Marx Brothers
Overview
 
The Marx Brothers were an American family comedy act, originally from New York City
New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

, that enjoyed success in Vaudeville
Vaudeville
Vaudeville was a theatrical genre of variety entertainment in the United States and Canada from the early 1880s until the early 1930s. Each performance was made up of a series of separate, unrelated acts grouped together on a common bill...

, Broadway
Broadway theatre
Broadway theatre, commonly called simply Broadway, refers to theatrical performances presented in one of the 40 professional theatres with 500 or more seats located in the Theatre District centered along Broadway, and in Lincoln Center, in Manhattan in New York City...

, and motion pictures from the early 1900s to around 1950. Five of Marx Brothers’ thirteen feature films were selected by the American Film Institute
American Film Institute
The American Film Institute is an independent non-profit organization created by the National Endowment for the Arts, which was established in 1967 when President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the National Foundation on the Arts and the Humanities Act...

 as among the top 100 comedy films
AFI's 100 Years... 100 Laughs
Part of the AFI 100 Years… series, AFI's 100 Years…100 Laughs is a list of the top 100 funniest movies in American cinema. A wide variety of comedies were nominated for the distinction that included slapstick comedy, screwball comedy, romantic comedy, satire, black comedy, musical comedy, comedy of...

, with two of them (Duck Soup and A Night at the Opera
A Night at the Opera (film)
A Night at the Opera is a 1935 American comedy film starring Groucho Marx, Chico Marx and Harpo Marx, and featuring Kitty Carlisle, Allan Jones, Margaret Dumont, Sig Ruman, and Walter Woolf King. It was the first film the Marx Brothers made for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer after their departure from...

) in the top twelve.

The core of the act was the three elder brothers, Chico
Chico Marx
Leonard "Chico" Marx was an American comedian and film star as part of the Marx Brothers. His persona in the act was that of a dim-witted albeit crafty con artist, seemingly of rural Italian origin, who wore shabby clothes, and sported a curly-haired wig and Tyrolean hat.As the first-born of the...

, Harpo
Harpo Marx
Adolph "Harpo" Marx was an American comedian and film star. He was the second oldest of the Marx Brothers. His comic style was influenced by clown and pantomime traditions. He wore a curly reddish wig, and never spoke during performances...

 and Groucho
Groucho Marx
Julius Henry "Groucho" Marx was an American comedian and film star famed as a master of wit. His rapid-fire delivery of innuendo-laden patter earned him many admirers. He made 13 feature films with his siblings the Marx Brothers, of whom he was the third-born...

; each developed a highly distinctive stage persona.
Encyclopedia
The Marx Brothers were an American family comedy act, originally from New York City
New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

, that enjoyed success in Vaudeville
Vaudeville
Vaudeville was a theatrical genre of variety entertainment in the United States and Canada from the early 1880s until the early 1930s. Each performance was made up of a series of separate, unrelated acts grouped together on a common bill...

, Broadway
Broadway theatre
Broadway theatre, commonly called simply Broadway, refers to theatrical performances presented in one of the 40 professional theatres with 500 or more seats located in the Theatre District centered along Broadway, and in Lincoln Center, in Manhattan in New York City...

, and motion pictures from the early 1900s to around 1950. Five of Marx Brothers’ thirteen feature films were selected by the American Film Institute
American Film Institute
The American Film Institute is an independent non-profit organization created by the National Endowment for the Arts, which was established in 1967 when President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the National Foundation on the Arts and the Humanities Act...

 as among the top 100 comedy films
AFI's 100 Years... 100 Laughs
Part of the AFI 100 Years… series, AFI's 100 Years…100 Laughs is a list of the top 100 funniest movies in American cinema. A wide variety of comedies were nominated for the distinction that included slapstick comedy, screwball comedy, romantic comedy, satire, black comedy, musical comedy, comedy of...

, with two of them (Duck Soup and A Night at the Opera
A Night at the Opera (film)
A Night at the Opera is a 1935 American comedy film starring Groucho Marx, Chico Marx and Harpo Marx, and featuring Kitty Carlisle, Allan Jones, Margaret Dumont, Sig Ruman, and Walter Woolf King. It was the first film the Marx Brothers made for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer after their departure from...

) in the top twelve.

The core of the act was the three elder brothers, Chico
Chico Marx
Leonard "Chico" Marx was an American comedian and film star as part of the Marx Brothers. His persona in the act was that of a dim-witted albeit crafty con artist, seemingly of rural Italian origin, who wore shabby clothes, and sported a curly-haired wig and Tyrolean hat.As the first-born of the...

, Harpo
Harpo Marx
Adolph "Harpo" Marx was an American comedian and film star. He was the second oldest of the Marx Brothers. His comic style was influenced by clown and pantomime traditions. He wore a curly reddish wig, and never spoke during performances...

 and Groucho
Groucho Marx
Julius Henry "Groucho" Marx was an American comedian and film star famed as a master of wit. His rapid-fire delivery of innuendo-laden patter earned him many admirers. He made 13 feature films with his siblings the Marx Brothers, of whom he was the third-born...

; each developed a highly distinctive stage persona. The two younger brothers, Gummo
Gummo Marx
Milton "Gummo" Marx was an American vaudeville performer and theatrical agent. He was the fourth-born of the Marx Brothers. Born in New York City, he worked with his brothers on the vaudeville circuit, but left acting when he was drafted into the U.S...

 and Zeppo
Zeppo Marx
Herbert Manfred "Zeppo" Marx was an American film star, musician, engineer, theatrical agent and businessman. He was the youngest of the five Marx Brothers. He appeared in the first five Marx Brothers feature films, from 1929 to 1933, but then left the act to start his second career as an...

, did not develop their stage characters to the same extent, and eventually left the act to pursue other careers. Gummo was not in any of the movies; Zeppo appeared only in the first five.

Early life

Born in New York City, the Marx Brothers were the sons of Jewish immigrants from Germany and France. Their mother, Minnie Schönberg
Minnie Marx
Miene Schönberg Marx was the mother and manager of the Marx Brothers, wife of Sam Marx, and the sister of vaudeville star Al Shean...

, was from Dornum
Dornum
Dornum is a village and a municipality in the East Frisian district of Aurich, in Lower Saxony, Germany. It is situated near the North Sea coast, approx...

 in East Frisia
East Frisia
East Frisia or Eastern Friesland is a coastal region in the northwest of the German federal state of Lower Saxony....

; and their father, Simon Marx
Sam Marx
Samuel Marx, born Simon Marx , was the husband of Minnie Marx, and father of the Marx Brothers.He was born in Mertzwiller, Alsace, France in 1859, and he died on May 10, 1933 in Los Angeles, California. He met Minnie in New York where he was working as a dance teacher. They married in 1884 and had...

 (whose name was changed to Samuel Marx, and who was nicknamed "Frenchy") was a native of Alsace
Alsace
Alsace is the fifth-smallest of the 27 regions of France in land area , and the smallest in metropolitan France. It is also the seventh-most densely populated region in France and third most densely populated region in metropolitan France, with ca. 220 inhabitants per km²...

 and worked as a tailor. The family lived in the then-poor Yorkville
Yorkville, Manhattan
Yorkville is a neighborhood in the greater Upper East Side, in the Borough of Manhattan in New York City. Yorkville's boundaries include: the East River on the east, 96th Street on the north, Third Avenue on the west and 72nd Street to the south. However, its southern boundary is a subject of...

 section of New York City's Upper East Side
Upper East Side
The Upper East Side is a neighborhood in the borough of Manhattan in New York City, between Central Park and the East River. The Upper East Side lies within an area bounded by 59th Street to 96th Street, and the East River to Fifth Avenue-Central Park...

, between the Irish, German and Italian quarters.

Brothers

The brothers were:
Stage name Actual name Born Died Age
Chico
Chico Marx
Leonard "Chico" Marx was an American comedian and film star as part of the Marx Brothers. His persona in the act was that of a dim-witted albeit crafty con artist, seemingly of rural Italian origin, who wore shabby clothes, and sported a curly-haired wig and Tyrolean hat.As the first-born of the...

Leonard March 22, 1887 October 11, 1961 74
Harpo
Harpo Marx
Adolph "Harpo" Marx was an American comedian and film star. He was the second oldest of the Marx Brothers. His comic style was influenced by clown and pantomime traditions. He wore a curly reddish wig, and never spoke during performances...

