Zeppo Marx and his imported Afghan hounds
Asra Of Ghazni and Westmill Omar
(by Steve Tillotson and Lyall Payne July 2015, Dec 2016)
1. JULY 2015/DECEMBER 2016 EXCITING NEW INFORMATION AND PHOTOGRAPHS DISCOVERED
The new/exciting research findings include -
These new photographs provide different views/angles of these two important USA Foundation hounds which helps us gain a better understanding of their
- July 2015 - Article by Phyllis Robson describing how she met Zeppo Marx and helped him acquire his Afghan hounds
- July 2015 - Photos of Westmill Omar taken in England in 1930 and 1931 before he was sold to Zeppo Marx and exported to the USA
- July 2015 - Photo of Harpo Marx with Westmill Omar and Azra Of Ghazni, taken in Los Angeles July 1930
- Dec 2016 - Photo of Mr and Mrs Zeppo Marx walking an Afghan hound (Ch Azri Havid of Ghazni) in Hyde Park, London February 1931
- Dec 2016 - Photo of Evalyn Knapp with Westmill Omar and Azra of Ghazni, taken in Los Angeles, June 1931
conformation details. The additional information involves the story of how Zeppo Marx visited Phyllis Robson in her office at "Dog World" in the UK and
how she helped them select and purchase their two hounds.
Westmill Omar, England, 1931 and 1930
|Rare photo of Harpo Marx with Omar and Asra|
In the above photo the reporter erroneously states that Zeppo had just bought a Champion Afghan - actually he brought two puppies
|Rare photo of Mr and Mrs Zeppo Marx with Afghan hound (Ch Azri Havid of Ghazni) in England 1931|
photo above shows him walking CH Azri-Havid of Ghazni (owned and not sold on by Phyllis Robson)
|Rare photo of Evelyn Knapp with Westmill Omar and Azra of Ghazni, Los Angeles 1931|
2. PHYLLIS ROBSON'S IMPORTANT ROLE IN THE INTRODUCTION OF THE BREED TO THE USA
It is well known that Phyllis Robson assisted Zeppo Marx in finding the two afghan hounds he took back with him to California. Herebelow, in Phyllis Robsons own words, is the story of the acquisition. This was published in the Kennel Review in December 1940, part of an article on the Dellire afghan hounds. Robson article is as follows -
"I often wonder if Afghanites over here appreciate how much Ch Westmill Omar and Asra Of Ghazni have done for the breed in America - whenevr I see a pedigree it is ten to one these dogs are mentioned. How they came to California is as follows:
One day a very nice young man and a pretty wife called on me in London. I did not catch their name, they wasnted to talk about Afghans and that was enough for me. They told me they'd been round the pet shops but could not see anything they liked - in one shop they saw a copy of the Dog World giving my address as Editor so popped into a taxi and came along to ask my help. They told me they wanted a dog and a bitch that they could breed from and with good coats and light coloured
We must have talked for half an hour and I drew up a list of kennels I suggested I would visit with them and then somehow California was mentioned and the young man siad, "You know I only work six months in the year." "Aren't you lucky," I replied, and just what do you work at?" He said "Films," so I said, "Do you mind telling me your name" He said "Marx". Then knowledge came to me as the Marx Brothrs were fulfilling a contract in London and I said "Dont tell me you are one of the Marx Brothers." To which he replied "Yes I am, I am Zeppo." So I replied "Well, don't you mention your name when you go round the kennels, we'll ask prices and if they are too high I will tip you the wink."
We started off early on a Sunday morning and first brought Asra, and finished up at the Westmill Kennels where Mr and Mrs Marx fell in love with Omar. I little thought how prominent a part these dogs would play in Afghan history - I warned the Marx's that the coats would reuire a lot of attention and I think this was the cause of their parting with them later on.
These sales did the breed a lot of good in England as they got any amount of publicity and all the London papers carried pictures of Mr and Mrs Marx walking in Hyde Park with their Afghans and they even appeared on the stage with them. Incidentally I lent them my own champion to be photographed with and was reproached that I should have sold a dog I loved so dearly - till I explained.
I only mention this, because in every Afghan kennel I have visited these two dogs are always in the pedigree and Dr Marxmiller has got a double cross on their blood, as well as that of the illustrious Ch. Sirdar Of Ghazni, always pronounced to bt the perfect dog, except for one one thing - size. He measured only twenty-four inches but this was because he broke his leg when a puppy in Afghanistan, had it badly set up in the hills and reborken and reset when he came down to Cabul - enough to stop any puppy's growth."
(Phyllis Robson, Kennel Review, December 1940)
Early Afghan Hounds Section
Phyllis Robson Article
Q A Shaw Mckean Prides Hill Kennel
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