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"I know what you are thinking, but I don't look anything like him."

- W.J. Flywheel, Webporium Curator

In 1971, the Mariner 9 spacecraft arrived in orbit around Mars - to find it entirely engulfed in a planet-wide dust storm. The only features clearly visible were four dark spots. Carl Sagan was so fascinated by these that his colleagues at Cornell University jokingly called them "Carl's Marks"; Sagan nicknamed the four spots Harpo, Groucho, Chico, and Zeppo.

The Marx Brothers were an American family comedy act that was successful in vaudeville, on Broadway, and in motion pictures from 1905 to 1949. Five of the Marx Brothers' thirteen feature films were selected by the American Film Institute (AFI) as among the top 100 comedy films, with two of them (Duck Soup and A Night at the Opera) in the top twelve. They are widely considered by critics, scholars, and fans to be among the greatest and most influential comedians of the 20th century. The brothers were included in AFI's 100 Years...100 Stars list of the 25 greatest male stars of Classic Hollywood cinema, the only performers to be inducted collectively.

The group is almost universally known today by their stage names: Chico (real name Leonard), Harpo (Adolph but later changed to Arthur), Groucho (Julius Henry), Gummo (Milton), and Zeppo (Herbert Manfred). The core of the act was the three elder brothers: Chico, Harpo, and Groucho, each of whom developed a highly distinctive stage persona.

After the group essentially disbanded in 1950, Groucho went on to begin a successful second career in television, while Harpo and Chico appeared less prominently. The two younger brothers, Gummo and Zeppo, never developed their stage characters to the same extent as the elder three. They each left the act to pursue business careers at which they were successful, and for a time ran a large theatrical agency through which they represented their brothers and others. Gummo was not in any of the movies; Zeppo appeared in the first five films in relatively straight (non-comedic) roles. The performing lives of the brothers owed much to their mother Minnie Marx, who acted as their manager until her death in 1929.

The five Marx Brothers were born in New York City, the sons of Jewish immigrants from Germany and France.

Their mother Miene "Minnie" Schoenberg (professionally known as Minnie Palmer) was from Dornum in East Frisia, and their father Samuel ("Sam"; born Simon) Marx was a native of Alsace and worked as a tailor. (His name was changed to Samuel Marx, and he was nicknamed "Frenchy".) The family lived in the poor Yorkville section of New York City's Upper East Side, centered in the Irish, German and Italian quarters. A sixth brother, Manfred ("Mannie"), was the first-born son of Sam and Minnie (1886) but died in infancy, surviving for only three months, and carried off by tuberculosis. The Brothers also had an older sister, actually a cousin, born in January 1885 who had been adopted by Minnie and Frenchie. Her name was Pauline, or "Polly".

Minnie Marx came from a family of performers. Her mother was a yodeling harpist and her father a ventriloquist; both were funfair entertainers. Around 1880, the family emigrated to New York City, where Minnie married Sam in 1884. During the early 20th century, Minnie helped her younger brother Abraham Elieser Adolf Schönberg (stage name Al Shean) to enter show business; he became highly successful on vaudeville and Broadway as half of the musical comedy double act Gallagher and Shean, and this gave the brothers an entree to musical comedy, vaudeville and Broadway at Minnie's instigation, who also acted as the brothers' manager, using the name Minnie Palmer so that agents did not realize that she was also their mother. All the brothers confirmed that Minnie Marx (below left) had been the head of the family and the driving force in getting the troupe launched, the only person who could keep them in order; she was said to be a hard bargainer with theatre management. The brothers musical talent was encouraged from an early age. Harpo was particularly 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.

