Marx Brothers: Wikis

  
  
  
  
  

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The Marx Brothers were an American family comedy act, originally from New York City, that enjoyed success in Vaudeville, Broadway, and motion pictures from the early 1900s to around 1950. Five of the Marx Brothers’ thirteen feature films were selected by the American Film Institute as among the top 100 comedy films, with two of them (Duck Soup and A Night at the Opera) in the top twelve.
The core of the act was the three elder brothers, Chico, Harpo, and Groucho; each developed a highly distinctive stage persona. .The two younger brothers, Gummo and Zeppo, did not develop their stage characters to the same extent, and eventually left the act to pursue other careers.^ There can be no doubt that the love of wealth and the spirit of moderation cannot exist together in citizens of the same state to any considerable extent; one or the other will be disregarded.
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^ The character of the son begins to develope when he hears his mother complaining that her husband has no place in the government, of which the consequence is that she has no precedence among other women.
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^ But when either of the two other principles prevails, it fails in attaining its own pleasure, and compels the rest to pursue after a pleasure which is a shadow only and which is not their own?
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.Gummo was not in any of the movies; Zeppo appeared only in the first five.^ Cephalus appears in the introduction only, Polemarchus drops at the end of the first argument, and Thrasymachus is reduced to silence at the close of the first book.
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Groucho, Gummo, Minnie (mother), Zeppo, Frenchy (father), Chico and Harpo in 1915.

Contents

Early life

.Born in New York City, the Marx Brothers were the sons of Jewish immigrants from Germany and France.^ New York Jewish Week, The .
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Their mother, Minnie Schönberg, was from Dornum in East Frisia; and their father, Simon Marx (whose name was changed to Samuel Marx, and who was nicknamed "Frenchy") was a native of Alsace and worked as a tailor.[1][2][3] The family lived in the then-poor Yorkville section of New York City's Upper East Side, between the Irish, German, and Italian quarters.

Brothers

The brothers were:
Stage name Actual name Born Died Age
Chico Leonard March 22, 1887 October 11, 1961[4] 74
Harpo Adolph (after 1911: Arthur) November 23, 1888 September 28, 1964[5] 75
Groucho Julius Henry October 2, 1890 August 19, 1977[6] 86
Gummo Milton October 23, 1893[7] April 21, 1977[8] 83
Zeppo Herbert February 25, 1901 November 30, 1979[9] 78
.A sixth brother, Manfred, was actually the first child of Sam and Minnie to be born, in 1886.[10][11] Manfred died in infancy before any of the performing Marx Brothers were born.^ It is quite possible that a child born at one hymeneal festival may marry one of its own brothers or sisters, or even one of its parents, at another.
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Stage beginnings

1911 newspaper advertisement for a Marx Brothers appearance.
The brothers were from a family of artists, and their musical talent was encouraged from an early age. .Harpo was hopelessly untalented on the guitar and piano (he boasts in his autobiography that he only knew two songs, and that he could only play them with one finger); however, he became a dedicated harpist, which gave him his nickname.^ But our State in which one man 398 plays one part only is not adapted for complexity.
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^ And even if injustice be found in two only, will they not quarrel and fight, and become enemies to one another and to the just?
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^ God, whether from choice or from necessity, made one bed in nature and one only; two or more such ideal beds neither ever have been nor ever will be made by God.
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[12] Chico was an excellent pianist, Groucho a guitarist and singer, and Zeppo a vocalist. They got their start in vaudeville, where their uncle Albert Schönberg performed as Al Shean of Gallagher and Shean. Groucho's debut was in 1905, mainly as a singer. By 1907, he and Gummo were singing together as "The Three Nightingales" with Mabel O'Donnell. The next year, Harpo became the fourth Nightingale and by 1910, the group was expanded to include their mother Minnie and their Aunt Hannah. The troupe was renamed "The Six Mascots". A cousin of the Marx brothers was Mary Livingstone {b.Sadye Marks 1905-d.1983}, who married comedian Jack Benny.

Comedy

One evening in 1912, a performance at the Opera House in Nacogdoches, Texas was interrupted by shouts from outside about a runaway mule. The audience hurried outside to see what was happening. .When they returned, Groucho, angered by the interruption, made snide comments about the audience, including "Nacogdoches is full of roaches" and "The jackass is the flower of Tex-ass". Instead of becoming angry, the audience laughed.^ But suppose that we allow the term ‘thirst’ or ‘desire’ to be modified, and say an ‘angry thirst,’ or a ‘revengeful desire,’ then the two spheres of desire and anger overlap and become confused.
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The family then realized they had potential as a comic troupe.[13]
The act slowly evolved from singing with comedy to comedy with music. Their sketch "Fun in Hi Skule" featured Groucho as a German-accented teacher presiding over a classroom that included students Harpo, Gummo, and Chico. The last version of the school act, titled Home Again, was written by Al Shean. At about this time, Gummo left to serve in World War I, reasoning that "anything is better than being an actor!"[14] Zeppo replaced him in their final vaudeville years and in the jump to Broadway, and then to Paramount films.
.During World War I, anti-German sentiments were common, and the family tried to conceal their German origin.^ We are told of similar mental peculiarities running in families, and again of a tendency, as in the animals, to revert to a common or original stock.
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After learning that farmers were excluded from the draft rolls, mother Minnie purchased a 27-acre poultry farm near Countryside, Illinois, but the brothers soon found that chicken ranching was not in their blood[15]. During this time, Groucho discontinued his "German" stage personality.
By this time, "The Four Marx Brothers" had begun to incorporate their unique style of comedy into their act and to develop their characters. .Both Groucho and Harpo's memoirs say their now famous on-stage personae were created by Al Shean.^ Now we are both agreed that justice is interest of some sort, but you go on to say ‘of the stronger’; about this addition I am not so sure, and must therefore consider further.
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Groucho began to wear his trademark greasepaint moustache and to use a stooped walk. Harpo stopped speaking onstage and began to wear a red fright wig and carry a taxi-cab horn. Chico spoke with a fake Italian accent, developed off-stage to deal with neighborhood toughs, while Zeppo adopted the role of the romantic (and "peerlessly cheesy", according to James Agee)[16] straight man.
The on-stage personalities of Groucho, Chico, and Harpo were said to have been based on their actual traits. Zeppo, on the other hand, was considered the funniest brother offstage, despite his straight stage roles. As the youngest, and having grown up watching his brothers, he could fill in for and imitate any of the others when illness kept them from performing. ."He was so good as Captain Spaulding [in Animal Crackers] that I would have let him play the part indefinitely, if they had allowed me to smoke in the audience", Groucho recalled.^ And will our pupils, when they hear this, refuse to take their turn at the toils of State, when they are allowed to spend the greater part of their time with one another in the heavenly light?
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^ He has had no education, or he would never have allowed the blind god of riches to lead the dance within him.
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^ Would he allow imitation to be the ruling principle of his life, as if he had nothing higher in him?
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(Zeppo did impersonate Groucho in the film version of Animal Crackers. .Groucho was unavailable to film the scene in which the Beaugard painting is stolen, so the script was contrived to include a power failure which allowed Zeppo to play the Spaulding part in near-darkness.^ We cannot allow men to play the parts of women, quarrelling, weeping, scolding, or boasting against the gods,—least of all when making love or in labour.
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^ Then mad or intemperate pleasure must never be allowed to come near the lover and his beloved; neither of them can have any part in it if their love is of the right sort?
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^ For my own part I openly declare that I am not convinced, and that I do not believe injustice to be more gainful than justice, even if uncontrolled and allowed to have free play.
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)[17]
By the 1920s, the Marx Brothers had become one of America's favorite theatrical acts. With their sharp and bizarre sense of humor, they satirized institutions such as high society and human hypocrisy. They also became famous for their improvisational comedy in free-form scenarios. A famous early instance was when Harpo arranged to chase a fleeing chorus girl across the stage during the middle of a Groucho monologue to see if Groucho would be thrown off. .However, to the audience's delight, Groucho merely reacted by calmly checking his watch and commenting, "First time I ever saw a taxi hail a passenger". When Harpo chased the girl back the other direction, Groucho ad-libbed, "The 9:20's right on time.^ The base of these (3) with a third added (4) when combined with five (20) and raised to the third power furnishes two harmonies; the first a square which is a hundred times as great (400 = 4 × 100), 3 and the other a figure having one side equal to the former, but oblong, 4 consisting of a hundred numbers squared upon rational diameters of a square (i.
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^ Yes, I said, but I must first come to an understanding with you, and remind you of what I have mentioned in the course of this discussion, and at many other times.
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^ Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.’ .
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You can set your watch by the Lehigh Valley."
.Under Chico's management, and with Groucho's creative direction, the brothers' vaudeville act had led to them becoming stars on Broadway, first with a musical revue, I'll Say She Is (1924–1925) and then with two musical comedies, The Cocoanuts (1925–1926) and Animal Crackers (1928–1929).^ But suppose that we allow the term ‘thirst’ or ‘desire’ to be modified, and say an ‘angry thirst,’ or a ‘revengeful desire,’ then the two spheres of desire and anger overlap and become confused.
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^ The care of the governors should be directed to preserve music and gymnastic from innovation; alter the songs of a country, Damon says, and you will soon end by altering its laws.
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^ The first education had two parts, music and gymnastic.
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Playwright George S. Kaufman worked on the last two and helped sharpen the Brothers' characterizations.
Out of their distinctive costumes the brothers looked alike, even down to their receding hairlines. Zeppo could pass for a younger Groucho, and played the role of his son in Horse Feathers. A scene in Duck Soup finds Groucho, Harpo, and Chico all appearing in the famous greasepaint eyebrows, mustache, and round glasses, while wearing nightcaps. The three are indistinguishable, enabling them to carry off the "mirror scene" perfectly.

