Earlier this year, I was editing and summarizing a report from The Freedonia Group regarding potential growth in commercial refrigeration. (See “Demand for Refrigeration Equipment to Increase” for that story.) The group describes itself as “a leading international business research company, founded in 1985, that publishes more than 100 industry research studies annually.”

That name rang a loud bell with me — and not because it had anything to do with refrigeration. It just so happens that ‘Freedonia’ has a rather significant meaning beyond being the name of the company.

It also happens to be the name of a small, bankrupt country being threatened with takeover by the neighboring country of Sylvania.

Now, followers of the daily news from a global perspective need not get into a dither over this situation even though it seems to parallel real-world developments of recent months.

This is because Freedonia is a mythical country conjured up by the Marx Brothers in their 1933 film ‘Duck Soup.’ In the movie Rufus T. Firefly (Groucho Marx) is made leader of Freedonia in order to get financial help from a wealthy woman who Rufus/Groucho woos as only Groucho can. The other Marx brothers, Chico and Harpo, are Sylvania spies trying to dig up dirt on Rufus. (Probably not a tough task.)

Chaos ensues throughout this classic film. (You young folks hooked on Adam Sandler, Seth Rogan, and Steve Carell should really watch ‘Duck Soup’ to see what pure non-stop crazy comedy looks like.)

Anyhow, the Facebook page of The Freedonia Group says the name was inspired by the movie. So, in addition to doing sober research, it looks like the company has a good sense of humor.