Those early days of the Marx Brothers and their relationship with their mother Minnie Marx, would be showcased years later in the musical Minnie's Boys, with a book by Groucho Marx's son Arthur Marx and Robert Fisher, music by Larry Grossman, and lyrics by Hal Hackady. After an unusually long preview period lasting for sixty-four performances, during which the creators constantly tinkered with the troubled show, the Broadway production, directed by Stanley Prager and choreographed by Marc Breaux, opened on March 26th, 1970 at the Imperial Theatre, where it ran for eighty performances. The opening night cast included Shelley Winters as Minnie Marx, Lewis J. Stadlen as Julius "Groucho" Marx (a portrayal that won him both the Theatre World Award and Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Performance in a Musical), Daniel Fortus as Adolph "Harpo" Marx, Irwin Pearl as Leonard "Chico" Marx, Alvin Kupperman as Herbert "Zeppo" Marx, and Gary Raucher as Milton "Gummo" Marx. The score's one standout tune was "Mama, a Rainbow", which was recorded by Steve Lawrence and Jim Nabors soon after the show opened. In the show the song is performed by Harpo, whose screen and stage persona was always silent. Groucho Marx received a playbill credit as the show's advisor (though he had made no actual contributions to the show) and helped promote the musical by appearing on the Dick Cavett Show with the five young actors who portrayed the young Marx Brothers in the show.

The boys got their start in vaudeville, where their uncle Albert Schönberg was performing as Al Shean of Gallagher and Shean. Groucho's debut was in 1905, predominately as a singer. By 1907 he and Gummo were singing together as two-thirds of The Three Nightingales with Mabel O'Donnell. The next year, Harpo became the fourth Nightingale. By 1910, the group was expanded to include their mother and their Aunt Hannah, and the troupe was renamed The Six Mascots.

One evening, 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, and when they returned, Groucho, infuriated by the interruption, announced "Nacogdoches is full of roaches," and "The jackass is the flower of Tex-ass." Instead of becoming angry in return, the audience laughed, and afterward the family began to consider the possibility that they had potential as a comic troupe.

Slowly, the act evolved from singing with some incidental comedy to a comedy with some music, like their sketch set in a schoolroom ("Fun in Hi Skule"), featuring Groucho as a German-accented teacher presiding over a classroom which included students Harpo, Gummo and, by 1912, Chico. The last version of the school act, entitled Home Again, was written by Al Shean. Around this time, Gummo left the group to fight in World War I ("Anything is better than being an actor!"); Zeppo would replace him for their final vaudeville years, through their leap to Broadway, and the subsequent Paramount pictures.

During World War I, anti-German sentiments grew, and the family tried to hide their German origin. Harpo changed his real first name from Adolph to Arthur, and Groucho discontinued his "German" stage personality.

By this time the brothers, now "The Four Marx Brothers", had begun to incorporate their unique brand of comedy into their act and to develop their characters. It has been noted in a few of both Groucho and Harpo's memoirs that their now famous on-stage personas were originally created by Al Shean. Groucho began to wear his trademark greasepaint moustache and to use a stooped walk, Harpo began to wear a red fright wig, carried a taxi-cab horn and never spoke, Chico started to talk in a fake Italian accent, developed off-stage to deal with neighbourhood toughs, and Zeppo adopted the schleppy, juvenile role of the straight man. The on-stage personalities of Groucho, Chico, and Harpo were said to have been based on their actual traits (although, in real life, Harpo could talk). Zeppo, on the other hand, was considered the funniest offstage brother, despite his limited, straight stage roles. Being the youngest and having grown up watching his brothers, he was also the one who could fill in for, and nearly perfectly imitate, the others when illness kept them from a performance. "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.

Originally, Zeppo was considered too young to perform with his brothers, and it was not until Gummo joined the Army in 1918 that Zeppo was asked to join the act as a last-minute stand-in at a show in Texas. Zeppo was supposed to go out that night with a Jewish friend of his on a date with two Irish girls. Zeppo had to cancel to board the train to Texas. His friend went ahead and went on the date, and was shot a few hours later when he was attacked by an Irish gang that disapproved of a Jew dating an Irish girl.

In the 1920s the Marx Brothers became one of America's favourite theatrical acts. With their sharp and bizarre sense of humour, they satirized institutions like high society, and human hypocrisy. In addition, they became famous for their improvisational comedy in their free form scenarios. A famous early example was when Harpo instructed a chorus girl to run across the stage in front of Groucho during his act with him chasing to see if Groucho would be thrown off. However to the audience's delight, Groucho merely reacted with an improvised joke of calmly checking his watch and commenting: "First time I ever saw a taxi hail a passenger", and, when Harpo chased the girl back the other direction, "You can always set your watch by the 9:20".

