Almanac: The Marx Brothers

Almanac: The Marx Brothers
Almanac: The Marx Brothers 02:45

On March 8, 1959, the three best-known members of the Marx Brothers comedy troupe appeared together on television for the last time.

There were actually five Marx Brothers in all, born in New York City between 1887 and 1901. They were boyhood vaudevillians, with the stage names Chico, Harpo, Groucho, Gummo and Zeppo.

In film after film, the Marx Brothers specialized in slapstick, as well as in wisecracking wordplay:

Groucho Marx and Margaret Dumont in "Duck Soup":

Duck Soup (1/10) Movie CLIP - Working His Magic (1933) HD by Movieclips on YouTube

From Groucho on his own in "Horsefeathers" ("One morning I shot in elephant in my pajamas. How he got in my pajamas I'll never know"), to his rigorous discussion of the law of contracts with Chico in "A Night at the Opera":

The Sanity Clause - A Night at the Opera by WarnerJordanEducation on YouTube

Along with the banter, Chico flaunted his skill at the piano:

a night at the opera (1935) - Chico Marx at the piano by citizen907 on YouTube

While the ever-silent Harpo showed off his gift for pantomime (and his gift for playing his namesake harp):

The Mirror Scene - Duck Soup (7/10) Movie CLIP (1933) HD by Movieclips on YouTube

After their last major film in 1949, "Love Happy," the brothers mostly pursued their own careers – Groucho as the host of the TV game show "You Bet Your Life."

Which brings us back to this very date in 1959 when, in a comic crime caper episode of "General Electric Theater" on CBS, the three were reunited in a brief police lineup scene:

Marx Bros. THE INCREDIBLE JEWEL ROBBERY by Bela Chaney on YouTube

Although all the Marx Brothers are long gone, the laughs will continue.  On that you can truly bet your life.

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Story produced by Robert Marston. Editor: David Small.