Adolph (after 1911: Arthur) November 23, 1888 September 28, 1964 75
Groucho
Groucho Marx
Julius Henry "Groucho" Marx was an American comedian and film star famed as a master of wit. His rapid-fire delivery of innuendo-laden patter earned him many admirers. He made 13 feature films with his siblings the Marx Brothers, of whom he was the third-born...

Julius Henry October 2, 1890 August 19, 1977 86
Gummo
Gummo Marx
Milton "Gummo" Marx was an American vaudeville performer and theatrical agent. He was the fourth-born of the Marx Brothers. Born in New York City, he worked with his brothers on the vaudeville circuit, but left acting when he was drafted into the U.S...

Milton October 23, 1892 April 21, 1977 84
Zeppo
Zeppo Marx
Herbert Manfred "Zeppo" Marx was an American film star, musician, engineer, theatrical agent and businessman. He was the youngest of the five Marx Brothers. He appeared in the first five Marx Brothers feature films, from 1929 to 1933, but then left the act to start his second career as an...

Herbert Manfred February 25, 1901 November 30, 1979 78


A sixth brother, Manfred ("Mannie"), was actually the first child of Samuel and Minnie, born in 1886, though an online family tree states that he was born in 1885: "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 was pure myth. But Manfred can be verified. A death certificate of the Borough of Manhattan reveals that 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 Sophie Schönberg (née Salomons), who died on 10 April 1901." A cousin of the Marx brothers was Mary Livingstone
Mary Livingstone
Mary Livingstone , was an American radio comedienne and the wife and radio partner of comedy great Jack Benny . Enlisted almost entirely by accident to perform on her husband's popular program, she proved a talented comedienne...

 (b. Sadye Marks 1905-1983), who married comedian Jack Benny
Jack Benny
Jack Benny was an American comedian, vaudevillian, and actor for radio, television, and film...

.

Stage beginnings

The brothers were from a family of artists, and their musical talent was encouraged from an early age. Harpo was amazingly talented, learning to play an estimated six different instruments throughout his career. He became a dedicated harpist, which gave him his nickname. Chico was an excellent pianist, Groucho a guitarist and singer, and Zeppo a vocalist.
They got their start in vaudeville
Vaudeville
Vaudeville was a theatrical genre of variety entertainment in the United States and Canada from the early 1880s until the early 1930s. Each performance was made up of a series of separate, unrelated acts grouped together on a common bill...

, where their uncle Albert Schönberg performed as Al Shean
Al Shean
Al Shean was the stage name for comedian Abraham Elieser Adolph Schönberg, although other sources give his birth name variously as Adolf Schönberg, Albert Schönberg, or Alfred Schönberg. He is most remembered for being half of the vaudeville team Gallagher and Shean, and as the uncle of the Marx...

 of Gallagher and Shean
Gallagher and Shean
Gallagher & Shean was a highly successful double act on vaudeville and Broadway in the 1910s and 1920s, consisting of Edward Gallagher and Al Shean .-Career:...

. 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".

Comedy

One evening in 1912, a performance at the Opera House in Nacogdoches, Texas
Nacogdoches, Texas
Nacogdoches is a city in Nacogdoches County, Texas, in the United States. The 2010 census recorded the city's population to be 32,996. It is the county seat of Nacogdoches County and is situated in East Texas. Nacogdoches is a sister city of Natchitoches, Louisiana.Nacogdoches is the home of...

 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. The family then realized they had potential as a comic troupe. However, in Harpo Marx's autobiography, Harpo Speaks, he states that the runaway mule incident occurred in Ada, Oklahoma
Ada, Oklahoma
Ada is a city in and the county seat of Pontotoc County, Oklahoma, United States. The population was 16,008 at the 2000 census. As of 2009, the city population was estimated at 17,019....

.

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 their uncle, Al Shean
Al Shean
Al Shean was the stage name for comedian Abraham Elieser Adolph Schönberg, although other sources give his birth name variously as Adolf Schönberg, Albert Schönberg, or Alfred Schönberg. He is most remembered for being half of the vaudeville team Gallagher and Shean, and as the uncle of the Marx...

, of the famous vaudeville act Gallagher and Shean
Gallagher and Shean
Gallagher & Shean was a highly successful double act on vaudeville and Broadway in the 1910s and 1920s, consisting of Edward Gallagher and Al Shean .-Career:...

. At about this time, Gummo left to serve in World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

, reasoning that "anything is better than being an actor!" Zeppo replaced him in their final vaudeville years and in the jump to Broadway
Broadway theatre
Broadway theatre, commonly called simply Broadway, refers to theatrical performances presented in one of the 40 professional theatres with 500 or more seats located in the Theatre District centered along Broadway, and in Lincoln Center, in Manhattan in New York City...

, and then to Paramount
Paramount Pictures
Paramount Pictures Corporation is an American film production and distribution company, located at 5555 Melrose Avenue in Hollywood. Founded in 1912 and currently owned by media conglomerate Viacom, it is America's oldest existing film studio; it is also the last major film studio still...

 films.

During World War I, anti-German sentiments were common, and the family tried to conceal their German origin. After learning that farmers were excluded from the draft rolls, mother Minnie purchased a 27 acres (109,265.2 m²) poultry farm near Countryside, Illinois
Countryside, Illinois
Countryside is a city in Cook County, Illinois, United States. The population was 5,991 at the 2000 census.-Geography:Countryside is located at ....

, but the brothers soon found that chicken ranching was not in their blood. 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
Al Shean
Al Shean was the stage name for comedian Abraham Elieser Adolph Schönberg, although other sources give his birth name variously as Adolf Schönberg, Albert Schönberg, or Alfred Schönberg. He is most remembered for being half of the vaudeville team Gallagher and Shean, and as the uncle of the Marx...

. 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
James Agee
James Rufus Agee was an American author, journalist, poet, screenwriter and film critic. In the 1940s, he was one of the most influential film critics in the U.S...

) straight man
Double act
A double act, also known as a comedy duo, is a comic pairing in which humor is derived from the uneven relationship between two partners, usually of the same gender, age, ethnic origin and profession, but drastically different personalities or behavior...

.

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
Animal Crackers (film)
Animal Crackers is a 1930 American comedy film, in which mayhem and zaniness ensue when a valuable painting goes missing during a party in honor of famed African explorer Captain Spaulding. The film was both a critical and commercial success upon initial release, and remains one of the Marx...

] that I would have let him play the part indefinitely, if they had allowed me to smoke in the audience", Groucho recalled. (Zeppo did impersonate Groucho in the film version of Animal Crackers
Animal Crackers (film)
Animal Crackers is a 1930 American comedy film, in which mayhem and zaniness ensue when a valuable painting goes missing during a party in honor of famed African explorer Captain Spaulding. The film was both a critical and commercial success upon initial release, and remains one of the Marx...

. 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.)

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 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. 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
I'll Say She Is
I'll Say She Is is a stage revue written by brothers Will B. Johnstone and Tom Johnstone and starring the Marx Brothers and Lotta Miles.-Background:...

(1924–1925) and then with two musical comedies, The Cocoanuts
The Cocoanuts (musical)
The Cocoanuts is a musical with music and lyrics by Irving Berlin and a book by George S. Kaufman, with additional text by Morrie Ryskind.-Background:...

(1925–1926) and Animal Crackers
Animal Crackers (theatre)
Animal Crackers is a musical with music and lyrics by Bert Kalmar and Harry Ruby and a book by George S. Kaufman and Morrie Ryskind. The musical starred the Marx Brothers.-Productions and background:...

(1928–1929). Playwright George S. Kaufman
George S. Kaufman
George Simon Kaufman was an American playwright, theatre director and producer, humorist, and drama critic. In addition to comedies and political satire, he wrote several musicals, notably for the Marx Brothers...

 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
Horse Feathers
Horse Feathers is a Marx Brothers film comedy. It stars the four Marx Brothers and Thelma Todd. It was written by Bert Kalmar, Harry Ruby, S. J. Perelman, and Will B. Johnstone. Kalmar and Ruby also wrote some of the original music for the film...