The brothers' vaudeville act had become successful enough to make them stars on Broadway, first with a musical revue, I'll Say She Is (below, 1924–1925), followed by two musical comedies, The Cocoanuts (1925–1926) and Animal Crackers (1928–1929). Playwright George S. Kaufman worked on the latter two shows and helped to sharpen the Brothers' characterizations.

Riding high on their vaudeville success the Marx Brothers accepted a booking in England, without the approval of the Keith-Orpheum office and vaudeville impresario E.F. Albee who blacklisted the Brothers upon their return to the United States.

Broke, and on the brink of oblivion the Marx Brothers met another brother team, Tom and Will B. Johnstone in March of 1923. The Johnstone brothers had written a series of revues for producer Joseph M. Gaites. Love For Sale (1919), starring Kitty Gordon as a bored heiress looking for thrills was later reworked as Gimme a Thrill in 1922. Both flopped. Meting the Marx Brothers led to a new iteration of "the thrill show," incorporating some of the boys' vaudeville material, and culminating in an extended sketch about Napoleon.

I'll Say She Is was a smash at the Walnut Street Theatre in Philadelphia in the summer of 1923 and opened at the Casino Theatre, Broadway and 39th Street, on May 19th, 1924. It was a roaring success, and it catapulted the Marx Brothers to superstardom, accepted by the New York smart set of the Algonquin Round Table. Alexander Woollcott and Robert Benchley were among the theatre critics who made I'll Say She Is a smash, and George S. Kaufman would co-write their next two Broadway musicals, The Cocoanuts (1925) and Animal Crackers (1928). Unlike those shows, however, I'll Say She Is was never made into a film. A version of its opening scene, however, was made into a short for Paramount Pictures as part of a feature called The House That Shadows Built (1931), made to celebrate Paramount's 20th anniversary of their founding in 1912, and as a promotion for the then-upcoming Marx film Monkey Business. An animated version of the Napoleon scene (with Groucho voicing himself) was incorporated into an ABC-TV special called The Mad, Mad, Mad Comedians (1970). I'll Say She Is was also the last production by The Marx Brothers in which they were billed under their given names. Harpo was billed as Adolph Arthur, Zeppo as Herbert, Groucho as Julius Henry, and Chico as Leonard.

I'll Say She Is had a wildly successful run of 313 performances at the Casino and closed on February 7th, 1925. It spent a few more months on the road, and was not seen for the next ninety years.

In 2009, writer and performer Noah Diamond began to research and restore I'll Say She Is, begining with Johnstone's 32 page rehearsal typescript featuring rough dialogue, with song titles and cues. Numerous other sources were employied to reconstruct the show including firsthand recollections of the show, hundreds of newspaper clippings related to the original production (some of which described scenes and quoted dialogue and ad-libs recorded by Broadway columnists). Sheet music or recordings for about half the songs from the original production aquired but that still left a handful of missing numbers, for which Diamond had only the titles, narrative context, and, in some cases, descriptions. He recreated these songs by writing new lyrics to music from other Johnstone shows of the period, using phrases and ideas from the typescript whenever possible.

In May 2014, coinciding with the ninetieth anniversary of the show's Broadway opening, the Lost Marx Brother's musical I'll Say She Is (above bottom) received two staged readings, in a new "reconstruction" and adaptation by Diamond, who had by then spent five years researching and expanding the work. A fuller staging was seen in August 2014 at the New York International Fringe Festival. A full Off Broadway production opened at the Connelly Theater in June 2016, running for 3 previews and 23 performances. Directed by Amanda Sisk, it was well received by the New York press, receiving critic's pick from The New York Times and lauded by Adam Gopnik in The New Yorker.

Having observed a rehearsal session of the famed 'Napoleon' sketch at New York's Pearl Studios, Gopnik wrote in the New Yorker:

"One sees at once why the Napoleon scene became legendary overnight - apart from still being extremely funny, it has the edge of randomness, the pure absurdity, that made the Marx Brothers seem, on that opening night as ever after, so modern. Of the great movie comedians, Chaplin is rooted in Dickens and the nineteenth-century stage; Keaton, more cinematic, in a kind of melancholic Civil War stoicism. Only the Marxes seem contemporary with Dada. There is no logic or pathos or point or even much structure to it - the fourth wall is broken, then restored, and then broken again. Napoleon’s appearances and reappearances from the Russian front are as arbitrary as a Magritte drawing - and the scene’s moral, to the degree that it has one, is the nihilistic one that runs true in comedy from Aristophanes to Sid Caesar: all authority is always ridiculous, and man (and woman) runs by appetite alone. All of Monty Python’s non sequiturs and sudden stoppages - "the sketch is now over" - begin here, as does most of the pure burlesque aggression of a Mel Brooks, whose historical kidding, as in the "2000 Year Old Man" skits, starts here, too."


