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":
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":
Along with the banter, Chico flaunted his skill at the piano:
While the ever-silent Harpo showed off his gift for pantomime (and his gift for playing his namesake harp):
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:
Although all the Marx Brothers are long gone, the laughs will continue. On that you can truly bet your life.
- ("Sunday Morning," 10/20/19)
- Remembering Groucho Marx ("Sunday Morning," 8/16/07)
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Story produced by Robert Marston. Editor: David Small.