. 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 during a poker
Poker
Poker is a family of card games that share betting rules and usually hand rankings. Poker games differ in how the cards are dealt, how hands may be formed, whether the high or low hand wins the pot in a showdown , limits on bet sizes, and how many rounds of betting are allowed.In most modern poker...

 game in Galesburg, Illinois
Galesburg, Illinois
Galesburg is a city in Knox County, Illinois, in the United States. As of the 2010 census, the city population was 32,195. It is the county seat of Knox County....

, based both on the brothers' personalities and Gus Mager
Gus Mager
Charles Augustus Mager , better known as Gus Mager, was an American painter, illustrator and cartoonist during the first half of the 20th century...

's Sherlocko the Monk, a popular comic strip of the day which included a supporting character named "Groucho the Monk". The reasons behind Chico's and Harpo's stage names are undisputed, and Gummo's is fairly well established. Groucho's and Zeppo's are far less clear. Arthur was named Harpo because he played the harp
Harp
The harp is a multi-stringed instrument which has the plane of its strings positioned perpendicularly to the soundboard. Organologically, it is in the general category of chordophones and has its own sub category . All harps have a neck, resonator and strings...

, and Leonard became Chico because he was, in the slang of the period, a "chicken chaser". ("Chickens"—later "chicks"—was period slang for women. "In England now," said Groucho, "they were called 'birds'.")

In his autobiography, Harpo explains that Milton became Gummo because he crept about the theater like a gumshoe
Detective
A detective is an investigator, either a member of a police agency or a private person. The latter may be known as private investigators or "private eyes"...

 detective. 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. 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. Robert B. Weide
    Robert B. Weide
    Robert B. Weide is an American screenwriter, producer, and director, perhaps best known for his Emmy-winning work on documentaries and Curb Your Enthusiasm.-Career:Weide's career began with an early passion for the Marx Brothers...

    , 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
    A Night at the Opera (film)
    A Night at the Opera is a 1935 American comedy film starring Groucho Marx, Chico Marx and Harpo Marx, and featuring Kitty Carlisle, Allan Jones, Margaret Dumont, Sig Ruman, and Walter Woolf King. It was the first film the Marx Brothers made for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer after their departure from...

    ,
    that among the competing explanations he found this one the most believable. Steve Allen
    Steve Allen
    Steve Allen may refer to:*Steve Allen , American musician, comedian, and writer*Steve Allen , presenter on the London-based talk radio station LBC 97.3...

    , 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. However, at the very end of his life, Groucho finally admitted that Fisher had named him Groucho because he was the "moody one".

  • The grouch bag: 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
    George Fenneman
    George Watt Fenneman was an American radio and television announcer.Fenneman was born in Beijing, China, the only child of American parents in the import-export business. He was nine months old when his parents moved to San Francisco, California, United States, where he grew up...

    , Groucho's sidekick on his TV game show
    Game show
    A game show is a type of radio or television program in which members of the public, television personalities or celebrities, sometimes as part of a team, play a game which involves answering questions or solving puzzles usually for money and/or prizes...

    , You Bet Your Life
    You Bet Your Life
    You Bet Your Life is an American quiz show that aired on both radio and television. The original and best-known version was hosted by Groucho Marx of the Marx Brothers, with announcer and assistant George Fenneman. The show debuted on ABC Radio in October 1947, then moved to CBS Radio in September...

    .
    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. 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
    Wall Street Crash of 1929
    The Wall Street Crash of 1929 , also known as the Great Crash, and the Stock Market Crash of 1929, was the most devastating stock market crash in the history of the United States, taking into consideration the full extent and duration of its fallout...

    , so naming him for the grouch bag may have been a comment on this trait. 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
Chamois leather
Chamois leather , sometimes known as a shammy, is a type of porous leather that is favored for its gentle, non-abrasive composition and exceptional absorption properties...

 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. But that's not so. Grouch bags were worn on manly chests long before there was a Groucho.

  • Groucho's explanation: Groucho himself insisted that he was named for a character in the comic strip, Knocko the Monk, which inspired the craze for nicknames ending in "o"; in fact, there was a character in that strip named "Groucho the Monk". However, he is the only Marx or Marx associate who defended this theory, and as he is not an unbiased witness, few biographers take the claim seriously.

Groucho himself was no help on this point; during his Carnegie Hall
Carnegie Hall
Carnegie Hall is a concert venue in Midtown Manhattan in New York City, United States, located at 881 Seventh Avenue, occupying the east stretch of Seventh Avenue between West 56th Street and West 57th Street, two blocks south of Central Park....

 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." He goes on to mention the possibility that he was named after his unemployed uncle, Julius, who lived with his family. The family believed he was actually a rich uncle hiding a fortune. Groucho claims that he may have been named after him (perhaps by the family trying to get into the will). "And he finally died, and he left us his will, and in that will he left three razor blades, an 8-ball, a celluloid dicky, and he owed my father $85 beside."


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
    Chimpanzee
    Chimpanzee, sometimes colloquially chimp, is the common name for the two extant species of ape in the genus Pan. The Congo River forms the boundary between the native habitat of the two species:...

     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." 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
    Ole and Lena
    Ole and Lena are central characters in jokes by Scandinavian Americans, particularly in the Upper Midwest region of the U.S., particularly in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, South Dakota and North Dakota where Scandinavian immigrant traditions are common.-Format:Ole and Lena jokes can be long and...

     jokes mock Minnesotans. One day, as Chico returned home, he found Herbert sitting on the fence. 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: In a tape-recorded interview excerpted on The Unknown Marx Brothers, Groucho said Zeppo was so named because he was born when the first zeppelin
    Zeppelin
    A Zeppelin is a type of rigid airship pioneered by the German Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin in the early 20th century. It was based on designs he had outlined in 1874 and detailed in 1893. His plans were reviewed by committee in 1894 and patented in the United States on 14 March 1899...

    s started crossing the ocean. 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
    Zeppo Marx
    Herbert Manfred "Zeppo" Marx was an American film star, musician, engineer, theatrical agent and businessman. He was the youngest of the five Marx Brothers. He appeared in the first five Marx Brothers feature films, from 1929 to 1933, but then left the act to start his second career as an...

     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
Alexander Woollcott
Alexander Humphreys Woollcott was an American critic and commentator for The New Yorker magazine and a member of the Algonquin Round Table....

 overheard them calling one another by the nicknames; he asked them why they used their own ordinary 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
I'll Say She Is
I'll Say She Is is a stage revue written by brothers Will B. Johnstone and Tom Johnstone and starring the Marx Brothers and Lotta Miles.-Background:...

,
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. 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.

Paramount

The Marx Brothers' stage shows became popular just as Hollywood was changing to "talkies". They signed a contract with Paramount
Paramount Pictures
Paramount Pictures Corporation is an American film production and distribution company, located at 5555 Melrose Avenue in Hollywood. Founded in 1912 and currently owned by media conglomerate Viacom, it is America's oldest existing film studio; it is also the last major film studio still...

 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
Humor Risk
Humor Risk was the first Marx Brothers film. The short film was never released and is now considered a lost film. The print may have been accidentally thrown away when left in the screening box overnight...

) were adaptations of Broadway shows: The Cocoanuts
The Cocoanuts
The Cocoanuts is the first feature-length Marx Brothers film, produced by Paramount Pictures. The musical comedy stars the four Marx Brothers, Oscar Shaw, Mary Eaton, and Margaret Dumont. Produced by Walter Wanger and the first sound movie to credit more than one director , and was adapted to the...

(1929) and Animal Crackers
Animal Crackers (film)
Animal Crackers is a 1930 American comedy film, in which mayhem and zaniness ensue when a valuable painting goes missing during a party in honor of famed African explorer Captain Spaulding. The film was both a critical and commercial success upon initial release, and remains one of the Marx...

(1930). Both were written by George S. Kaufman
George S. Kaufman
George Simon Kaufman was an American playwright, theatre director and producer, humorist, and drama critic. In addition to comedies and political satire, he wrote several musicals, notably for the Marx Brothers...

 and Morrie Ryskind
Morrie Ryskind
Morrie Ryskind was an American dramatist, lyricist and writer of theatrical productions and motion pictures, who became a conservative political activist later in life.-Biography:...