The stage names of the brothers (except Zeppo) were coined by monologist Art Fisher 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 that included a supporting character named "Groucho". As Fisher dealt each brother a card, he addressed him, for the very first time, by the names they kept for the rest of their lives.

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, and Leonard became Chico (pronounced "Chick-o") because he was, in the slang of the period, a "chicken chaser". ("Chickens" - later "chicks" - was period slang for women.

In his 1961 autobiography, Harpo Speaks!, Harpo explained that Milton became Gummo (right) because he crept about the theater like a gumshoe detective. Other sources reported that Gummo was the family's hypochondriac, having been the sickliest of the brothers in childhood, and therefore wore rubber overshoes, called gumshoes, in all kinds of weather. Still others reported that Milton was the troupe's best dancer, and dance shoes tended to have rubber soles. Groucho stated that the source of the name was Gummo wearing galoshes. Whatever the details, the name relates to rubber-soled shoes.

There are different theories as to where Zeppo got his stage name: Groucho said in his Carnegie Hall concert in 1972 that the name was derived from the Zeppelin airship. Zeppo's ex-wife Barbara Sinatra repeated this in her 2011 book, Lady Blue Eyes: My Life with Frank. His brother Harpo offered a different account claiming that there was a popular trained chimpanzee named Mr. Zippo, and that "Herbie" was tagged with the name "Zippo" because he liked to do chinups and acrobatics, as the chimp did in its act. The youngest brother objected to this nickname, and it was altered to "Zeppo".

The reason that Julius was named Groucho is perhaps the most disputed. One explanation is the grouch bag. 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, so naming him for the grouch bag may have been a comment on this trait.

Groucho (pictured left without the famous mustache) insisted that this was not the case in chapter six of his first autobiography. 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". 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; he was discussing the Brothers' names during his Carnegie Hall concert, and he said of his own, "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 that he was a rich uncle hiding a fortune, and Groucho claimed that he may have been named after him 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."

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, 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 to be the most believable. At the very end of his life, Groucho finally admitted that Fisher had named him Groucho because he was the "moody one".

The Marx Brothers' stage shows became popular just as motion pictures were evolving to "talkies". They signed a contract with Paramount Pictures and embarked on their film career at Paramount's studios in New York City's Astoria section. Their first two released films (after an unreleased short silent film titled Humor Risk) were adaptations of the Broadway shows The Cocoanuts (1929) and Animal Crackers (1930). Both were written by George S. Kaufman and Morrie Ryskind. Production then shifted to Hollywood, beginning with 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. Their third feature-length film, Monkey Business (1931), was their first movie not based on a stage production.

Horse Feathers (1932 above), in which the brothers satirized the American college system and Prohibition, was their most popular film yet, and won them the cover of Time magazine. It included a running gag from their stage work, in which Harpo produces a ludicrous array of props from inside his coat, including 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.

During this period Chico and Groucho starred in a radio comedy series, Flywheel, Shyster and Flywheel. Though the series was short lived, much of the material developed for it was used in subsequent films. The show's scripts and recordings were believed lost until copies of the scripts were found in the Library of Congress in the 1980s. After publication in a book they were performed with Marx Brothers impersonators for BBC Radio.

Their last Paramount film, Duck Soup (1933), directed by the highly regarded Leo McCarey, is the highest rated of the five Marx Brothers films on the American Film Institute's "100 years ... 100 Movies" list. It did not do as well financially as Horse Feathers, but was the sixth-highest grosser of 1933. The film sparked a dispute between the Marxes and the village of Fredonia, New York. "Freedonia" was the name of a fictional country in the script, and the city fathers wrote to Paramount and asked the studio to remove all references to Freedonia because "it is hurting our town's image". Groucho fired back a sarcastic retort asking them to change the name of their town, because "it's hurting our picture." The Brothers would leave Paramount mostly due to disagreements over creative decisions and financial issues.