Origin of the stage names

.The stage names for four of the five brothers were coined by monologist Art Fisher[16] during a poker game in Galesburg, Illinois, based both on the brothers' personalities and Gus Mager's Sherlocko the Monk, a popular comic strip of the day which included a supporting character named "Groucho". The reasons behind Chico's and Harpo's stage names are undisputed, and Gummo's is fairly well established.^ And so we get four names—two for intellect, and two for opinion,—reason or mind, understanding, faith, perception 534 of shadows—which make a proportion—being: becoming:: intellect: opinion—and science: belief:: understanding: perception of shadows.
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^ Both find a repose in a divine perfection, which, whether in a more personal or impersonal form, exists without them and independently of them, as well as within them.
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Groucho's and Zeppo's are far less clear. .Arthur was named Harpo because he played the harp, and Leonard became Chico (pronounced, and originally spelled, "Chick-o") because of his affinity for the ladies ("chicks", as in "My brother Leonard was a chicken-chaser").^ He has a charming fancy, like the affinities of Greeks and barbarians in the Timaeus, that the Utopians learnt the language of the Greeks with the more readiness because they were originally of the same race with them.
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[18]
In his autobiography, Harpo explains that Milton became Gummo because he crept about the theater like a gumshoe detective.[19] .Other sources report that Gummo was the family's hypochondriac, having been the sickliest of the brothers in childhood, and therefore wore rubber overshoes, also called gumshoes, in all kinds of weather.^ For this is he who is able to make not only vessels of every kind, but plants and animals, himself and all other things—the earth and heaven, and the things which are in heaven or under the earth; he makes the gods also.
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^ How then will he who takes up a shield or other implement of war become a good fighter all in a day, whether with heavy-armed or any other kind of troops?
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^ And, therefore, calculation and geometry and all the other elements of instruction, which are a preparation for dialectic, should be presented to the mind in childhood; not, however, under any notion of forcing our system of education.
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Groucho stated that the source of the name was Gummo wearing galoshes. Either way, the name relates to rubber-soled shoes.
The reason Julius was named Groucho is perhaps the most disputed. There are three explanations:
  • Julius' temperament. .Maxine, Chico's daughter and Groucho's niece, said in the documentary The Unknown Marx Brothers that Julius was named "Groucho" simply because he was grouchy most or all of the time.^ Of all things, he said, the most disgraceful.
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    ^ Nay, he said, the case of a city is the strongest of all, inasmuch as the rule of a city is the greatest and most difficult of all.
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    ^ Then the imitator, I said, is a long way off the truth, and can do all things because he lightly touches on a small part of them, and that part an image.
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    .Robert B. Weide, a director known for his knowledge of Marx Brothers history, said in Remarks On Marx, a documentary short included with the DVD of A Night at the Opera, that among the competing explanations he found this one the most believable.^ In like manner the good may be said to be not only the author of knowledge to all things known, but of their being and essence, and yet the good is not essence, but far exceeds essence in dignity and power.
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    ^ Yes, he said; I have been convinced by the argument, as I believe that any one else would have been.
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    ^ Between the Eleatic being or essence and the shadows of phenomena, the Pythagorean principle of number found a place, and was, as Aristotle remarks, a conducting medium from one to the other.
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    .Steve Allen, in Funny People, said that the name made no sense; Groucho might have been impudent and impertinent, but not grouchy — at least not around Allen.^ I think, I said, that there might be a reform of the State if only one change were made, which is not a slight or easy though still a possible one.
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    ^ Again, I said, there is no difficulty in seeing the nature of courage, and in what part that quality resides which gives the name of courageous to the State.
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    ^ No artist or sage or ruler errs at the time when he is what his name implies; though he is commonly said to err, and I adopted the common mode of speaking.
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    .However, at the very end of his life, Groucho finally admitted that Fisher had named him Groucho because he was the "moody one"[20]
  • The grouch bag.^ Every one will admit that the philosopher, in our description of him, is a rare being.
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    ^ Falling at his feet, they will make requests to him and do him honour and flatter him, because they want to get into their hands now, the power which he will one day possess.
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    ^ All things end in good to him, either in life or after death, even what appears to be evil; for the Gods have a care of him who desires to be in their likeness.
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    .This explanation appears in Harpo's biography, was voiced by Chico in a TV appearance included on The Unknown Marx Brothers, and was also offered by George Fenneman, Groucho's sidekick on his TV game show, You Bet Your Life. A grouch bag was a small drawstring bag worn around the neck in which a traveler could keep money and other valuables so that it would be very difficult for anyone to steal them.^ But then a director can hardly be found, and even if he could, as matters now stand, the students, who are very conceited, would not attend to him.
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    ^ Truly,’ he said, ‘injustice would not be very terrible if it brought a cessation of evil; but I rather believe that the injustice which murders others may tend to quicken and stimulate the life of the unjust.’ You are quite right.
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    ^ No, indeed, I replied; and the same is true of most, if not all, the other senses—you would not say that any of them requires such an addition?
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    .Most of Groucho's friends and associates stated that Groucho was extremely stingy, especially after losing all his money in the 1929 stock market crash, so naming him for the grouch bag may have been a comment on this trait.^ Had he in his lifetime friends who loved to associate with him, and who handed down to posterity an Homeric way of life, such as was established by Pythagoras who was so greatly beloved for his wisdom, and whose followers are to this day quite celebrated for the order which was named after him?
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    ^ Suppose then that we invite him to accompany us in the argument, and then we may hope to show him that there is nothing peculiar in the constitution of women which would affect them in the administration of the State.
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    ^ The greatest of all logical truths, and the one of which writers on philosophy are most apt to lose sight, the difference between words and things, has been most strenuously insisted on by him (cp.
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    Groucho, in chapter six of his first autobiography, insisted that this was not the case:
I kept my money in a 'grouch bag.' This was a small chamois bag that actors used to wear around their neck to keep other hungry actors from pinching their dough. .Naturally, you're going to think that's where I got my name from.^ Yes, indeed, my dear friend, but you will find that the natural desires of the drone commonly exist in him all the same whenever he has to spend what is not his own.
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^ Yes, I said, Glaucon, and of our governesses too; for you must not suppose that what I have been saying applies to men only and not to women as far as their natures can go.
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^ There, I said, I think that you are beginning to go wrong.
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But that's not so. Grouch bags were worn on manly chests long before there was a Groucho.
[21]
  • Groucho's explanation. Groucho himself insisted that he was named for a character in the comic strip, Knocko the Monk, which had inspired the craze for nicknames ending in O. In fact, there was a character in that strip named "Groucho." .However, he is the only Marx or Marx associate who ever defended this theory, and as he is not an unbiased witness, few biographers take the claim seriously.^ He who associates with the people will conform to their tastes and will produce only what pleases them.
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    Groucho himself was no help on this point; during his Carnegie Hall concert, when he was discussing the Brothers' names and when it came to his own, he said, "My name, of course, I never did understand."
Herbert was not nicknamed by Art Fisher, since he did not join the act until Gummo had departed. As with Groucho, three explanations exist for Herbert's name, "Zeppo":
  • Harpo's explanation. Harpo said in Harpo Speaks! the brothers had named Herbert for Mr. Zippo, a chimpanzee that was part of another performer's act. .Herbert found the nickname very unflattering, and when it came time for him to join the act, he put his foot down and refused to be called "Zippo."^ Do you suppose that I call him who is mistaken the stronger at the time when he is mistaken?
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    ^ There too was Cephalus the father of Polemarchus, whom I had not seen for a long time, and I thought him very much aged.
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    ^ But then a director can hardly be found, and even if he could, as matters now stand, the students, who are very conceited, would not attend to him.
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    The brothers compromised on Zeppo.
  • Chico's explanation. .Chico never wrote an autobiography, and gave fewer interviews than his brothers, but his daughter, Maxine, in The Unknown Marx Brothers said that when the Marx Brothers lived in Chicago, a popular style of humor was the "Zeke and Zeb" joke, which made fun of slow-witted Midwesterners in much the same way Boudreaux and Thibodeaux jokes mock Cajuns and Ole and Lena jokes mock Minnesotans.^ And living in this way we shall have much greater need of physicians than before?
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    ^ But much may be said on the other side, nor is the opposition necessary; for a person may rule by law, and law may be so applied as to be the living voice of the legislator.
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    ^ Yes, he said, I think that he would rather suffer anything than entertain these false notions and live in this miserable manner.
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    .One day, as Chico returned home, he found Herbert sitting on the fence.^ He was supposed to have died in battle, but ten days afterwards his body was found untouched by corruption and sent home for burial.
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    ^ They return to the house of Cephalus, Polemarchus’ father, now in extreme old age, who is found sitting upon a cushioned seat crowned for a sacrifice.
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    Herbert greeted him by saying "Hi, Zeke!" Chico responded with "Hi, Zeb!" and the name stuck. .The brothers thereafter called him "Zeb," and when he joined the act, they floated the idea of "Zebbo," eventually preferring "Zeppo."
  • Groucho's explanation.^ Him they call the Father of all.
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    ^ And there is an absolute beauty and an absolute good, and of other things to which the term ‘many’ is applied there is an absolute; for they may be brought under a single idea, which is called the essence of each.
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    ^ The two brothers ask Socrates to prove to them that the just is happy when they have taken from him all that in which happiness is ordinarily supposed to consist.
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    .In a tape-recorded interview excerpted on The Unknown Marx Brothers, Groucho said Zeppo was so named because he was born when the first zeppelins started crossing the ocean.^ The first, I said, is that which we have been describing, and which may be said to have two names, monarchy and aristocracy, accordingly as rule is exercised by one distinguished man or by many.
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    He also stated this in his Carnegie Hall concert, ca.1972. The first zeppelin flew in July 1900, and Herbert was born seven months later in February 1901. However, the first transatlantic zeppelin flight was not until 1924, long after Herbert's birth.
Maxine Marx reported in The Unknown Marx Brothers that the brothers listed their real names (Julius, Leonard, Adolph, Milton, and Herbert) on playbills and in programs, and only used the nicknames behind the scenes, until Alexander Woollcott overheard them calling one another by the nicknames; he asked them why they used their own rather real names publicly when they had such wonderful nicknames. They replied, "That wouldn't be dignified." Woollcott answered with a belly laugh. .Since Woollcott did not meet the Marx Brothers until the premiere of I'll Say She Is, which was their first Broadway show, this would mean they used their real names throughout their vaudeville days, and that the name "Gummo" never appeared in print during his time in the act.^ You mean that they would shipwreck?
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^ And if they were able to converse with one another, would they not suppose that they were naming what was actually before them 1 ?
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^ For you fancy that shepherds and rulers never think of their own interest, but only of their sheep or subjects, whereas the truth is that they fatten them for their use, sheep and subjects alike.
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.Other sources report that the Marx Brothers did go by their nicknames during their vaudeville era, but briefly listed themselves by their given names when I'll Say She Is opened because they were worried that a Broadway audience would reject a vaudeville act if they were perceived as low class.^ When a man cannot measure, and a great many others who cannot measure declare that he is four cubits high, can he help believing what they say?
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^ And what would you say of unwillingness and dislike and the absence of desire; should not these be referred to the opposite class of repulsion and rejection?
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^ And the fear of this, as I conceive, induces the good to take office, not because they would, but because they cannot help—not under the idea that they are going to have any benefit or enjoyment themselves, but as a necessity, and because they are not able to commit the task of ruling to any one who is better than themselves, or indeed as good.
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[22]