. 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
The House That Shadows Built
The House That Shadows Built is a short feature film, roughly 55 minutes long, from Paramount Pictures, made to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the studio's founding in 1912...

(1931), in which they adapted a scene from I'll Say She Is. Their third feature-length film, Monkey Business (1931), was their first that was not based on a stage production, and the only movie in which Harpo's voice is heard (he sings tenor
Tenor
The tenor is a type of male singing voice and is the highest male voice within the modal register. The typical tenor voice lies between C3, the C one octave below middle C, to the A above middle C in choral music, and up to high C in solo work. The low extreme for tenors is roughly B2...

 from inside a barrel in the opening scene). Horse Feathers
Horse Feathers
Horse Feathers is a Marx Brothers film comedy. It stars the four Marx Brothers and Thelma Todd. It was written by Bert Kalmar, Harry Ruby, S. J. Perelman, and Will B. Johnstone. Kalmar and Ruby also wrote some of the original music for the film...

(1932), in which the brothers satirized the American
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 college system and Prohibition
Prohibition
Prohibition of alcohol, often referred to simply as prohibition, is the practice of prohibiting the manufacture, transportation, import, export, sale, and consumption of alcohol and alcoholic beverages. The term can also apply to the periods in the histories of the countries during which the...

, was their most popular film yet, and won them the cover of Time
Time (magazine)
Time is an American news magazine. A European edition is published from London. Time Europe covers the Middle East, Africa and, since 2003, Latin America. An Asian edition is based in Hong Kong...

. 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. In another famous sketch, shown in Animal Crackers, Harpo drops a full banquet's worth of pilfered silverware out of his sleeve, followed by a coffeepot.

During this time, Chico and Groucho Marx starred in a radio
Radio
Radio is the transmission of signals through free space by modulation of electromagnetic waves with frequencies below those of visible light. Electromagnetic radiation travels by means of oscillating electromagnetic fields that pass through the air and the vacuum of space...

 comedy series, Flywheel, Shyster and Flywheel
Flywheel, Shyster and Flywheel
Flywheel, Shyster, and Flywheel is a situation comedy radio show starring two of the Marx Brothers, Groucho and Chico, and written primarily by Nat Perrin and Arthur Sheekman. It was originally broadcast in the United States on the National Broadcasting Company's Blue Network beginning November 28,...

. 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
Library of Congress
The Library of Congress is the research library of the United States Congress, de facto national library of the United States, and the oldest federal cultural institution in the United States. Located in three buildings in Washington, D.C., it is the largest library in the world by shelf space and...

 and both published in a book and performed with Marx Brother impersonators for BBC Radio
BBC Radio
BBC Radio is a service of the British Broadcasting Corporation which has operated in the United Kingdom under the terms of a Royal Charter since 1927. For a history of BBC radio prior to 1927 see British Broadcasting Company...

.

Their last Paramount film, Duck Soup (1933) — directed by the most highly regarded director they ever worked with, Leo McCarey
Leo McCarey
Thomas Leo McCarey was an American film director, screenwriter and producer. During his lifetime he was involved in nearly 200 movies, especially comedies...

 — is the higher rated of two Marx Brothers films to make the American Film Institute
American Film Institute
The American Film Institute is an independent non-profit organization created by the National Endowment for the Arts, which was established in 1967 when President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the National Foundation on the Arts and the Humanities Act...

's "100 years ... 100 Movies" list (the other film being A Night at the Opera
A Night at the Opera (film)
A Night at the Opera is a 1935 American comedy film starring Groucho Marx, Chico Marx and Harpo Marx, and featuring Kitty Carlisle, Allan Jones, Margaret Dumont, Sig Ruman, and Walter Woolf King. It was the first film the Marx Brothers made for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer after their departure from...

). 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
Fredonia, New York
Fredonia is a village in Chautauqua County, New York, United States. The population was 11,068 as of 2009.The Village of Fredonia is in the Town of Pomfret south of Lake Erie...

. 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
Jack Benny
Jack Benny was an American comedian, vaudevillian, and actor for radio, television, and film...

 and Lana Turner
Lana Turner
Lana Turner was an American actress.Discovered and signed to a film contract by MGM at the age of sixteen, Turner first attracted attention in They Won't Forget . She played featured roles, often as the ingenue, in such films as Love Finds Andy Hardy...

 get their starts. Groucho and Chico did radio, and there was talk of returning to Broadway. At a bridge game with Chico, Irving Thalberg
Irving Thalberg
Irving Grant Thalberg was an American film producer during the early years of motion pictures. He was called "The Boy Wonder" for his youth and his extraordinary ability to select the right scripts, choose the right actors, gather the best production staff and make very profitable films.-Life and...

 began discussing the possibility of the Marxes coming to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc. is an American media company, involved primarily in the production and distribution of films and television programs. MGM was founded in 1924 when the entertainment entrepreneur Marcus Loew gained control of Metro Pictures, Goldwyn Pictures Corporation and Louis B. 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. Thalberg was adamant that these scripts had to include a "low point" where all seems lost for both the Marxes and the romantic leads. In a June 13, 1969, interview with Dick Cavett
Dick Cavett
Richard Alva "Dick" Cavett is a former American television talk show host known for his conversational style and in-depth discussion of issues...

, Groucho said that the two movies made with Thalberg (A Night at the Opera
A Night at the Opera (film)
A Night at the Opera is a 1935 American comedy film starring Groucho Marx, Chico Marx and Harpo Marx, and featuring Kitty Carlisle, Allan Jones, Margaret Dumont, Sig Ruman, and Walter Woolf King. It was the first film the Marx Brothers made for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer after their departure from...

and A Day at the Races
A Day at the Races (film)
Further reading* Elisabeth Buxbaum: Veronika, der Lenz ist da. Walter Jurmann – Ein Musiker zwischen den Welten und Zeiten. Mit einem Werkverzeichnis von Alexander Sieghardt. Edition Steinbauer, Wien 2006, ISBN 3-902494-18-2-External links:*...

) were the best that they ever produced.

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 did not.

The first film that the brothers shot with Thalberg was A Night at the Opera
A Night at the Opera (film)
A Night at the Opera is a 1935 American comedy film starring Groucho Marx, Chico Marx and Harpo Marx, and featuring Kitty Carlisle, Allan Jones, Margaret Dumont, Sig Ruman, and Walter Woolf King. It was the first film the Marx Brothers made for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer after their departure from...

(1935), a satire
Satire
Satire is primarily a literary genre or form, although in practice it can also be found in the graphic and performing arts. In satire, vices, follies, abuses, and shortcomings are held up to ridicule, ideally with the intent of shaming individuals, and society itself, into improvement...

 on the world of opera
Opera
Opera is an art form in which singers and musicians perform a dramatic work combining text and musical score, usually in a theatrical setting. Opera incorporates many of the elements of spoken theatre, such as acting, scenery, and costumes and sometimes includes dance...

, where the brothers help two young singers in love by throwing a production of Il Trovatore
Il trovatore
Il trovatore is an opera in four acts by Giuseppe Verdi to an Italian libretto by Salvadore Cammarano, based on the play El Trovador by Antonio García Gutiérrez. Cammarano died in mid-1852 before completing the libretto...

into chaos. 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
A Day at the Races (film)
Further reading* Elisabeth Buxbaum: Veronika, der Lenz ist da. Walter Jurmann – Ein Musiker zwischen den Welten und Zeiten. Mit einem Werkverzeichnis von Alexander Sieghardt. Edition Steinbauer, Wien 2006, ISBN 3-902494-18-2-External links:*...

(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.

After a short experience at RKO (Room Service
Room Service (1938 film)
Room Service is an RKO film comedy starring the Marx Brothers and based on the 1937 play of the same name by Allen Boretz and John Murray. It co-stars Lucille Ball, Ann Miller, Alexander Asro, and Frank Albertson.-Plot outline:...

, 1938), the Marx Brothers made three more films before leaving MGM, At the Circus
At the Circus
At the Circus is a 1939 Marx Brothers comedy film released by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer in which they save a circus from bankruptcy...

(1939), Go West (1940) and The Big Store
The Big Store
The Big Store is a Marx Brothers comedy film in which Groucho, Chico and Harpo work to save the Phelps Department Store, owned by Martha Phelps . Groucho plays her detective and bodyguard Wolf J...