After expiration of the Paramount contract Zeppo left the act to become an agent, and remained his brothers' agent for the remainder of their career as the Marx Bros. Zeppo and brother Gummo went on to build 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 (below) began discussing the possibility of the Marxes joining Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. They signed, now billed as "Groucho, Chico, Harpo, Marx Bros."

Unlike the free-for-all scripts at Paramount, Thalberg insisted on a strong story structure that made the brothers more sympathetic characters, interweaving their comedy with romantic plots and non-comic musical numbers, and targeting their mischief-making at obvious villains. Thalberg was adamant that scripts include a "low point", where all seems lost for both the Marxes and the romantic leads. He instituted the innovation of testing the film's script before live audiences before filming began, to perfect the comic timing, and to retain jokes that earned laughs and replace those that did not. Thalberg restored Harpo's harp solos and Chico's piano solos, which had been omitted from Duck Soup.

The first Marx Brothers/Thalberg film 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. The film, including its famous scene where an absurd number of people crowd into a tiny stateroom on a ship, was a great success, and was followed two years later by an even bigger hit, A Day at the Races (1937), in which the brothers cause mayhem in a sanitarium and at a horse race. The film features Groucho and Chico's famous "Tootsie Frootsie Ice Cream" sketch. In a 1969 interview with Dick Cavett, Groucho said that the two movies made with Thalberg were the best that they ever produced. Despite the Thalberg films' success, the brothers left MGM in 1937; Thalberg had died suddenly on September 14th, 1936, two weeks after filming began on A Day at the Races, leaving the Marxes without an advocate at the studio.

After a short experience at RKO (Room Service, 1938), the Marx Brothers returned to MGM and made three more films: At the Circus (1939), Go West (1940) and The Big Store (1941). Prior to the release of The Big Store the team announced they were retiring from the screen. Four years later, however, Chico persuaded his brothers to make two additional films, A Night in Casablanca (1946) and Love Happy (1949), to alleviate his severe gambling debts. Both pictures were released by United Artists.

Love Happy was initially planned as a solo vehicle for Harpo, then as a two-hander with Chico. The financiers weren't persuaded about the film until Groucho agreed to appear. Groucho's role was little more than an extended cameo, but it gave him the chance to don deerstalker and magnifying glass as a private eye, and also to share a short scene with film newcomer, Marilyn Monroe. It wasn't actually her first film, but when it was re-released, her image appeared on the poster, above the line, "The Picture That Discovered Marilyn Monroe".

From the 1940s onward Chico and Harpo appeared separately and together in nightclubs and casinos. Chico fronted a big band, the Chico Marx Orchestra (with 17-year-old Mel Tormé as a vocalist). Groucho made several radio appearances during the 1940s and starred in You Bet Your Life, which ran from 1947 to 1961 on NBC radio and television. He 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, Chico's son-in-law. Groucho, Chico, and Harpo worked together (in separate scenes) in The Story of Mankind and Groucho had a cameo in Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? both realesed in 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." The project was abandoned when Chico was found to be uninsurable (and incapable of memorizing his lines) due to severe arteriosclerosis. On March 8th of that year, Chico and Harpo starred as bumbling thieves in The Incredible Jewel Robbery, a half-hour pantomimed episode of the General Electric Theater 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 dialogue, "We won't talk until we see our lawyer!".

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. In addition to being a non-fiction biography of the Marxes, the film would have 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 called Tonight! America After Dark, hosted by Jack Lescoulie. Five years later (October 1st, 1962) after Jack Paar's tenure, Groucho made a guest appearance to introduce the Tonight Show's new host, Johnny Carson.

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. He was 74. Three years later, on September 28th, 1964, Harpo died at the age of 75 of a heart attack one day after heart surgery.

In 1966 Filmation produced a pilot for a Marx Brothers cartoon. Groucho's voice was supplied by Pat Harrington Jr. and other voices were done by Ted Knight and Joe Besser.

