Marx brothers

Article

November 27, 2021

The Marx Brothers are a family of Jewish-American actors from New York City who first succeeded in farce, singer-music-dance comedies (so-called “vaudeville”), and then, after Broadway’s prestigious theaters in the world of film, From the early 1900s to the 1950s. Five of the Marx brothers ’thirteen feature films have been selected by the American Film Institute as one of the top 100 comedies, and two of the five are included in the top twelve. (The Duck Soup - "Duck Soup" and Scandal in the Opera - "A Night at the Opera.") The core of the family were the three older brothers: Chico, Harpo, and Groucho, who each formed a well-distinguished figure. The two younger brothers, Gummo and Zeppo, did not develop characters to such an extent and eventually left the acting career to look for another occupation. Gummo did not appear in any of the films, and Zeppo only appeared in the top five.

Background

The Marx brothers were born in New York City as children of Jewish immigrants from Germany and France. Their mother, Minnie Schönberg, was from Dornum (East Friesland), and their father, Simon Marrix - later named Sam Marx (nicknamed “Frenchy”) - was Alsatian and worked as a tailor. The family lived in the then poor district of New York, Yorkville (Upper East Side) in New York, between the Irish, German and Italian neighborhoods.

The brothers

There was even a sixth brother, Manfred, who was actually the first child; He was born in 1886, but died as a child before the others were born.

The Stage Beginnings

The brothers came from a family of artists, and their musical talent soon manifested itself, which parents encouraged from an early age. Harpo was hopelessly un talented with the guitar and piano (in his autobiography he admits that he could only play two songs on the piano, even with one finger), but he also played the harp artistically, hence his nickname (“harp” harp). Chico was an excellent pianist, Groucho played and sang guitar, Zeppo vocalized in the background. They started in the genre of merry operetta, in which their uncle Albert Schönberg was already known as “Al Shean of Gallagher” and “Shean”. Groucho’s debut was in 1905, mainly as a singer. In 1907, he and Gummo sang with Mabel O’Donnell as “The Three Ears”. The following year, Harpo became the fourth ear, and by 1910, the group had expanded to include their mother, Minnie, and Aunt Hannah. The company was renamed “The Six Mascots”. The cousin of the Marx brothers was Mary Livingstone (born Sadye Marks, 1905–1983), the comedian wife of Jack Benny.

Comedy

On one of their tours, a 1912 performance that was in Texas and the audience arrived on horseback (Pantages Theater, Nacogdoches, Texas) was disturbed by a shout from outside (one of the mules went wild) and the audience rushed to catch the escaped animal. Upon their return, Groucho, angry at the interruption of the performance, made ambiguous remarks to the audience, such as “Nacogdoches is full of roaches” and “The jackass is the flower of Tex-ass” The Don-Ass Flower of the Donkey "(ass: English: ass), (both untranslatable, rough puns.) The audience laughed instead of being outraged. from “singing and joking” to “comedy with music.” In one of their first scenes, “Fun in Hi Skule” (a pun with the pronunciation of “high school”)

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