Hollywood

Paramount

Top to bottom: Chico, Harpo, Groucho, and Zeppo (1931)
The Marx Brothers' stage shows became popular just as Hollywood was changing to "talkies". They signed a contract with Paramount and embarked on their film career. .Their first two released films (they had previously made — but not released — one short silent film titled Humor Risk) were adaptations of Broadway shows: The Cocoanuts (1929) and Animal Crackers (1930).^ And inasmuch as they are two, each of them is one?
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^ Each of the first three virtues corresponds to one of the three parts of the soul and one of the three classes in the State, although the third, temperance, has more of the nature of a harmony than the first two.
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^ Two remain—the Dorian and Phrygian, the first for war, the second for peace; the one expressive of courage, the other of obedience or instruction or religious feeling.
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Both were written by George S. Kaufman and Morrie Ryskind. .Following these two feature-length films, they made a short film that was included in Paramount's twentieth anniversary documentary, The House That Shadows Built (1931), in which they adapted a scene from I'll Say She Is.^ They spend their days in houses which they have built for themselves; they make their own clothes and produce their own corn and wine.
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^ These two harmonies I ask you to leave; the strain of necessity and the strain of freedom, the strain of the unfortunate and the strain of the fortunate, the strain of courage, and the strain of temperance; these, I say, leave.
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^ Modern and Christian writers have often fallen short of these; they can hardly be said to have gone beyond them.
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Their third feature-length film, Monkey Business (1931), was their first that was not based on a stage production, and incidentally the only movie in which Harpo's voice is heard - he's singing tenor from inside a barrel in the opening scene. Horse Feathers (1932), in which the brothers satirized the American college system and Prohibition, was their most popular film yet, and won them the cover of Time. It included a running gag from their stage work, where Harpo revealed having nearly everything in his coat. .At various points in Horse Feathers Harpo pulls out of his coat: a wooden mallet, a fish, a coiled rope, a tie, a poster of a woman in her underwear, a cup of hot coffee, a sword; and, just after Groucho warns him that he "can't burn the candle at both ends," a candle burning at both ends.^ And so he bids him and his companions depart, just as any other father might drive out of the house a riotous son and his undesirable associates.
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In another famous sketch, shown in Animal Crackers, Harpo drops a full banquet's worth of silverware out of his sleeve, followed by a coffeepot.
During this time, Chico and Groucho Marx starred in a radio comedy series, Flywheel, Shyster and Flywheel. Although the series was short lived, much of the story material developed for it was used for subsequent films starring the Brothers. Furthermore, the scripts and recordings were believed lost for decades until copies of the scripts were found in the 1980s in the Library of Congress and both published in a book and performed with Marx Brother impersonators for BBC Radio.
.Their last Paramount film, Duck Soup (1933) — directed by the most highly regarded director they ever worked with, Leo McCarey — is the higher rated of two Marx Brothers films to make the American Film Institute's "100 years ...^ It is in the fifth, sixth, and seventh books that Plato reaches the ‘summit of speculation,’ and these, although they fail to satisfy the requirements of a modern thinker, may therefore be regarded as the most important, as they are also the most original, portions of the work.
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^ And if our youth are to do their work in life, must they not make these graces and harmonies their perpetual aim?
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^ The two brothers ask Socrates to prove to them that the just is happy when they have taken from him all that in which happiness is ordinarily supposed to consist.
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100 Movies" list (the other film being A Night at the Opera). It did not do as well as Horse Feathers, but was the sixth-highest grosser of 1933. The film also led to a feud between the Marxes and the village of Fredonia, New York. Freedonia, of course, was the name of the fictional country in Duck Soup, and the city fathers wrote to Paramount and asked the studio to remove all references in the film to Freedonia because "it is hurting our town's image". Groucho fired back a sarcastic reply asking them to change the name of their town because "it's hurting our picture".
The Marx Brothers left Paramount because of disagreements over creative decisions and financial issues.