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 had left show business in 1933). Voice actor Paul Frees (the voice of Boris Badenov in The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show) filled in for all three (no voice was needed for Harpo). The Marx Brothers' segment was a reworking of a scene from their Broadway play I'll Say She Is, a parody of Napoleon that 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 16th, 1977, the Marx Brothers were inducted into the Motion Picture Hall of Fame and their impact on the entertainment community continues well into the 21st century.

Many television shows and movies have used Marx Brothers references. Animaniacs and Tiny Toons, for example, have featured Marx Brothers jokes and skits. In the Animaniacs the zany antics of Yakko, Wakko and Dot are partially based on the madcap pace of the Marx Brothers.

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. Early episodes also featured a singing and off-scene character named Captain Spaulding as a tribute.

Bugs Bunny impersonated Groucho Marx in the 1947 cartoon Slick Hare (with Elmer Fudd dressing up as Harpo and chasing him with a cleaver) and in a later cartoon he again impersonated Groucho hosting a TV show called "You Beat Your Wife," asking Elmer Fudd if he had stopped beating his wife. Tex Avery's cartoon Hollywood Steps Out (1941) featured appearances by Harpo and Groucho. They appeared, sometimes with Chico and Zeppo caricatured, in cartoons starring Mickey Mouse, Flip the Frog and others. In the Airwolf episode 'Condemned', four anti-virus formulae for a deadly plague were named after the four Marx Brothers.

In All in the Family, Rob Reiner often did imitations of Groucho, and Sally Struthers dressed as Harpo in one episode in which she (as Gloria Stivic) and Rob (as Mike Stivic) were going to a Marx Brothers film festival, with Reiner dressing as Groucho. Gabe Kaplan did many Groucho imitations on his sit-com Welcome Back, Kotter and the "Sweathogs" (John Travolta, Robert Hegyes, Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs, and Ron Palillo) patterned much of their on-camera banter in that series after the Marx Brothers with Hegyes sometimes imitated both Chico and Harpo on the show. In Woody Allen's film Hannah and Her Sisters (1986), Woody's character, after an unsuccessful suicide attempt, is inspired to go on living after seeing a revival showing of Duck Soup. In Manhattan (1979), he names the Marx Brothers as something that makes life worth living. In an episode of The Mary Tyler Moore Show Murray calls the new station owner at home late at night to complain when the song "Hooray for Captain Spaulding" is cut from a showing of Animal Crackers because of the new owners' policy to cut more and more from shows to sell more ad time, putting his job on the line.

In Everyone Says I Love You (1996), Woody Allen and Goldie Hawn dress as Groucho for a Marx Brothers celebration in France, and the song "Hooray for Captain Spaulding", from Animal Crackers, is performed, with various actors dressed as the brothers, striking poses famous to Marx fans. (The film itself is named after a song from Horse Feathers, a version of which plays over the opening credits.)

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 (a colorized version of the scene is pictured above). Lucy had worked with the Marxes when she appeared in a supporting role in an earlier Marx Brothers film, Room Service. Chico once appeared on I've Got a Secret dressed up as Harpo; his secret was shown in a caption reading, "I'm pretending to be Harpo Marx (I'm Chico)". The Marx Brothers were spoofed in the second act of the Broadway Review A Day in Hollywood/A Night in the Ukraine.

In the 1989 film Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Sean Connery tells Harrison Ford he should have sent his diary "to the Marx Brothers" rather than entrusting it to Harrison's Indiana Jones character.

In the 1996 musical, By Jeeves, based on the Jeeves stories by P.G. Wodehouse, during The Hallo Song, Gussie Fink-Nottle suggests "You're either Pablo Picasso", to which Cyrus Budge III replies "or maybe Harpo Marx!"

In Rob Zombie's film House of 1000 Corpses, the clown Captain Spaulding is named after the Marx brothers character, and this is mentioned in the movie.

In the 1974 Academy Awards telecast, Jack Lemmon presented Groucho with an honorary Academy Award to a standing ovation. The award was also on behalf of Harpo, Chico, and Zeppo, whom Lemmon mentioned by name. It was one of Groucho's final major public appearances. "I wish that Harpo and Chico could be here to share with me this great honor," he said, naming the two deceased brothers (Zeppo was still alive at the time). Groucho also praised the late Margaret Dumont as a great straight woman who never understood any of his jokes.


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