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Oscar
Fictional Character
"Hail! Hail!"
POD: December 15, 1826
Type of Appearance: Direct
Nationality: United States
Occupation: Railroad Porter
Professional Affiliations: Sunset Limited

Oscar was a Pullman porter with the Sunset Limited from Los Angeles to New Orleans. In 1934, he was assigned to the Pullman rented by the Marx Brothers. He gave them information on the train and its progress East.[1]

The train encountered torrential storms as it entered Texas. Oscar informed the Marx Brothers that the rains washed out the bridge between Houston and Beaumont, and the train would now have to detour through Nacogdoches for re-coaling before continuing east on a different route.[2] The brothers then shared the story of their last visit to Nacogdoches in 1912. Julius, Leonard, and Arthur (along with Milton, who was not present) had played there when they were a struggling song-and-dance act. Most of their audience ran out in the middle of the show to view a runaway mule. Irate, Julius began to insult the audience who remained. However, the audience misunderstood, and thought Julius was simply doing a comedy bit, and began laughing hard. The Marx Brothers realized they were better comics than song-and-dance men, and so adopted their new act. Oscar for his part, was amused by the fact that the Marx Brothers had not been comedians all along.[3]

When the train arrived in Nacogdoches, Oscar learned that the station wasn't ready with the new coal, and informed the Marx Brothers. With nothing better, the Marx Brothers decided to go downtown and look at the Old Opera House where they'd first hit it big. Oscar told them he would have the conductor blow the train whistle three times when the train was ready to leave. The plan in place, the Marx Brothers headed out into the town.[4]

As 1934 was a more enlightened time, Oscar did not have to call himself "George" as Pullman porters were once required to do.[5]

ReferencesEdit

  1. "Hail! Hail!", loc. 38, ebook.
  2. Ibid, loc. 114.
  3. Ibid, loc. 114-138.
  4. Ibid., loc. 162-178.
  5. Ibid., loc. 38, ebook.
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