MGM, RKO, and United Artists

Zeppo left the act to become an agent and went on to build with his brother Gummo one of the biggest talent agencies in Hollywood, helping the likes of Jack Benny and Lana Turner get their starts. Groucho and Chico did radio, and there was talk of returning to Broadway. At a bridge game with Chico, Irving Thalberg began discussing the possibility of the Marxes coming to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, and they signed, now known as "The Three Marx Brothers," or simply "The Marx Bros."
.Unlike the free-for-all scripts at Paramount, Thalberg insisted on a strong story structure, making them into more sympathetic characters, interweaving their comedy with romantic plots and non-comic musical numbers, while the targets of their mischief were largely confined to clear villains.^ The whorl was in form like a number of boxes fitting into one another with their edges turned upwards, making together a single whorl which was pierced by the spindle.
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^ And then he got into the company of a more refined, licentious sort of people, and taking to all their wanton ways rushed into the opposite extreme from an abhorrence of his father’s meanness.
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^ When you divide, he insists that you are only multiplying; his ‘one’ is not material or resolvable into fractions, but an unvarying and absolute equality; and this proves the purely intellectual character of his study.
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.Thalberg was adamant that these scripts had to include a "low point" where all seems lost for both the Marxes and the romantic leads.^ And yet, I said, all these are as nothing either in number or greatness in comparison with those other recompenses which await both just and unjust after death.
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^ True; both these and the opposite names will always attach to all of them.
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^ Yet they are not absolutely divided; and in times of sickness or moments of self-indulgence they seem to be only different aspects of a common human nature which includes them both.
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.In a June 13, 1969, interview with Dick Cavett, Groucho said that the two movies made with Thalberg (A Night at the Opera and A Day at the Races) were the best that they ever produced.^ And what, I said, will be the best limit for our rulers to fix when they are considering the size of the State and the amount of territory which they are to include, and beyond which they will not go?
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^ And now shall we consider in what way such guardians will be produced, and how they are to be brought from darkness to light,—as some are said to have ascended from the world below to the gods?
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^ They spend their days in houses which they have built for themselves; they make their own clothes and produce their own corn and wine.
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.Another idea of Thalberg's was that before filming would commence on an upcoming picture, the Marx Brothers would try out its material on the vaudeville stage, working on comic timing and learning what earned a laugh and what didn't.^ The whole work is supposed to be recited by Socrates on the day after the festival to a small party, consisting of Critias, Timaeus, Hermocrates, and another; this we learn from the first words of the Timaeus.
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^ And if they were able to converse with one another, would they not suppose that they were naming what was actually before them 1 ?
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^ There is no absurdity in supposing that he may have laid his labours aside for a time, or turned from one work to another; and such interruptions would be more likely to occur in the case of a long than of a short writing.
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.The first film that the brothers shot with Thalberg was A Night at the Opera (1935), a satire on the world of opera, where the brothers help two young singers in love by throwing a production of Il Trovatore into chaos.^ Plato, attempting to introduce order into the first chaos of human thought, seems to have confused perception and opinion, and to have failed to distinguish the contingent from the relative.
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The film (which includes a scene where they cram an absurd number of people into a tiny stateroom on a ship) was a great success, and was followed two years later by the even bigger hit A Day at the Races (1937), where the brothers cause mayhem in a sanitarium and at a horse race (this sequence includes Groucho and Chico's famous "Tootsie Frootsie Ice Cream" sketch). However, during shooting in 1936, Thalberg died suddenly, and without him, the brothers did not have an advocate at MGM.
Marx Brothers by Yousuf Karsh, 1948
.After a short experience at RKO (Room Service, 1938), the Marx Brothers made three more films before leaving MGM, At the Circus (1939), Go West (1940), and The Big Store (1941).^ These and still more wonderful transformations were readily effected by the ingenuity of Stoics and neo-Platonists in the two or three centuries before and after Christ.
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^ I was going to say something in answer to Glaucon, when Adeimantus, his brother, interposed: Socrates, he said, you do not suppose that there is nothing more to be urged?
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Prior to the release of The Big Store, the team announced their retirement from the screen, but Chico was in dire financial straits; to help settle his gambling debts, the Marx Brothers made another two films together, A Night in Casablanca (1946) and Love Happy (1949), both of them released by United Artists.

Later years

.Groucho and Chico briefly appeared together promoting the Saturday Evening Post in a 1957 short film entitled "Showdown at Ulcer Gulch," directed by animator Shamus Culhane, Chico's son-in-law.^ Saturday Evening Post .
  • Find Articles - Articles Advanced Search 25 September 2009 5:05 UTC findarticles.com [Source type: Academic]

