idea that the city of Casablanca belonged exclusively to Warner Brothers. However, it was only a few days after our announcement appeared that we received your long, ominous legal document warning us not to use the name Casablanca.

I just don’t understand your attitude. Even if you plan on releasing your picture, I am sure that the average movie fan could learn in time to distinguish between Ingrid Bergman and Harpo. I don’t know whether I could, but I certainly would like to try.

I have a hunch that his attempt to prevent us from using the title is the brainchild of some ferret-faced shyster, serving a brief apprenticeship in your legal department. I know the type well—hot out of law school, hungry for success, and too ambitious to follow the natural laws of promotion. This bar sinister probably needled your attorneys, most of whom are fine fellows with curly black hair, double-breasted suits, etc., into attempting to enjoin us. Well, he won’t get away with it! We’ll fight him to the highest court! No pasty-faced legal adventurer is going to cause bad blood between the Warners and the Marxes. We are all brothers under the skin, and we’ll remain friends till the last reel of “A Night in Casablanca