(1941). 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
Gambling
Gambling is the wagering of money or something of material value on an event with an uncertain outcome with the primary intent of winning additional money and/or material goods...

 debts, the Marx Brothers made another two films together, A Night in Casablanca
A Night in Casablanca
A Night in Casablanca was the twelfth Marx Brothers movie, starring Groucho Marx, Chico Marx, and Harpo Marx. The picture was directed by Archie Mayo and written by Joseph Fields and Roland Kibbee, and is generally considered one of the better of the Marx Brothers' later films.-Plot:Set in...

(1946) and Love Happy
Love Happy
Love Happy was the 14th and last starring feature for the Marx Brothers. The film stars Harpo Marx, Chico Marx, and, in a smaller role than usual, Groucho Marx, plus Ilona Massey, Vera-Ellen, Paul Valentine, Marion Hutton, Raymond Burr, Bruce Gordon , and Eric Blore, with a walk-on by Marilyn Monroe...

(1949), both of them released by United Artists
United Artists
United Artists Corporation is an American film studio. The original studio of that name was founded in 1919 by D. W. Griffith, Charles Chaplin, Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks....

.

Later years

From the 1940s onward, Chico and Harpo appeared separately and together in nightclubs and casinos. Chico also fronted a big band
Big band
A big band is a type of musical ensemble associated with jazz and the Swing Era typically consisting of rhythm, brass, and woodwind instruments totaling approximately twelve to twenty-five musicians...

, the Chico Marx Orchestra (with 17-year-old Mel Tormé
Mel Tormé
Melvin Howard Tormé , nicknamed The Velvet Fog, was an American musician, known for his jazz singing. He was also a jazz composer and arranger, a drummer, an actor in radio, film, and television, and the author of five books...

 as a vocalist). Groucho began his solo career with You Bet Your Life
You Bet Your Life
You Bet Your Life is an American quiz show that aired on both radio and television. The original and best-known version was hosted by Groucho Marx of the Marx Brothers, with announcer and assistant George Fenneman. The show debuted on ABC Radio in October 1947, then moved to CBS Radio in September...

, which ran from 1947 to 1961 on NBC
NBC
The National Broadcasting Company is an American commercial broadcasting television network and former radio network headquartered in the GE Building in New York City's Rockefeller Center with additional major offices near Los Angeles and in Chicago...

 radio and television. He also authored several books, including Groucho and Me (1959), Memoirs of a Mangy Lover (1964) and The Groucho Letters (1967).

Groucho and Chico briefly appeared together in a 1957 short film promoting the Saturday Evening Post entitled "Showdown at Ulcer Gulch," directed by animator Shamus Culhane
Shamus Culhane
James "Shamus" Culhane was an American animator, film director, and film producer.Culhane worked for a number of American animation studios, including Fleischer Studios, the Ub Iwerks studio, Walt Disney Productions, and the Walter Lantz studio. He began his animation career in 1925 working for J.R...

, Chico's son-in-law. Groucho, Chico, and Harpo worked together (in separate scenes) in The Story of Mankind
The Story of Mankind (1957 film)
The Story of Mankind is a 1957 American fantasy film, based on the nonfiction book The Story of Mankind by Hendrik Willem van Loon, which is notable mostly for its campness, and for featuring an ensemble of notable Hollywood performers in the last years of their careers...

(1957). In 1959, the three began production of Deputy Seraph, a TV series starring Harpo and Chico as blundering angels, and Groucho (in every third episode) as their boss, the "Deputy Seraph
Seraph
A seraph is a type of celestial being in Judaism and Christianity...

." The project was abandoned when Chico was found to be uninsurable (and incapable of memorizing his lines) due to severe arteriosclerosis
Arteriosclerosis
Arteriosclerosis refers to a stiffening of arteries.Arteriosclerosis is a general term describing any hardening of medium or large arteries It should not be confused with "arteriolosclerosis" or "atherosclerosis".Also known by the name "myoconditis" which is...

. On March 8 of that year, Chico and Harpo starred as bumbling thieves in The Incredible Jewel Robbery
The Incredible Jewel Robbery
The Incredible Jewel Robbery was an episode of General Electric Theater, broadcast by CBS on March 8, 1959. It was the first appearance of all three Marx Brothers together in the same scene since A Night in Casablanca in 1946, although they had appeared in individual scenes in The Story of Mankind...

, a half-hour pantomimed episode of the General Electric Theater
General Electric Theater
General Electric Theater is an American anthology series hosted by Ronald W. Reagan that was broadcast on CBS radio and television. The series was sponsored by General Electric's Department of Public Relations.-Radio:...

on CBS. Groucho made a cameo appearance—uncredited, because of constraints in his NBC contract—in the last scene, and delivered the only line of dialog ("We won't talk until we see our lawyer!").

According to a September 1947 article in Newsweek
Newsweek
Newsweek is an American weekly news magazine published in New York City. It is distributed throughout the United States and internationally. It is the second-largest news weekly magazine in the U.S., having trailed Time in circulation and advertising revenue for most of its existence...

, Groucho, Harpo, Chico and Zeppo all signed to appear as themselves in a biopic entitled The Life and Times of the Marx Brothers. 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. The film, had it been made, would have been the first performance by the Brothers as a quartet since 1933.

The five brothers made only one television appearance together, in 1957, on an early incarnation of The Tonight Show
The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson
The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson is a talk show hosted by Johnny Carson under the Tonight Show franchise from 1962 to 1992. It originally aired during late-night....

called Tonight! America After Dark, hosted by Jack Lescoulie
Jack Lescoulie
Jack Lescoulie was a radio and television announcer and host, notably on NBC's Today during the 1950s and 1960s. His parents were both in vaudeville along with their children; Lescoulie's first public performance was at age seven. His first media job was with KGFJ, Los Angeles, when he was still...

. Five years later (October 1, 1962) after Jack Paar's tenure, Groucho made a guest appearance to introduce the Tonight Show's new host, Johnny Carson
Johnny Carson
John William "Johnny" Carson was an American television host and comedian, known as host of The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson for 30 years . Carson received six Emmy Awards including the Governor Award and a 1985 Peabody Award; he was inducted into the Television Academy Hall of Fame in 1987...

.

Around 1960, the acclaimed director Billy Wilder
Billy Wilder
Billy Wilder was an Austro-Hungarian born American filmmaker, screenwriter, producer, artist, and journalist, whose career spanned more than 50 years and 60 films. He is regarded as one of the most brilliant and versatile filmmakers of Hollywood's golden age...

 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
United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

 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.

In 1970, the four Marx Brothers had a brief reunion (of sorts) in the animated ABC
American Broadcasting Company
The American Broadcasting Company is an American commercial broadcasting television network. Created in 1943 from the former NBC Blue radio network, ABC is owned by The Walt Disney Company and is part of Disney-ABC Television Group. Its first broadcast on television was in 1948...

 television special The Mad, Mad, Mad Comedians
The Mad, Mad, Mad Comedians
The Mad, Mad, Mad Comedians is an animated half-hour ABC television special produced by Rankin/Bass Animation, best known for their stop-motion Christmas special Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. The show aired on April 7, 1970 before the airing of that year's Oscars...

, produced by Rankin-Bass animation (of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer is a fictional reindeer with a glowing red nose. He is popularly known as "Santa's 9th Reindeer" and, when depicted, is the lead reindeer pulling Santa's sleigh on Christmas Eve. The luminosity of his nose is so great that it illuminates the team's path through...

fame). The special featured animated reworkings of various famous comedians' acts, including W. C. Fields
W. C. Fields
William Claude Dukenfield , better known as W. C. Fields, was an American comedian, actor, juggler and writer...

, Jack Benny
Jack Benny
Jack Benny was an American comedian, vaudevillian, and actor for radio, television, and film...

, George Burns
George Burns
George Burns , born Nathan Birnbaum, was an American comedian, actor, and writer.He was one of the few entertainers whose career successfully spanned vaudeville, film, radio, television and movies, with and without his wife, Gracie Allen. His arched eyebrow and cigar smoke punctuation became...

, Henny Youngman
Henny Youngman
Henry "Henny" Youngman was a British-born American comedian and violinist famous for "one-liners", short, simple jokes usually delivered rapid-fire...