.Then they worked together, but in different scenes, in The Story of Mankind (1957).^ This is, perhaps, a one-sided but not wholly untrue picture of the maxims and practice of mankind when they ‘sit down together at an assembly,’ either in ancient or modern times.
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In 1959, all three acted in a TV pilot, Deputy Seraph, to star Harpo and Chico as blundering angels; Groucho would appear in every third episode as their boss, the "Deputy Seraph." The pilot was never finished, as it was discovered that Chico was seriously ill with arteriosclerosis; he could not remember his lines at all, and was uninsurable. .Chico and Harpo did appear together in a half-hour film shot later that year for the General Electric Theater on CBS, The Incredible Jewel Robbery, a pantomime show with the pair as would-be jewel thieves.^ Plato hopes to preserve in a later generation the mind of the legislator; he would have his citizens remain within the lines which he has laid down for them.
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^ Nor did it retain any hold upon the minds of his disciples in a later generation; it was probably unintelligible to them.
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Groucho made a brief appearance in the last scene.
From the 1940s onward, Chico and Harpo made nightclub and casino appearances, sometimes together. Chico also fronted a big band, the Chico Marx Orchestra. Groucho began a career as a radio and television entertainer. .From 1947 to 1961, he was the host of the quiz show You Bet Your Life (along with a money-bearing artificial duck) on NBC.^ Your genius will not be allotted to you, but you will choose your genius; and let him who draws the first lot have the first choice, and the life which he chooses shall be his destiny.
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^ But what can show a more disgraceful state of education than to have to go abroad for justice because you have none of your own at home?
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^ And now, having such an auxiliary, you must do your best to show the unbelievers that you are right.
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He was also an author—his writings include the autobiographical Groucho and Me (1959), Memoirs of a Mangy Lover (1964), and The Groucho Letters (1967).
.According to a September 1947 article in Newsweek, Groucho, Harpo, Chico, and Zeppo all signed to appear as themselves in a biopic entitled The Life and Times of the Marx Brothers.^ Then how can he who has magnificence of mind and is the spectator of all time and all existence, think much of human life?
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^ All things end in good to him, either in life or after death, even what appears to be evil; for the Gods have a care of him who desires to be in their likeness.
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^ All who were begotten at the time when their fathers and mothers came together will be called their brothers and sisters, and these, as I was saying, will be forbidden to intermarry.
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In addition to being a non-fiction biography of the Marxes, the film would have also featured the brothers reenacting much of their previously unfilmed material from both their vaudeville and Broadway eras. Had the film come into fruition, it would have been the first time the Brothers had appeared as a quartet since 1933.
The 1957 talk show Tonight! America After Dark, hosted by Jack Lescoulie, may supply the only public footage in which all five brothers appeared. On October 1, 1962, Groucho introduced Johnny Carson to the audience of The Tonight Show as the new host.
Around 1960, the acclaimed director Billy Wilder considered writing and directing a new Marx Brothers film. Tentatively titled "A Day at the U.N.," it was to be a comedy of international intrigue set around the United Nations building in New York. Wilder had discussions with Groucho and Gummo, but the project was put on hold because of Harpo's ill-health and abandoned when Chico died in 1961.[23]
In 1970, the Four Marx Brothers had a brief reunion (of sorts) in the animated ABC television special The Mad, Mad, Mad Comedians, produced by Rankin-Bass animation (of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer fame). The special featured animated reworkings of various famous comedians' acts, including W.C. Fields, Jack Benny, George Burns, Henny Youngman, The Smothers Brothers, Flip Wilson, Phyllis Diller, Jack E. Leonard, George Jessel, and the Marx Brothers. .Most of the comedians provided their own voices for their animated counterparts, except for Fields and Chico Marx (both had died), and Zeppo Marx (who left show business in 1933).^ And such a pilot and ruler will provide and prescribe for the interest of the sailor who is under him, and not for his own or the ruler’s interest?
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^ And will any one say that he is not a miserable 590 caitiff who remorselessly sells his own divine being to that which is most godless and detestable?
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.Voice actor Paul Frees filled in for all three (no voice was needed for Harpo, who was also deceased).^ The world in all ages has been divided between contempt and fear of those who employ the power of ideas and know no other weapons.
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^ The man who has no self-respect, on the contrary, will imitate anybody and anything; sounds of nature and cries of animals alike; his whole performance will be imitation of gesture and voice.
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The Marx Brothers' segment was a reworking of a scene from their Broadway play I'll Say She Is, a parody of Napoleon which Groucho considered among the Brothers' funniest routines. The sketch featured animated representations, if not the voices, of all four brothers. Romeo Muller is credited as having written special material for the show, but the script for the classic "Napoleon Scene" was probably supplied by Groucho.
On January 16, 1977, The Marx Brothers were inducted into the Motion Picture Hall of Fame.
Many TV shows and movies have used Marx Brothers references. Animaniacs and Tiny Toons, for example, have featured Marx Brothers jokes and skits. Hawkeye Pierce (Alan Alda) on M*A*S*H occasionally put on a fake nose and glasses, and, holding a cigar, did a Groucho impersonation to amuse patients recovering from surgery. Bugs Bunny also impersonated Groucho Marx in 1947 cartoon Slick Hare.
Also noteworthy is the fact that Harpo Marx appeared as himself in a sketch on I Love Lucy in which he and Lucille Ball reprised the mirror routine from Duck Soup, with Lucy dressed up as Harpo. Chico once appeared on "I've Got a Secret" dressed up as Harpo; his secret was shown in a caption reading "I'm actually Chico Marx."

Filmography

Films with the Four Marx Brothers:
Films with the three Marx Brothers (post-Zeppo):
Solo endeavors:

Characters

Film Year Groucho Chico Harpo Zeppo
Humor Risk 1921 The Villain The Italian Watson, Detective The Love Interest
Too Many Kisses 1925 The Village Peter Pan
The Cocoanuts 1929 Mr. Hammer Chico Harpo Jamison
Animal Crackers 1930 Captain Geoffrey T. Spaulding Signor Emmanuel Ravelli The Professor Horatio Jamison
The House That Shadows Built 1931 Caesar's Ghost Tomalio The Merchant of Weiners Sammy Brown
Monkey Business 1931 Groucho Chico Harpo Zeppo
Horse Feathers 1932 Professor Quincy Adams Wagstaff Baravelli Pinky Frank Wagstaff
Duck Soup 1933 Rufus T. Firefly Chicolini Pinky Lt. Bob Roland
A Night at the Opera 1935 Otis B. Driftwood Fiorello Tomasso
A Day at the Races 1937 Dr. Hugo Z. Hackenbush* Tony Stuffy
Room Service 1938 Gordon Miller Harry Binelli Faker Englund
At the Circus 1939 J. Cheever Loophole Antonio Pirelli Punchy
Go West 1940 S. Quentin Quale Joe Panello Rusty Panello
The Big Store 1941 Wolf J. Flywheel Ravelli Wacky
A Night in Casablanca 1946 Ronald Kornblow Corbaccio Rusty
Love Happy 1949 Sam Grunion Faustino the Great Harpo
The Story of Mankind 1957 Peter Minuit Monk Sir Isaac Newton
* (To avoid a possible lawsuit, this name was chosen instead of the intended "Quackenbush" after it was discovered that there were around 30 real doctors by this name.)[citation needed]

Ownership status of films

.All the films that were released still exist, though not always in the form they were originally released, Horse Feathers being the most obvious example.^ Also they had dreams of a Golden Age which existed once upon a time and might still exist in some unknown land, or might return again in the remote future.
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^ They have become the forms under which all things were comprehended.
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^ Primitive society offered many examples of land held in common, either by a tribe or by a township, and such may probably have been the original form of landed tenure.
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.However, due to certain studios selling many of their films from the Golden Age of Hollywood, the rights to many of the Marx Brothers' films have changed hands over the years.^ The revolution which human nature desires to effect step by step in many ages is likely to be precipitated by him in a single year or life.
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Paramount films

In 1957, Paramount sold many of its pre-1950 sound features to EMKA, Ltd. - a subsidiary of the Music Corporation of America. After MCA merged with Universal Pictures in 1962, the rights to these films went to Universal (now a part of NBC Universal).

MGM films

MGM held on to their Marx Brothers films longer than Paramount did. In 1986, media mogul Ted Turner bought MGM outright. But after amassing huge debts, Turner sold the studio, but kept the pre-1986 MGM library for his own company, Turner Entertainment. Today, Turner Entertainment is a subsidiary of Time Warner, with Warner Bros. handling sales and distribution.

Room Service

.Due to being an RKO film, the transfer of this film's rights has been more complicated than most other Marx Brothers films.^ For all men believe in their hearts that injustice is far more profitable to the individual than justice, and he who argues as I have been supposing, will say that they are right.
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^ And this is he who being by nature most of a tyrant bears rule, and the longer he lives the more of a tyrant he becomes.
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^ Enough of this: the other assertion of Thrasymachus is far more important—that the unjust life is more gainful than the just.
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.In 1955, RKO sold television rights to many of their films to C&C Television for most markets, and General Tire for markets in which they owned TV stations.^ The women are, for the most part, trained, like the men, in warlike and other exercises; but they have two special occupations of their own.
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^ But most extraordinary of all is their mode of speaking about virtue and the gods: they say that the gods apportion calamity and misery to many good men, and good and happiness to the wicked.
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^ Having so many evils, will not the most miserable of men be still more miserable in a public station?
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General's rights ended up being auctioned as successor RKO General was in the midst of a licensing scandal. Meanwhile, C&C sold its rights to United Artists in 1971. UA was in turn sold to MGM in 1981. Turner inherited UA's rights as part of his acquisition of MGM's library. Turner then acquired television rights in the markets where RKO had owned stations. .All US and Canadian and Region 4 rights are now with WB/Turner.^ No, I said; not if we were right in the principle which was acknowledged by all of us when we were framing the State: the principle, as you will remember, was that one man cannot practise many arts with success.
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^ And now we are hear the spot; let us draw in and surround the cover and watch with all our eyes, lest justice should slip away and escape.
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^ Let us then consider, first of all, what will be their way of life, now that we have thus established them.
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.On the other hand, distribution rights in the rest of the world have been sold on a country-by-country basis.^ Say to him, that, in deeming the best votaries of philosophy to be useless to the rest of the world, he is right; but also tell him to attribute their uselessness to the fault of those who will not use them, and not to themselves.
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^ They seemed glad to meet and rest awhile in the meadow; here they discoursed with 615 one another of what they had seen in the other world.
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^ On the other hand it may be doubted whether our present notions of property are not conventional, for they differ in different countries and in different states of society.
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For example, PolyGram Filmed Entertainment purchased the underlying UK rights in later years, and passed on to Universal following the sale of PolyGram to Universal.

