Matthew Brown: Where, and on what, will I sleep?

Jun. 4—Last year, it was one Monty Python reference after another.

This time, I go back to the cinema of the early 1930s and some foreshadowing to the events of 2024.

It seems like we've been living in a 'what's it gonna look like?' world for a few years now. This could apply to any walk of life, new technologies popping up every minute, but, do remember, this is a sports section, so that's where we will keep the focus.

I'm going to share three segments of dialogue from a movie released in 1932, and I've always been amazed at how these discussions could be happening in real life in any era since then.

The movie is the Marx Brothers classic "Horse Feathers," and a central aspect of the plot is a college football team. Groucho plays the college president. His real brother Zeppo plays his son, a student at the college. Their two brothers play either ice deliverymen, chasers of stray dogs or givers of voice lessons, which is interesting since one of them never talks.

Honk! Honk!

Now, what a horse's feathers have to do with college football, I don't know. Then again, how that elephant I shot in my pajamas got in my pajamas I don't know either.

The parties of the first part of this re-creation are father and son:

"Dad, this college has had a new president every year since 1888. And that's the year we won our last football game. Now, I like education as well as the next fellow..."

"Well, move over and I'll talk to the next fellow."

"But a college needs something else besides education. What this college needs is a good football team. And you can't have a good football team unless you have good football players."

"My boy, I think you've got something there, and I'll wait outside until you clean it up. I know it's dangerous, but I'm gonna ask you one more question. Where do you get good football players?"

"Well, in the speakeasy down..."

"In a speakeasy? Isn't that against the law? Selling football players in a speakeasy?"

"Dad, two of the greatest football players in the country hang out in the speakeasy downtown."

"Are you suggesting that I, the president of Huxley College, go into a speakeasy without even giving me the address?"

"It's at 42 Elm Street, but you can't go there. It's unethical. It isn't right for a college to buy football players."

Maybe he's onto something there? About the good football team, not the ethics.

The next text takes us to that speakeasy — a bar operating during Prohibition, another great All-American idea — where the president thinks he's found those great football players:

"Now, let's get down to business. I'm looking for two football players who always hang around here."

"We always hang around here, but..."

"That's all I wanted to know. I'm Professor Wagstaff of Huxley College."

"That means nothing to me."

"It doesn't mean anything to me either. I'll try it over again. I'm Professor Huxley of Wagstaff College."

"Well, you didn't stay at the other college very long."

"You're heading for a breakdown. Why don't you pull yourself to pieces."

"I'll talk it over with my partner."

After some of his partner's antics, like turning a pay phone into a slot machine ...

"In case I never see you again, which would add 10 years to my life, what would you fellows want to play football?"

"First, we want a football."

"I don't know if we've got a football. But if I can find one, would you be interested? I don't want a hasty answer. Just sleep on it."

"I don't think I can sleep on a football."

Oh, I can imagine Vince Dooley having similar conversations with future Bulldogs. Every college president in the country (except in Alaska, where there is no college football, and I suppose no indoor plumbing either) could be having this conversation in a faculty meeting:

"And I say to you, gentlemen, that this college is a failure. The trouble is we're neglecting football for education."

"Exactly. The Professor is right."

"I'm right, am I? Well, I'm not right. I'm wrong. I just said that to test you. Now I know where I'm at. I'm dealing with a couple of snakes. What I meant to say was that there's too much football and not enough education."

"That's what I think."

"Oh, you do, do you? Well, you're wrong again. If there was a snake here, I'd apologize. Where would this college be without football? Have we got a stadium?"


"Have we got a college?"


"We can't support both. Tomorrow we start tearing down the college."

"But, Professor, where will the students sleep?"

"Where they always sleep. In the classroom."

Send all complaints to the law firm of Dewey, Cheatum and Howe (hey, that's a Three Stooges reference you numbskull!). Now you see what kind of influences I had growing up. And, since I don't personally get one red cent from them, you see how seriously I'm taking the NCAA lawsuit settlement news and other court actions attempting to alter the college sports landscape.

(If at all possible, give pet adoption a try through the Animal Rescue Foundation in Milledgeville. Donations of any kind are also in great need. ARF is a little red building at 711 S. Wilkinson St., and more information is available at