, The Smothers Brothers, Flip Wilson
Flip Wilson
Clerow Wilson, Jr. , known professionally as Flip Wilson, was an American comedian and actor. In the early 1970s, Wilson hosted his own weekly variety series, The Flip Wilson Show...

, Phyllis Diller
Phyllis Diller
Phyllis Diller is an American actress and comedian. She created a stage persona of a wild-haired, eccentrically dressed housewife who makes jokes about a husband named "Fang" while pretending to smoke from a long cigarette holder...

, Jack E. Leonard
Jack E. Leonard
Jack E. Leonard was an American comedian who made frequent appearances on television variety and game shows.-Biography:...

, George Jessel
George Jessel (actor)
George Albert Jessel was an American illustrated song "model," actor, singer, songwriter, and Academy Award-winning movie producer. He was famous in his lifetime as a multitalented comedic entertainer, achieving a level of recognition that transcended his limited roles in movies...

 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 had left show business in 1933). Voice actor Paul Frees
Paul Frees
Paul Frees was an American voice actor and character actor.-Biography:He was born Solomon Hersh Frees in Chicago...

 filled in for all three (no voice was needed for Harpo, who was also deceased). The Marx Brothers' segment was a reworking of a scene from their Broadway play I'll Say She Is
I'll Say She Is
I'll Say She Is is a stage revue written by brothers Will B. Johnstone and Tom Johnstone and starring the Marx Brothers and Lotta Miles.-Background:...

, a parody of Napoleon
Napoleon I of France
Napoleon Bonaparte was a French military and political leader during the latter stages of the French Revolution.As Napoleon I, he was Emperor of the French from 1804 to 1815...

 which Groucho considered among the Brothers' funniest routines. The sketch featured animated representations, if not the voices, of all four brothers. Romeo Muller
Romeo Muller
Romeo Muller, Jr. was an American screenwriter and actor most remembered for his screenplays such as for the 1964 TV special Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.-Early years:...

 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 television shows and movies have used Marx Brothers references. Animaniacs
Animaniacs
Steven Spielberg Presents Animaniacs, usually referred to as simply Animaniacs, is an American animated series, distributed by Warner Bros. Television and produced by Amblin Entertainment and Warner Bros. Animation. The cartoon was the second animated series produced by the collaboration of Steven...

and Tiny Toons, for example, have featured Marx Brothers jokes and skits. Hawkeye Pierce (Alan Alda
Alan Alda
Alphonso Joseph D'Abruzzo , better known as Alan Alda, is an American actor, director, screenwriter, and author. A six-time Emmy Award and Golden Globe Award winner, he is best known for his role as Hawkeye Pierce in the TV series M*A*S*H...

) 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
Bugs Bunny
Bugs Bunny is a animated character created in 1938 at Leon Schlesinger Productions, later Warner Bros. Cartoons. Bugs is an anthropomorphic gray rabbit and is famous for his flippant, insouciant personality and his portrayal as a trickster. He has primarily appeared in animated cartoons, most...

 also impersonated Groucho Marx in 1947 cartoon Slick Hare
Slick Hare
"Slick Hare" is a 1947 Merrie Melodies Bugs Bunny cartoon, directed by Friz Freleng. It parodies the Mocambo nightclub in Los Angeles—in the cartoon referred to as "The Mocrumbo". Mel Blanc voices Bugs and an impression of Humphrey Bogart, while Arthur Q. Bryan voices Elmer Fudd...

. In the Airwolf
Airwolf
Airwolf is an American television series that ran from 1984 until 1987. The program centers on a high-tech military helicopter, code named Airwolf, and its crew as they undertake various missions, many involving espionage, with a Cold War theme....

episode 'Condemned', four anti-virus formulae for a deadly plague were named after the four Marx Brothers.

Also noteworthy is the fact that Harpo Marx appeared as himself in a sketch on I Love Lucy
I Love Lucy
I Love Lucy is an American television sitcom starring Lucille Ball, Desi Arnaz, Vivian Vance, and William Frawley. The black-and-white series originally ran from October 15, 1951, to May 6, 1957, on the Columbia Broadcasting System...

in which he and Lucille Ball
Lucille Ball
Lucille Désirée Ball was an American comedian, film, television, stage and radio actress, model, film and television executive, and star of the sitcoms I Love Lucy, The Lucy–Desi Comedy Hour, The Lucy Show, Here's Lucy and Life With Lucy...

 reprised the mirror routine from Duck Soup, with Lucy dressed up as Harpo. Lucy had met the Marxes when she appeared in a supporting role in an earlier Marx Brothers film, Room Service
Room Service (1938 film)
Room Service is an RKO film comedy starring the Marx Brothers and based on the 1937 play of the same name by Allen Boretz and John Murray. It co-stars Lucille Ball, Ann Miller, Alexander Asro, and Frank Albertson.-Plot outline:...

. Chico once appeared on I've Got a Secret
I've Got a Secret
I've Got a Secret is a panel game show produced by Mark Goodson and Bill Todman for CBS television. Created by comedy writers Allan Sherman and Howard Merrill, it was a derivative of Goodson-Todman's own panel show What's My Line?...

dressed up as Harpo; his secret was shown in a caption reading "I'm actually Chico Marx."

Filmography

Films with the Four Marx Brothers:
  • Humor Risk
    Humor Risk
    Humor Risk was the first Marx Brothers film. The short film was never released and is now considered a lost film. The print may have been accidentally thrown away when left in the screening box overnight...

    (1921), previewed once and never released; thought to be lost
    Lost film
    A lost film is a feature film or short film that is no longer known to exist in studio archives, private collections or public archives such as the Library of Congress, where at least one copy of all American films are deposited and catalogued for copyright reasons...

  • The Cocoanuts
    The Cocoanuts
    The Cocoanuts is the first feature-length Marx Brothers film, produced by Paramount Pictures. The musical comedy stars the four Marx Brothers, Oscar Shaw, Mary Eaton, and Margaret Dumont. Produced by Walter Wanger and the first sound movie to credit more than one director , and was adapted to the...

    (1929), released by Paramount Pictures
    Paramount Pictures
    Paramount Pictures Corporation is an American film production and distribution company, located at 5555 Melrose Avenue in Hollywood. Founded in 1912 and currently owned by media conglomerate Viacom, it is America's oldest existing film studio; it is also the last major film studio still...

  • Animal Crackers
    Animal Crackers (film)
    Animal Crackers is a 1930 American comedy film, in which mayhem and zaniness ensue when a valuable painting goes missing during a party in honor of famed African explorer Captain Spaulding. The film was both a critical and commercial success upon initial release, and remains one of the Marx...

    (1930), released by Paramount
  • The House That Shadows Built
    The House That Shadows Built
    The House That Shadows Built is a short feature film, roughly 55 minutes long, from Paramount Pictures, made to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the studio's founding in 1912...

    (1931), released by Paramount (short subject)
  • Monkey Business (1931), released by Paramount
  • Horse Feathers
    Horse Feathers
    Horse Feathers is a Marx Brothers film comedy. It stars the four Marx Brothers and Thelma Todd. It was written by Bert Kalmar, Harry Ruby, S. J. Perelman, and Will B. Johnstone. Kalmar and Ruby also wrote some of the original music for the film...

    (1932), released by Paramount
  • Duck Soup (1933), released by Paramount


Films with the three Marx Brothers (post-Zeppo):
  • A Night at the Opera
    A Night at the Opera (film)
    A Night at the Opera is a 1935 American comedy film starring Groucho Marx, Chico Marx and Harpo Marx, and featuring Kitty Carlisle, Allan Jones, Margaret Dumont, Sig Ruman, and Walter Woolf King. It was the first film the Marx Brothers made for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer after their departure from...

    (1935), released by MGM
  • A Day at the Races
    A Day at the Races (film)
    Further reading* Elisabeth Buxbaum: Veronika, der Lenz ist da. Walter Jurmann – Ein Musiker zwischen den Welten und Zeiten. Mit einem Werkverzeichnis von Alexander Sieghardt. Edition Steinbauer, Wien 2006, ISBN 3-902494-18-2-External links:*...

    (1937), released by MGM
  • Room Service
    Room Service (1938 film)
    Room Service is an RKO film comedy starring the Marx Brothers and based on the 1937 play of the same name by Allen Boretz and John Murray. It co-stars Lucille Ball, Ann Miller, Alexander Asro, and Frank Albertson.-Plot outline:...

