The worst thing about Turner Classic Movies is their theme business. I don't understand artificial excitement ("Every Tuesday this month: Movies About Twine"). But then, y'know, I'd rather just have the three day weekend and skip the holiday, too. The worst is August, when the do the star-of-the-day bit and you get to see just how many clunkers Kate Hepburn made.
But this month it's comedies, which is a very good thing. Buster Keaton two-reelers on the other late night. I'm a lifelong Buster fan. I'm not sure how far back it goes or where it came from--he had a teevee show in the early days, but that was before my time. But I distinctly remember The Great Stone Face from early childhood, especially "One Week", where he and his new bride (Buster frequently had a new bride) try to build a prefabricated house. Unlike Chaplin's music-hall artiface, Keaton's movies seem somehow personal, a celuloid precursor to "Borges and I", small obsessions turned into stagey mannerisms which in this case are actually on the stage.
I do remember where I first saw the Marx Brothers: the afternoon movies hosted by Frances Farmer. Frances ended her days in Indianapolis after running out of money doing summer stock. She was notoriously drunk, they say (I was just a kid; all grown-ups seemed loopy to me). Nobody knew what she'd gone through until she got cancer and her largely fictional autobiography came out. There's a former local "personality" who was supposedly her close friend I see in the grocery store from time to time. We make small talk. I think he used to be happy for the attention, but now this grizzled prospector probably reminds him of how long ago it's been. I've always been careful not to say, "I watched you when I was a kid." Never asked him about Frances, though. Maybe someday I will.