A Night in Casablanca

Warners now owns this film as part of the Castle Hill Productions library.

Love Happy

.This and many other UA films released before 1952 were sold to National Telefilm Associates in 1955. In 1984, NTA changed its name to Republic Pictures, which itself became part of the Spelling Entertainment Group in the mid-1990s.^ The orrery or picture of the heavens given in the Republic differs in its mode of representation from the circles of the same and of the other in the Timaeus.
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Spelling was sold to Paramount's current parent Viacom in 1999.
In the mid-1990s, Republic licensed US video rights to Artisan Entertainment. .Artisan was sold to Lions Gate Entertainment in 2003. Then, in 2006, US video rights to certain Republic properties - including Love Happy - reverted to Paramount, who also owns video rights in Region 4 and in France.^ In the highest class, I replied,—among those goods which he who would be happy desires both for their own sake and for the sake of their results.
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^ In this pleasant manner is presented to us the famous question both of ancient and modern philosophy, touching the relation of duty to happiness, of right to utility.
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^ It may be admitted further that right and utility are co-extensive, and that he who makes the happiness of mankind his object has one of the highest and noblest motives of human action.
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Television distribution is now in the hands of Trifecta Entertainment & Media, having inherited the rights from NTA, Republic, Worldvision Enterprises, Paramount Domestic Television, CBS Paramount Domestic Television, and CBS Television Distribution. .Video rights in much of the world are also divided by country, with Universal owning the UK video rights.^ Regarding the world as a point in immensity, and each individual as a link in a never-ending chain of existence, he will not think much of his own life, or be greatly afraid of death.
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American Film Institute recognition

The Marx Brothers were collectively named #20 on AFI's list of the Top 25 American male screen legends. They are the only group to be so honored.

Miscellanea

  • Comedic relations of the Marx brothers were Al Shean aka Albert Schönberg (1868–1949) (brother to Minnie Marx) and Mary Livingstone (aka Sadye Marks) (1906–1983) (cousin of the Marx brothers and wife of Jack Benny).
  • The Marx Brothers inspired the characters of Yakko, Wakko and Dot in the 90s animated cartoon series Animaniacs
  • In 1925, Harpo was the first brother to appear on screen in a widely released film, having been cast in Too Many Kisses as "The Village Peter Pan." It was in this role that Harpo spoke the only line he would ever speak in front of a movie or TV camera: "You sure you can't move?" But as it was a silent movie, audiences didn't hear his voice.
  • The British rock group Queen released in 1975 an album called A Night at the Opera, a name which they chose after watching the Marx Brothers' movie. .Their next album was called A Day at the Races, also inspired by the Marx Brothers' 1937 movie.
  • The Marman clamp was first produced by Herbert (Zeppo) Marx, after the inventor approached him with the device.^ At first, in the early days of his power, he is full of smiles, and he salutes every one whom he meets;—he to be called a tyrant, who is making promises in public and also in private!
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    [24] It was manufactured by his company Marman Products. At the time it was designed to secure cargo during transport. The U.S. Military used it to transport the atomic bombs used at the end of the Second World War.
  • The Cluster mission consists of 4 identical scientific satellites, flying in formation, to explore the Earth's magnetosphere. The original 4 satellites were unofficially christened Groucho, Chico, Harpo and Zeppo; the 5th (spare) satellite was christened Gummo.
  • The movies House of 1000 Corpses[25] and The Devil's Rejects,[26] directed by Rob Zombie, contain characters that assume the names of Marx Brothers characters, including Capt. .Spaulding, Rufus Firefly, and Otis Driftwood.
  • Gummo, directed by Harmony Korine, is named after the Marx brother who never made it to the screen.
  • SPEBSQSA barbershop quartet The New Tradition, gold medalists in 1985, based their act on the Marx Brothers.^ He ridicules the new logic of his time; the Utopians could never be made to understand the doctrine of Second Intentions 3 .
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    The tenor was Zeppo, the lead Chico, the baritone Harpo (who sang but never spoke), and the bass Groucho.
  • In Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Prof. Henry Jones, Sr., upon realizing his son Indiana has brought his Grail diary right back to the Nazis he was trying to keep it from, he sarcasticly says that it would have been better off if he sent it to the Marx Brothers.
  • In 2002, Billy Van Zandt and Jane Milmore wrote and produced A Night at the Nutcracker. The play, inspired by the Marx Bros., was called "the movie the Marx Brothers never made, but should have." The book and lyrics were by Van Zandt and Milmore, and the music by Ed Alton (and, of course Tchaikovsky). .Published worldwide with Samuel French, Inc.
  • In 2007, the Swedish production company Eva Rydberg Nöjesproduktion made a stage play, called Den stora premiären (The Grand Premiere), dedicated to the Marx Brothers where actors played the Marx Brothers playing other characters.^ The profession of an actor was regarded by him as a degradation of human nature, for ‘one man in his life’ cannot ‘play many parts;’ the characters which the actor performs seem to destroy his own character, and to leave nothing which can be truly called himself.
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    ^ And when they have made a good beginning in play, and by the help of music have gained the habit of good order, then this habit of order, in a manner how unlike the lawless play of the others!
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    ."Groucho" played Captain Spoling (a take on Captain Spalding in Animal Crackers), "Chico" played Ravelli, lawyer from the company Ravelli, Ravelli and Ravelli (and Ravelli) (a take on the Italian-named characters Chico often played and also a nod to a well-known Swedish soccer goal keeper by that name) and "Harpo" played Charlie, another lawyer.^ The man of genius has greater pains and greater pleasures, greater powers and greater weaknesses, and often a greater play of character than is to be found in ordinary men.
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    .Like the real Harpo, he did not speak, except for one scene in the middle of the play, where he explained to another cast member, that he could speak, but often found it better to keep quiet, since people said too much anyway.^ The man, then, will be at war with himself; he will be two men, and not one; but, in general, his better desires will be found to prevail over his inferior ones.
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    ^ Yes, he said, I do; but not of all of them, for there are some whom the applause of the multitude has deluded into the belief that they are really statesmen, and these are not much to be admired.
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    ^ Once more, Socrates, I will ask you to consider another way of speaking about justice and injustice, which is not confined 364 to the poets, but is found in prose writers.
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    .The other cast member was to keep this a secret and later in the play, the Harpo character Charlie would confuse one of the villains, by hiding behind a piano and speak a few words, the villain not knowing where they came from.
  • In the comic book series Cerebus the Aardvark, both Groucho, as Lord Julius, and Chico make appearances as powerful rulers of nations as part of Dave Sims critique on political bureaucracy.
  • The 2006 album Do This! by experimental jazz group Reptet features four tracks named after the Marx Brothers: Zeppo, Harpo, Chico, and Groucho, respectively.^ If Homer had said, ‘The priest came, having his daughter’s ransom in his hands, supplicating the Achaeans, and above all the kings;’ and then if, instead of speaking in the person of Chryses, he had continued in his own person, the words would have been, not imitation, but simple narration.
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    ^ Thrasymachus is indignant at the illustration, and in pompous words, apparently intended to restore dignity to the argument, he explains his meaning to be that the rulers make 339 laws for their own interests.
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    ^ And if they were able to converse with one another, would they not suppose that they were naming what was actually before them 1 ?
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    .There is no mention of Gummo.
  • In an episode of Married with Children, the father of the Bundy family, after a series of incidents where nobody cares about his opinion, comments "Am I the forgotten Marx Brother?^ There can be no mistake, I said, as to which is which, and therefore I will at once enquire whether you would arrive at a similar decision about their relative happiness and misery.
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    ^ About war there is no difficulty; the principle of communism is adapted to military service.
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    ^ There can be no doubt about the numerous difficulties in which this question is involved.
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    Am I Zeppo Bundy?".
  • In the movie Twelve Monkeys by Terry Gilliam, there is a show playing on TV in the insane asylum: "The Four Marx Brothers, Monkey Business". Gilliam's film Brazil starts with a clip of "The Coconuts" on TV.
  • An entire episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer is named "The Zeppo" because character Cordelia Chase mocks Xander Harris that he is only "the Zeppo", meaning the normal guy without any special abilities or characteristics in a scooby gang featuring a vampire, the vampire slayer, a witch and a werewolf.
  • In 2009, Mr. Funny in "The Mr. Men Show" in based after Harpo Marx.