    (1938), released by RKO Radio Pictures
  • At the Circus
    At the Circus
    At the Circus is a 1939 Marx Brothers comedy film released by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer in which they save a circus from bankruptcy...

    (1939), released by MGM
  • Go West (1940), released by MGM
  • The Big Store
    The Big Store
    The Big Store is a Marx Brothers comedy film in which Groucho, Chico and Harpo work to save the Phelps Department Store, owned by Martha Phelps . Groucho plays her detective and bodyguard Wolf J...

    (1941), released by MGM
  • A Night in Casablanca
    A Night in Casablanca
    A Night in Casablanca was the twelfth Marx Brothers movie, starring Groucho Marx, Chico Marx, and Harpo Marx. The picture was directed by Archie Mayo and written by Joseph Fields and Roland Kibbee, and is generally considered one of the better of the Marx Brothers' later films.-Plot:Set in...

    (1946), released by United Artists
    United Artists
    United Artists Corporation is an American film studio. The original studio of that name was founded in 1919 by D. W. Griffith, Charles Chaplin, Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks....

  • Love Happy
    Love Happy
    Love Happy was the 14th and last starring feature for the Marx Brothers. The film stars Harpo Marx, Chico Marx, and, in a smaller role than usual, Groucho Marx, plus Ilona Massey, Vera-Ellen, Paul Valentine, Marion Hutton, Raymond Burr, Bruce Gordon , and Eric Blore, with a walk-on by Marilyn Monroe...

    (1949), released by United Artists
  • The Story of Mankind
    The Story of Mankind (1957 film)
    The Story of Mankind is a 1957 American fantasy film, based on the nonfiction book The Story of Mankind by Hendrik Willem van Loon, which is notable mostly for its campness, and for featuring an ensemble of notable Hollywood performers in the last years of their careers...

    (1957), released by Warner Brothers (not a Marx Brothers film, but the three brothers perform separate cameos)


Solo endeavors:
  • Groucho:
    • Copacabana (1947), released by United Artists
    • Mr. Music (1951), released by Paramount
    • Double Dynamite
      Double Dynamite
      Double Dynamite is a 1951 musical comedy film featuring Jane Russell, Groucho Marx, and Frank Sinatra. The film was written by Leo Rosten, Mel Shavelson, Mannie Manheim, and Harry Crane, and directed by Irving Cummings....

      (1951), released by RKO
    • A Girl in Every Port
      A Girl in Every Port (1952 film)
      A Girl in Every Port is a 1952 comedy film about two sailors who buy a racehorse. It was based on the short story They Sell Sailors Elephants by Frederick Hazlitt Brennan.-Cast:*Groucho Marx as Benjamin Franklin 'Benny' Linn...

      (1952), released by RKO
    • Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter?
      Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter?
      Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? is a 1957 American satiric comedy film starring Jayne Mansfield and Tony Randall, with Betsy Drake, Joan Blondell, John Williams, Henry Jones, Lili Gentle, Mickey Hargitay, and a cameo by Groucho Marx...

      (1957), released by 20th Century Fox (uncredited)
    • The Mikado
      The Mikado
      The Mikado; or, The Town of Titipu is a comic opera in two acts, with music by Arthur Sullivan and libretto by W. S. Gilbert, their ninth of fourteen operatic collaborations...

      (1960), made for television
    • Skidoo
      Skidoo (film)
      Skidoo is an American comedy film directed by Otto Preminger, starring Jackie Gleason and Carol Channing, written by Doran William Cannon and released by Paramount Pictures on December 19, 1968...

      (1968), released by Paramount.
  • Harpo:
    • Too Many Kisses
      Too Many Kisses
      Too Many Kisses is a 1925 silent comedy directed by Paul Sloane and based on John Monk Saunders's story. "A Maker of Gestures." It is notable for being the earliest surviving film to feature Harpo Marx.-Plot:...

      (1925), released by Paramount
    • Stage Door Canteen
      Stage Door Canteen
      Stage Door Canteen is a musical film produced by Sol Lesser Productions and distributed by United Artists. It was directed by Frank Borzage and features many cameo appearances by celebrities, and the majority of the film is essentially a filmed concert although there is also a storyline to the...

      (1943), released by United Artists (cameo)
  • Chico:
    • Papa Romani (1950), television pilot
  • Zeppo:
    • A Kiss in the Dark (1925), released by Paramount (cameo)

Characters

Film Year Groucho Chico Harpo Zeppo
Humor Risk
Humor Risk
Humor Risk was the first Marx Brothers film. The short film was never released and is now considered a lost film. The print may have been accidentally thrown away when left in the screening box overnight...

1921 The Villain The Italian Watson, Detective The Love Interest
Too Many Kisses
Too Many Kisses
Too Many Kisses is a 1925 silent comedy directed by Paul Sloane and based on John Monk Saunders's story. "A Maker of Gestures." It is notable for being the earliest surviving film to feature Harpo Marx.-Plot:...

1925 The Village Peter Pan
Peter Pan
Peter Pan is a character created by Scottish novelist and playwright J. M. Barrie . A mischievous boy who can fly and magically refuses to grow up, Peter Pan spends his never-ending childhood adventuring on the small island of Neverland as the leader of his gang the Lost Boys, interacting with...

 
The Cocoanuts
The Cocoanuts
The Cocoanuts is the first feature-length Marx Brothers film, produced by Paramount Pictures. The musical comedy stars the four Marx Brothers, Oscar Shaw, Mary Eaton, and Margaret Dumont. Produced by Walter Wanger and the first sound movie to credit more than one director , and was adapted to the...

1929 Mr. Hammer Chico Harpo Jamison
Animal Crackers
Animal Crackers (film)
Animal Crackers is a 1930 American comedy film, in which mayhem and zaniness ensue when a valuable painting goes missing during a party in honor of famed African explorer Captain Spaulding. The film was both a critical and commercial success upon initial release, and remains one of the Marx...

1930 Captain Geoffrey T. Spaulding Signor Emmanuel Ravelli The Professor Horatio Jamison
The House That Shadows Built
The House That Shadows Built
The House That Shadows Built is a short feature film, roughly 55 minutes long, from Paramount Pictures, made to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the studio's founding in 1912...

1931 Caesar's Ghost Tomalio The Merchant of Weiners Sammy Brown
Monkey Business
Monkey Business (1931 film)
Monkey Business is a 1931 comedy film. It is the third of the Marx Brothers' released movies, and the first not to be an adaptation of one of their Broadway shows. The film stars the four brothers: Groucho Marx, Chico Marx, Harpo Marx, and Zeppo Marx, and screen comedienne Thelma Todd. It is...

1931 Groucho Chico Harpo Zeppo
Horse Feathers
Horse Feathers
Horse Feathers is a Marx Brothers film comedy. It stars the four Marx Brothers and Thelma Todd. It was written by Bert Kalmar, Harry Ruby, S. J. Perelman, and Will B. Johnstone. Kalmar and Ruby also wrote some of the original music for the film...

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
A Night at the Opera (film)
A Night at the Opera is a 1935 American comedy film starring Groucho Marx, Chico Marx and Harpo Marx, and featuring Kitty Carlisle, Allan Jones, Margaret Dumont, Sig Ruman, and Walter Woolf King. It was the first film the Marx Brothers made for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer after their departure from...

1935 Otis B. Driftwood Fiorello Tomasso
A Day at the Races
A Day at the Races (film)
Further reading* Elisabeth Buxbaum: Veronika, der Lenz ist da. Walter Jurmann – Ein Musiker zwischen den Welten und Zeiten. Mit einem Werkverzeichnis von Alexander Sieghardt. Edition Steinbauer, Wien 2006, ISBN 3-902494-18-2-External links:*...

1937 Dr. Hugo Z. Hackenbush* Tony Stuffy
Room Service
Room Service (1938 film)
Room Service is an RKO film comedy starring the Marx Brothers and based on the 1937 play of the same name by Allen Boretz and John Murray. It co-stars Lucille Ball, Ann Miller, Alexander Asro, and Frank Albertson.-Plot outline:...

