Groucho glasses attempt falls short ... by a nose

May 08, 2006|by DAVE McMILLION

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - Well, at least 221 people gave it a try.

An attempt Sunday afternoon to break the Guinness world record for the most people wearing Groucho Marx glasses fell short by more than 1,000 people.

Organizer Jon Jack said the outcome was kind of a letdown, but he was grateful for all the people he met.

"We missed it by a lot, but I still feel good," Jack said after the event at Martinsburg Mall.

Jack pushed the idea of breaking the record as part of a fundraiser associated with Relay for Life, a walking event designed to raise money for cancer research.


People were encouraged to show up for the event, make a donation and receive a free pair of Groucho Marx glasses.

They had to wear the glasses for 10 minutes in the attempt to break the record.

Jack said he and other organizers were trying to come up with a way to raise money and one idea fell through.

Then Jack read in the Guinness World Records that the record for the most people wearing Groucho Marx glasses was 947.

"I thought it was absurd. We could do it just as well," Jack said he thought at the time.

Jack discovered in the online version of the record book that the record for people wearing the glasses was 1,437, so his group set out to top that mark.

When the counting was over Sunday, the local attempt to break the record stood at 221 people.

The event started Sunday afternnon when people began streaming into the Martinsburg Mall and signing up for the event. Parents, kids and local personalities - like Miss Berkeley County Jessica Morrison - stood around in the disguises, which are marked by a big nose, black mustache and black, bushy eyebrows.

"I think it's a great way to raise money," Betty Whetzel said, sporting her pair of the glasses. "I like to people-watch, so I thought it would be interesting," said Whetzel, of Inwood, W.Va.

"It's for a real good cause," said Delmar Barrett of Martinsburg.

Besides, Barrett was a Groucho fan.

"He was in my era," Barrett said.

The crowd moved to a large barricaded area in the parking lot for the 10-minute wearing period. While the crowd stood, Jack drew numbers for prizes. About $1,000 was raised, Jack said.

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