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The Marx Brothers

Who was the fourth Marx Brother?
Groucho...................No. “I shot an elephant in my pajamas. What he was doing in my pajamas, I don’t know.”
Chico........................Sorry, try again. “Why a duck?”
Harpo........................Sorry, try again. “What are you doing, holding up the wall?”
Gummo......................Sorry, try again. Gummo was actually the fifth Marx Brother.
Karl.............................Try again, comrade.
Larry, Moe & Curly.......Oh, a wise guy!
Margaret Dumont.........See below
A fifth Marx brother, Gummo Marx, was part of the act when they were a musical act on stage, but left and was replaced by Zeppo when they switched to comedy for a Broadway play in 1924. He was the only Marx brother to be drafted and fight in WWI, in the U.S. Army, and never returned to show biz. A year later, Harpo had a small part in a movie. Groucho played an unnamed villain in “Humor Risk” (1921). While doing a Broadway version of “Animal Crackers” in 1929, the four Marx Brothers made the movie “The Cocoanuts” (set in Florida but actually filmed in rural Long Island, NY). They made the movie version of “Animal Crackers” in 1930. Zeppo appeared in the first five Marx Brothers movies, but never created a wacky character of his own, and left the act when they moved from Paramount to MGM. Margaret Dumont appeared in several of the films, usually as the flustered society lady targeted by Groucho’s attention. A family friend gave the brothers their nicknames based on a popular comic strip of the time with names ending with o:
Chico (real name Leonard) because he played a brash Italian immigrant
Harpo (real name Adolph, changed to Arthur by WW2) because he taught himself to play the harp
Gummo (real name Milton) because he always wore rubber gum-sole shoes
Zeppo (real name Herbert) because zeppelins were in vogue at the time
Groucho (real name Julius) because he sternly kept the others in line, making sure they got to work on time, and managed the income/expenses. As for that other guy, Groucho said that when Communism ended in Russia, he would dance on the grave of Karl Marx (no relation). Unfortunately, Groucho died in 1977, twelve years before the Berlin Wall fell.

Marx Brothers movies

The Cocoanuts (1929)
Animal Crackers (1930)
Monkey Business (1931, no relation to 1952 Cary Grant comedy)
Horse Feathers (1932)
Duck Soup (1933)
A Night At The Opera (1935)
A Day At The Races (1937)
Room Service (1938)
At The Circus (1939, originally released as The Marx Brothers at the Circus)
Go West (1940, released in United Kingdom as Marx Brothers Go West)
The Big Store (1941)
Stage Door Canteen (1943, Harpo cameo only)
A Night In Casablanca (1946)
The Story Of Mankind (1957, in separate scenes. Non-comedy produced/directed by Irwin Allen of Lost In Space fame, later spoofed by Mel Brooks as History Of The World Part 1)
The Incredible Jewel Robbery (TV-movie)

Tell them Groucho sent you On his own, Groucho hosted the comedy quiz-show “You Bet Your Life” 1950-61, wrote three hilarious biographical books, and did some more films solo:
Copacabana (1947)
Love Happy (1950, Groucho narrates as detective Sam Grunion, Harpo & Chico appear in separate scenes)
Mr. Music (1950)
Double Dynamite (1951, aka It’s Only Money)
A Girl In Every Port (1952)
Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? (cameo only, as George Schmidlap)
Skidoo (1968, as God)
In 1972, Groucho returned to New York for a one-man show based on his life and career, at Carnegie Hall. His son Arthur has written two books: “Life With Groucho” and “Son Of Groucho.” The Marx Brothers also made occasional appearances on TV, such as when Harpo played himself on “I Love Lucy” (with Lucy made up as Harpo checking herself in a mirror), and the “Burns & Allen Show.” In General Electric Theater, Groucho appeared as John Graham (The Hold-Out, 1962) and look fast for him in “The Incredible Jewel Robbery” episode (1959) as one of the suspects in a police lineup! Groucho also had a cameo at the end of an I Dream Of Jeannie episode (1967) when Jeannie agrees to grant Roger a wish and he wishes he was the funniest man in the world. In 1955, Groucho appeared on “This Is Your Life” honoring silent film star Harold Lloyd, and a “Screen Snapshots” profile of Al Jolson the same year.

By the way, in a comparison of Marx and Lennon, I would have to say that Lennon was quite talented but none of John’s songs was as funny as Groucho singing “Lydia the Tattooed Lady.” In the irony department: the Marx Brothers first movie was The Cocoanuts, in which Groucho played a huckster selling worthless swampland in Florida to gullible investors. He even had the line that you can have any house you want built on it: wood, brick or stucco, “Boy can you get stucco.” But when the stock market crashed in 1929 taking the economy with it, the Marx Brothers lost all their money because Groucho had invested it in Florida land and stocks.

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