Harpo Marx takes a ride in a WWI biplane

Posted by David on July 14, 2009 11:39 PM

Harpo MarxFrance, 1928

"Somebody told me that the only way to get a true picture of the Riviera was to see it from the air. A bird's eye view of the coast, they said, was a thing of unforgettable beauty. So one Sunday I drove over to the Cannes airport, where they advertised plane rides for fifty francs a spin.

The plane was a survivor from World War One, an open-cockpit Salmson biplane held together with splints and patches. Since I was so short, the pilot put a wooden box on the seat for me, so I could see over the rim of my cockpit all right. I saw over it, all right. I stuck out of the cockpit like an Eskimo in a kayak, more out than in, and I spent the whole flight hanging on for dear life to a wire strut. My birds-eye view of the Riviera was a close-up of the knuckles of my right fist, beyond which I didn't have the nerve to look, and the beauty of which was quite forgettable.

That was one thing I tried only once."

Salmson at Warvillers, May 25, 1918 (courtesy Rosebud's)Salmson at Warvillers, May 25, 1918 (courtesy Rosebud's)

(from "Harpo Speaks")