See also

Notes

  1. ^ La famille paternelle des Marx Brothers (French)
  2. ^ "Mrs. Minnie Marx. Mother of Four Marx Brothers, Musical Comedy Stars, Dies.". New York Times. September 16, 1929. 
  3. ^ "Samuel Marx, Father of Four Marx Brothers of Stage and Screen Fame". New York Times. May 12, 1933. http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F20B17FA3E5C16738DDDAB0994DD405B838FF1D3. Retrieved 2008-06-27. 
  4. ^ "Chico Marx, Stage and Film Comedian, Dies at 70; Oldest of 5 Brothers Took Role of Italian Piano Player. Team Business manager.". New York Times. October 12, 1961. 
  5. ^ "Harpo Marx, the Silent Comedian, Is Dead at 70 [sic]; Blond-Wigged, Horn-Tooting Star Scored on Stage and in Films With Brothers Harpo Marx, Silent Comedian, Dies.". New York Times. September 29, 1964, Tuesday. "Harpo Marx, the blond-wigged, nonspeaking member of the Marx Brothers team, died tonight at 8:30 in Mount Sinai Hospital. He was 70 years old [sic]." 
  6. ^ "Groucho Marx, Comedian, Dead. Movie Star and TV Host Was 86. Master of the Insult Groucho Marx, Film Comedian and Host of 'You Bet Your Life,' Dies.". New York Times. August 20, 1977, Saturday. "Los Angeles, August 19, 1977 Groucho Marx, the comedian, died tonight at the Cedar Sinai Medical Center here after failing to recover from a respiratory ailment that hospitalized him June 22. He was 86 years old." 
  7. ^ The census of 1900 gives 1892 as Gummo's birth year, on his death certificate and his grave the year 1893 is given.
  8. ^ "Gummo Marx, Managed Comedians.". New York Times. "Palm Springs, California, April 21, 1977 (Reuters) Gummo Marx, an original member of the Marx brothers' comedy team, died here today. He was 83 years old." 
  9. ^ "Zeppo Marx Dies on Coast at 78; Last Survivor of Comedy Team; 'Tired of Being a Stooge'.". New York Times. December 1, 1979. "Zeppo Marx, the surviving member of the Marx Brothers comedy team who left the quartet in 1934 for other businesses, died yesterday at Eisenhower Medical Center in Palm Springs, Calif. The youngest of the brothers, he was 78 years old and had lived in Pal..." 
  10. ^ Adamson, Joe (1973). Groucho, Harpo, Chico and Sometimes Zeppo: A Celebration of the Marx Brothers. New York: Simon and Schuster. pp. 6–8. ISBN 0-340-18807-3. 
  11. ^ Louvish, Simon (June 2000). Monkey Business. New York, NY: St. Martin's Press. pp. 10–11. ISBN 0312252927.  "Family lore told privately of the firstborn son, Manny, born in 1886 but surviving for only three months, and carried off by tuberculosis. Even some members of the Marx family wondered if he were pure myth. But Manfred can be verified. A death certificate of the Borough of Manhattan reveals the he died, aged seven months, on 17 July 1886, of 'entero-colitis,' with 'asthenia' contributing, i.e. probably a victim of influenza. He is buried at New York's Washington Cemetery, beside his grandmother, Fanny Schoenberg, who died on 10 April 1901."
  12. ^ Marx and Barber.
  13. ^ Kanfer, pp. 35-36.
  14. ^ Chandler, p. ???.
  15. ^ "Groucho's Threat Against Nixon and 9 More Marx Brothers Stories" at mental_floss.
  16. ^ a b Joe Adamson, Groucho, Harpo, Chico and Sometimes Zeppo: A Celebration of the Marx Brothers New York: Simon and Schuster, 1973.
  17. ^ Kanfer, pp. 139-140.
  18. ^ Groucho Live At Carnegie Hall.
  19. ^ Marx and Barber, p. ??.
  20. ^ Marx, G. (1976). The Groucho Phile. Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, p. 30.
  21. ^ Marx, Groucho and Me.
  22. ^ Kanfer.
  23. ^ Gore, Chris (1999). The Fifty Greatest Movies Never Made, New York: St. Martin's Griffin.
  24. ^ Chandler, p. 182.
  25. ^ "House of 1000 Corpses" at imdb.
  26. ^ "The Devil's Rejects" at imdb.

Further reading

  • Marx, Groucho, Beds (1930) Farrar & Rinehart, (1976) Bobbs-Merrill
  • Marx, Groucho, Many Happy Returns (1942) Simon & Schuster
  • Crichton, Kyle, The Marx Brothers (1950) Doubleday & Co.
  • Marx, Arthur, Life with Groucho (1954) Simon & Schuster, (revised as My Life with Groucho: A Son's Eye View, 1988) ISBN 0-330-31132-8
  • Marx, Groucho, Groucho and Me (1959) Random House, (1989) Fireside Books ISBN 0-306-80666-5
  • Marx, Harpo (with Barber, Rowland), Harpo Speaks! (1961) Bernard Geis Associates, (1985) Limelight Editions ISBN 0-879-10036-2
  • Marx, Groucho, Memoirs of a Mangy Lover (1963) Bernard Geis Associates, (2002) Da Capo Press ISBN 0-306-81104-9
  • Marx, Groucho, The Groucho Letters: Letters from and to Groucho Marx (1967, 2007) Simon & Schuster ISBN 0-306-80607-X
  • Zimmerman, Paul D., The Marx Brothers at the Movies (1968) G.P. Putnam's Sons
  • Eyles, Allen, The Marx Brothers: Their World of Comedy (1969) A.S. Barnes
  • Robinson, David, The Great Funnies: A History of Film Comedy (1969) E.P. Dutton
  • Durgnat, Raymond, "Four Against Alienation" from The Crazy Mirror: Hollywood Comedy and the American Image (1970) Dell
  • Maltin, Leonard, Movie Comedy Teams (1970, revised 1985) New American Library
  • Anobile, Richard J. (ed.), .Why a Duck?: Visual and Verbal Gems from the Marx Brothers Movies (1971) Avon Books
  • Bergman, Andrew, "Some Anarcho-Nihilist Laff Riots" from We're in the Money: Depression America and Its Films (1971) New York University Press
  • Marx, Arthur, Son of Groucho (1972) David McKay Co.^ Oxford University Press Amen House, E.C. 4 London Edinburgh Glasgow Leipzig New York Toronto Melbourne Capetown Bombay Calcutta Madras Shanghai Humphrey Milford Publisher to the University .
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    ISBN 0-679-50355-2
  • Adamson, Joe, Groucho, Harpo, Chico and Sometimes Zeppo (1973, 1983) Simon & Schuster
  • Kalmar, Bert, and Perelman, S.J., The Four Marx Brothers in Monkey Business and Duck Soup (Classic Film Scripts) (1973) Simon & Schuster
  • Mast, Gerald, The Comic Mind: Comedy and the Movies (1973, 2nd ed. 1979) University of Chicago Press
  • McCaffrey, Donald W., "Zanies in a Stage-Movieland" from The Golden Age of Sound Comedy (1973) A.S. Barnes
  • Anobile, Richard J. (ed.), Hooray for Captain Spaulding!: Verbal and Visual Gems from Animal Crackers (1974) Avon Books
  • Anobile, Richard J., The Marx Bros. Scrapbook (1974) Grosset & Dunlap, (1975) Warner Books
  • Wolf, William, The Marx Brothers (1975) Pyramid Library
  • Marx, Groucho, The Groucho Phile (1976) Bobbs-Merrill Co.
  • Marx, Groucho (with Arce, Hector), The Secret Word Is GROUCHO (1976) G.P. Putnam’s Sons
  • Byron, Stuart and Weis, Elizabeth (eds.), .The National Society of Film Critics on Movie Comedy (1977) Grossman/Viking
  • Maltin, Leonard, The Great Movie Comedians (1978) Crown Publishers
  • Arce, Hector, Groucho (1979) G.P. Putnam's Sons
  • Chandler, Charlotte, Hello, I Must Be Going: Groucho & His Friends (1978) Doubleday & Co., (2007) Simon & Schuster ISBN 0-140-05222-4
  • Marx, Maxine, Growing Up with Chico (1980) Prentice-Hall, (1984) Simon & Schuster
  • Weales, Gerald, Canned Goods as Caviar: American Film Comedy of the 1930s (1985) University of Chicago Press
  • Gehring, Wes D., The Marx Brothers: A Bio-Bibliography (1987) Greenwood Press
  • Barson, Michael (ed.^ And the tyrant, if he means to rule, must get rid of them; he cannot stop while he has a friend or an enemy who is good for anything.
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    ^ Our citizens must grow up to manhood amidst impressions of grace and beauty only; all ugliness and vice must be excluded.
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    ^ If at this instant a friend whispers to him, ‘Now the gods lighten thee; thou art a great fool’ and must be educated—do you think that he will listen?
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    ), .Flywheel, Shyster and Flywheel: The Marx Brothers Lost Radio Show (1988) Pantheon Books
  • Allen, Miriam Marx, Love, Groucho: Letters from Groucho Marx to His Daughter Miriam (1992) Faber & Faber ISBN 0-571-12915-3
  • Eyles, Allen, The Complete Films of the Marx Brothers (1992) Carol Publishing Group
  • Gehring, Wes D., Groucho and W.C. Fields: Huckster Comedians (1994) University Press of Mississippi
  • Mitchell, Glenn, The Marx Brothers Encyclopedia (1996) B.T. Batsford Ltd., (revised 2003) Reynolds & Hearn ( ISBN 0-713-47838-1)
  • Stoliar, Steve, Raised Eyebrows: My Years Inside Groucho's House (1996) General Publishing Group ISBN 1-881-64973-3
  • Dwan, Robert, As Long As They're Laughing!: Groucho Marx and You Bet Your Life (2000) Midnight Marquee Press, Inc.
  • Kanfer, Stefan, Groucho: The Life and Times of Julius Henry Marx (2000) Alfred A. Knopf ISBN 0-375-70207-5
  • Bego, Mark, The Marx Brothers (2001) Pocket Essentials
  • Louvish, Simon, Monkey Business: The Lives and Legends of the Marx Brothers (2001) Thomas Dunne Books ISBN 0-312-25292-7)
  • Gehring, Wes D., Film Clowns of the Depression (2007) McFarland & Co.
  • Keesey, Douglas, with Duncan, Paul (ed.^ And how can marriages be made most beneficial?—that is a question which I put to you, because I see in your house dogs for hunting, and of the nobler sort of birds not a few.
    • Online Library of Liberty - THE REPUBLIC. - Dialogues, vol. 3 - Republic, Timaeus, Critias 16 January 2010 13:013 UTC oll.libertyfund.org [Source type: Original source]