1938 Gordon Miller Harry Binelli Faker Englund
At the Circus
At the Circus
At the Circus is a 1939 Marx Brothers comedy film released by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer in which they save a circus from bankruptcy...

1939 J. Cheever Loophole Antonio Pirelli Punchy
Go West 1940 S. Quentin Quale Joe Panello Rusty Panello
The Big Store
The Big Store
The Big Store is a Marx Brothers comedy film in which Groucho, Chico and Harpo work to save the Phelps Department Store, owned by Martha Phelps . Groucho plays her detective and bodyguard Wolf J...

1941 Wolf J. Flywheel Ravelli Wacky
A Night in Casablanca
A Night in Casablanca
A Night in Casablanca was the twelfth Marx Brothers movie, starring Groucho Marx, Chico Marx, and Harpo Marx. The picture was directed by Archie Mayo and written by Joseph Fields and Roland Kibbee, and is generally considered one of the better of the Marx Brothers' later films.-Plot:Set in...

1946 Ronald Kornblow Corbaccio Rusty
Love Happy
Love Happy
Love Happy was the 14th and last starring feature for the Marx Brothers. The film stars Harpo Marx, Chico Marx, and, in a smaller role than usual, Groucho Marx, plus Ilona Massey, Vera-Ellen, Paul Valentine, Marion Hutton, Raymond Burr, Bruce Gordon , and Eric Blore, with a walk-on by Marilyn Monroe...

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.)

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. 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.

Paramount films

In 1957, Paramount sold many of its pre-1950 sound features to EMKA, Ltd.
EMKA, Ltd.
EMKA, Ltd. is an in-name-only division of Universal Studios' television unit whose sole function is overseeing Paramount Pictures' pre-1950 sound feature film library. EMKA was formed by MCA in 1957 .In the aftermath of the landmark 1948 United States v. Paramount Pictures, Inc...

 - a subsidiary of the Music Corporation of America. After MCA merged with Universal Pictures
Universal Pictures
-1920:* White Youth* The Flaming Disc* Am I Dreaming?* The Dragon's Net* The Adorable Savage* Putting It Over* The Line Runners-1921:* The Fire Eater* A Battle of Wits* Dream Girl* The Millionaire...

 in 1962, the rights to these films went to Universal (now a part of NBC Universal
NBC Universal
NBCUniversal Media, LLC is a media and entertainment company engaged in the production and marketing of entertainment, news, and information products and services to a global customer base...

).

MGM films

MGM held on to their Marx Brothers films longer than Paramount did. In 1986, media mogul Ted Turner
Ted Turner
Robert Edward "Ted" Turner III is an American media mogul and philanthropist. As a businessman, he is known as founder of the cable news network CNN, the first dedicated 24-hour cable news channel. In addition, he founded WTBS, which pioneered the superstation concept in cable television...

 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
Turner Entertainment
Turner Entertainment Company, Inc. is an American media company founded by Ted Turner. Now owned by Time Warner, the company is largely responsible for overseeing its library for worldwide distribution Turner Entertainment Company, Inc. (commonly known as Turner Entertainment Co.) is an American...

. Today, Turner Entertainment is a subsidiary of Time Warner
Time Warner
Time Warner is one of the world's largest media companies, headquartered in the Time Warner Center in New York City. Formerly two separate companies, Warner Communications, Inc...

, with Warner Bros.
Warner Bros.
Warner Bros. Entertainment, Inc., also known as Warner Bros. Pictures or simply Warner Bros. , is an American producer of film and television entertainment.One of the major film studios, it is a subsidiary of Time Warner, with its headquarters in Burbank,...

 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. In 1955, RKO sold television rights to many of their films to C&C Television for most markets, and General Tire
General Tire
The General Tire and Rubber Company is an American manufacturer of tires for motor vehicles.General Tire was founded in 1915 in Akron, Ohio by William F. O'Neil. Products included the low-pressure "General Balloon Jumbo" and the "Dual 90" tire...

 for markets in which they owned TV stations. General's rights ended up being auctioned as successor RKO General
RKO General
RKO General was the main holding company through 1991 for the noncore businesses of the General Tire and Rubber Company and, after General Tire's reorganization in the 1980s, GenCorp. The business was based around the consolidation of its parent company's broadcasting interests, dating to 1943, and...

 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.

On the other hand, distribution rights in the rest of the world have been sold on a country-by-country basis. For example, PolyGram Filmed Entertainment
PolyGram Filmed Entertainment
PolyGram Filmed Entertainment was a film studio, founded in 1979 as a European competitor to Hollywood, but eventually sold and merged with Universal Pictures in 1999....

 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
Castle Hill Productions
Castle Hill Productions is an independent television and film distribution company handling classic and independent films whose library spans eight decades.-Background:...

 library.

Love Happy

This and many other UA films released before 1952 were sold to National Telefilm Associates
National Telefilm Associates
National Telefilm Associates was an independent distribution company that handled reissues of American film libraries, including much of Paramount Pictures' animated and short-subjects library.-History:...

 in 1955. In 1984, NTA changed its name to Republic Pictures
Republic Pictures
Republic Pictures was an independent film production-distribution corporation with studio facilities, operating from 1934 through 1959, and was best known for specializing in westerns, movie serials and B films emphasizing mystery and action....

, which itself became part of the Spelling Entertainment Group in the mid-1990s. Spelling was sold to Paramount's current parent Viacom
Viacom
Viacom Inc. , short for "Video & Audio Communications", is an American media conglomerate with interests primarily in, but not limited to, cinema and cable television...

 in 1999.

In the mid-1990s, Republic licensed US video rights to Artisan Entertainment
Artisan Entertainment
Artisan Entertainment Inc. was a privately held independent American movie studio until it was purchased by a Canadian studio, Lionsgate, in 2003. At the time of its acquisition, Artisan had a library of thousands of films developed through acquisition, original production, and production and...

. Artisan was sold to Lions Gate Entertainment
Lions Gate Entertainment
Lions Gate Entertainment Corporation is a North American entertainment company. The company was formed in Vancouver, British Columbia in 1997, and is headquartered in Santa Monica, California...

 in 2003. Then, in 2006, US video rights to certain Republic properties - including Love Happy - reverted to Paramount, which also owns video rights in Region 4 and in France.

Television distribution is now in the hands of Trifecta Entertainment & Media
Trifecta Entertainment & Media
Trifecta Entertainment & Media is an American entertainment company founded in 2006. The company's founders previously held jobs as executives at MGM Television. Trifecta is primarily a distribution company and also handles advertising sales in exchange for syndication deals with local television...

, having inherited the rights from NTA, Republic, Worldvision Enterprises, Paramount Domestic Television
Paramount Domestic Television
Paramount Domestic Television was the television distribution arm of American television production company Paramount Television, once the TV arm of Paramount Pictures...

, CBS Paramount Domestic Television
CBS Paramount Domestic Television
CBS Paramount Domestic Television was an American television distribution company/production that was formed on January 17, 2006 and owned by CBS Corporation...

, and CBS Television Distribution
CBS Television Distribution
CBS Television Distribution is a global television distribution company, formed from the merger of CBS Corporation's two domestic television distribution arms CBS Paramount Domestic Television and King World Productions, including its home entertainment arm CBS Home Entertainment...

. Video rights in much of the world are also divided by country, with Universal owning the UK video rights.

Awards and honors

The Marx Brothers were collectively named #20 on AFI's
American Film Institute
The American Film Institute is an independent non-profit organization created by the National Endowment for the Arts, which was established in 1967 when President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the National Foundation on the Arts and the Humanities Act...

 list of the Top 25 American male screen legends
AFI's 100 Years... 100 Stars
Part of the AFI 100 Years... series, AFI's 100 Years...100 Stars is a list of the top 50 greatest screen legends of American cinema, 25 male and 25 female...

. They are the only group to be so honored.

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 0-87910-036-2
  • 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. 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 0-14-005222-4
  • 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.), 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 0-7134-7838-1)
  • Stoliar, Steve, Raised Eyebrows: My Years Inside Groucho's House (1996) General Publishing Group ISBN 1-881649-73-3
  • 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.), Marx Bros. (2007) Movie Icons series, Taschen
  • Marx, Bill, Son of Harpo Speaks! (2007) BearManor Media ISBN 1-59393-062-3

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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