    ^ We have been long expecting that you would tell us something about the family life of your citizens—how they will bring children into the world, and rear them when they have arrived, and, in general, what is the nature of this community of women and children—for we are of opinion that the right or wrong management of such matters will have a great and paramount influence on the State for good or for evil.
    • Online Library of Liberty - THE REPUBLIC. - Dialogues, vol. 3 - Republic, Timaeus, Critias 16 January 2010 13:013 UTC oll.libertyfund.org [Source type: Original source]

    ^ I may be in earnest or not, but what is that to you?—to refute the argument is your business.
    • Online Library of Liberty - THE REPUBLIC. - Dialogues, vol. 3 - Republic, Timaeus, Critias 16 January 2010 13:013 UTC oll.libertyfund.org [Source type: Original source]

    ), Marx Bros. (2007) Movie Icons series, Taschen
  • Marx, Bill, Son of Harpo Speaks! (2007) BearManor Media ISBN 1593930623

External links


Simple English

File:Marx Brothers
The Marx Brothers in 1931 (from top: Chico, Harpo, Groucho and Zeppo)

The Marx Brothers were a popular team of sibling comedians who appeared in vaudeville, stage plays, movie, and television.

The brothers were Chico, Harpo, Groucho, Gummo and Zeppo.

Contents

Early life

Born in New York City, the Marx Brothers were the sons of Jewish immigrants from Germany. Their mother, Minnie Schönberg, was from Dornum in East Frisia, and their father Simon Marrix (whose name was changed to Sam Marx, and who was nicknamed "Frenchy") was a native of Alsace, now part of France, and worked as a tailor.[1] The family lived in the then-poor Yorkville section of New York City's Upper East Side, between the Irish, German and Italian Quarters.

Careers

The Marx Brothers began as a musical group, during the days of vaudeville theater. They would make jokes, play funny characters, and pretend to get into fights when they performed. In time their antics got them more applause (and work) than their music, and they became a comedy group. Music stayed in their act, with the brothers performing in character, but their focus was on getting laughs. Makeup and costumes gave their characters their look. When the brothers were out of costume, they could blend into the audience.

Gummo did not appear in any of the movies. In the movies, each brother played a role that was mostly the same in every movie. Groucho was a "wise guy" who big bushy eyebrows, glasses, and a moustache who smoked a cigar; Chico spoke with an Italian accent and played the piano; Harpo never spoke and played the harp. Zeppo usually played the straight man. He left the group in 1933, and they worked with other actors. Margaret Dumont played the leading lady role in many of their shows. She did not appear to know when a joke was made about her, and this made her role funnier.

The fortunes of the brothers rose and fell over the years. Groucho lost a lot of money in 1929, when the stock market collapsed. (Years later, he visited the New York Stock Exchange, and drew so much attention that trading stopped for several minutes. Groucho joked that he came "to get his money's worth" in stopping business.) Chico had a problem with gambling, and lost more money than he won at it. Harpo and his wife could not have children of their own, so they adopted enough to have a large family. (When Adolf Hitler took control of Germany in the 1930s, and stories came back about his mistreatment of Jewish people, Harpo legally changed his name from Adolph to Arthur, even though he was better known as Harpo.)

Groucho kept working after his brothers retired. He hosted a television quiz show called You Bet Your Life, which was more liked for Groucho's way of hosting than for the game itself. He made a few movie and television appearances late in his life. He also appeared at Carnegie Hall, telling stories about his life and career, and singing songs from every part of his career. A recording of his Carnegie Hall show became a best-seller.

Filmography

Films with the Four Marx Brothers:

  • Humor Risk (1921), previewed once and never released; thought to be lost
  • The Cocoanuts (1929), released by Paramount Pictures
  • Animal Crackers (1930), released by Paramount
  • The House That Shadows Built (1931), released by Paramount (short subject)
  • Monkey Business (1931), released by Paramount
  • Horse Feathers (1932), released by Paramount
  • Duck Soup (1933), released by Paramount

Films with the three Marx Brothers (post-Zeppo):

  • A Night at the Opera (1935), released by MGM
  • A Day at the Races (1937), released by MGM
  • Room Service (1938), released by RKO Radio Pictures
  • At the Circus (1939), released by MGM
  • Go West (1940), released by MGM
  • The Big Store (1941), released by MGM
  • A Night in Casablanca (1946), released by United Artists
  • Love Happy (1949), released by United Artists
  • The Story of Mankind (1957), released by Warner Brothers

Solo endeavors:

  • Groucho:
    • Copacabana (1947), released by United Artists
    • Double Dynamite (1951), released by RKO
    • A Girl in Every Port (1952), released by RKO
    • Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? (1957), released by 20th Century Fox (uncredited)
    • The Mikado (1960), made for television
    • Skidoo (1968), released by Paramount.
  • Harpo:
    • Too Many Kisses (1925), released by Paramount
    • Stage Door Canteen (1943), released by United Artists (cameo)
  • Chico:
    • Papa Romani (1950), television pilot
  • Zeppo:
    • A Kiss in the Dark (1925), released by Paramount (cameo)

References

  1. "Mrs. Minni Marx. Mother of Four Marx Brothers, Musical Comedy Stars, Dies.". New York Times. September 16, 1929. 


Citable sentences

Up to date as of December 23, 2010

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