Manfred, born in 1885 and died in infancy
- Leonard Marx, 1887-1961
- Adolph (later Arthur) (later Arthur), 1888-1964
- Julius Henry, 1890-1977
- Milton, 1892-1977
- Herbert, 1901-1979
Marx Brothers were a popular team of sibling comedians who appeared
in vaudeville, stage plays, film, and television.
in New York City, the Marx Brothers were the sons of Jewish immigrants
from Germany. Their mother, Minnie Schönberg, was from Dornum
in East Frisia, and their father Simon Marrix (whose name was changed
to Sam Marx, and who was nicknamed "Frenchy") was a native
of Alsace, now part of France, and worked as a tailor.  The family
lived in the then-poor Yorkville section of New York City's Upper
East Side, between the Irish, German and Italian Quarters.
The Marx brothers
The brothers were:
name Actual name Born Died Age
- Manfred January 1886 July 17, 1886 (died in infancy) -
Chico Leonard March 22, 1887 October 11, 1961  74
Harpo Adolph (after 1911: Arthur) November 23, 1888 September 28,
1964  75
Groucho Julius Henry October 2, 1890 August 19, 1977  86
Gummo Milton October 23, 1892 April 21, 1977  84
Zeppo Herbert February 25, 1901 November 30, 1979  78
brothers were from a family of artists, and their musical talent
was encouraged from an early age. Harpo was hopelessly untalented
on the guitar and piano (he boasts in his autobiography that he
only knew two songs, and that he could only play them with one finger);
however, he became a dedicated harpist, which gave him his nickname.
Chico was an excellent pianist, and Groucho played the guitar and
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, mainly as a singer. By 1907, he and Gummo were singing
together in 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.
famous entertainer became part of the family when Jack Benny married
Sadye Marks (aka Mary Livingstone), their cousin.
One evening in 1912, 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. When they
returned, Groucho, angered by the interruption, made snide comments
about the audience, including "Nacogdoches is full of roaches"
and "The jackass is the flower of Tex-ass". Instead of
becoming angry, the audience laughed. The family then realized they
had potential as a comic troupe.
act slowly evolved from singing with comedy to comedy with music.
Their sketch ("Fun in Hi Skule"), featured Groucho as
a German-accented teacher presiding over a classroom which included
students Harpo, Gummo, and Chico. The last version of the school
act, titled Home Again, was written by Al Shean. About this time,
Gummo left to serve in World War I, reasoning that "anything
is better than being an actor!" Zeppo replaced him in their
final vaudeville years, the jump to Broadway, and then to Paramount
World War I, anti-German sentiments were common, and the family
tried to conceal their German origin. To avoid the draft the brothers
started a farm near Countryside, Illinois, but soon found it not
to their liking. During this time Groucho discontinued his "German"
this time "The Four Marx Brothers" had begun to incorporate
their unique style of comedy into their act and to develop their
characters. Both Groucho and Harpo's memoirs say their now famous
on-stage personas were created by Al Shean. Groucho began to wear
his trademark greasepaint moustache and to use a stooped walk. Harpo
stopped speaking onstage and began to wear a red fright wig and
carry a taxi-cab horn. Chico talked with a fake Italian accent,
developed off-stage to deal with neighborhood toughs, while Zeppo
adopted the role of the romantic (and "peerlessly cheesy,"
according to James Agee) straight man.
on-stage personalities of Groucho, Chico, and Harpo were said to
have been based on their actual traits. Zeppo, on the other hand,
was considered the funniest brother offstage, despite his straight
stage roles. As the youngest and having grown up watching his brothers,
he could fill in for and imitate any of the others when illness
kept them from performing. "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.
(Zeppo did impersonate Groucho in the film version of Animal Crackers.
Groucho was unavailable to film the scene in which the Beaugard
painting is stolen, so the script was contrived to include a power
failure which allowed Zeppo to play the Spaulding part in near-darkness.)
the 1920s the Marx Brothers had become one of America's favorite
theatrical acts. With their sharp and bizarre sense of humor, they
satirized institutions such as high society and human hypocrisy.
They also became famous for their improvisational comedy in free
form scenarios. A famous early instance was when Harpo told 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 by calmly checking
his watch and commenting, "First time I ever saw a taxi hail
a passenger". When Harpo chased the girl back the other direction,
Groucho adlibbed, "You can always set your watch by the 9:20".
Chico's management, and with Groucho's creative direction, the brothers'
vaudeville act had led them to become stars on Broadway, first with
a musical revue, I'll Say She Is (19241925), followed by two musical
comedies, The Cocoanuts (19251926) and Animal Crackers (19281929).
Playwright George S. Kaufman worked on the latter two shows and
helped to sharpen the Brothers' characterizations.
makeup, wigs, or glasses, all of the Brothers were similar-looking,
including their receding hairlines. Zeppo could pass for a younger
Groucho, and played the role of his son in Horse Feathers. In Duck
Soup, with Groucho, Harpo and Chico all made up in Groucho's greasepaint
eyebrows and mustache, and his style of glasses, and with their
heads covered by nightcaps, the three looked virtually identical,
enabling them to carry off the "mirror scene" effectively.
Origin of the stage names
stage names for four of the five brothers 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 which included a supporting
character named "Groucho". The reasons behind Chico's
and Harpo's 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,
and originally spelled, "Chick-o") because of his affinity
for the ladies ("chicks").
his autobiography, Harpo explains that Milton became Gummo because
he crept about the theater like a gumshoe detective. Other sources
report that Gummo was the family's hypochondriac, having been the
sickliest of the brothers in childhood, and therefore wore rubber
overshoes, also called gumshoes, in all kinds of weather. Groucho
stated that the source of the name was Gummo wearing galoshes. Either
way, the name relates to rubber-soled shoes.
reason Julius was named Groucho is perhaps the most disputed. There
are three explanations:
temperament. 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 the most believable. Steve Allen,
in "Funny People," says that the name made no sense; Groucho
might have been impudent and impertinent, but not grouchyat least
not around Allen.
The grouch bag. This explanation appears in Harpo's biography, was
voiced by Chico in a TV appearance included on The Unknown Marx
Brothers, and also offered by George Fenneman, Groucho's sidekick
on his TV game show, You Bet Your Life. 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, in chapter six
of his first autobiography, insisted that this was not the case:
I kept my money in a 'grouch bag.' This was a small chamois bag
that actors used to wear around their neck to keep other hungry
actors from pinching their dough. Naturally, you're going to think
that's where I got my name from. But that's not so. Grouch bags
were worn on many chests long before there was a Groucho.
explanation. Groucho himself insisted that he was named for a character
in the comic strip, Knocko the Monk, which had 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 ever 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; during his Carnegie Hall concert,
when he was discussing the Brothers' names and when it came to his
own, he said, "My name, of course, I never did understand."
Herbert was not nicknamed by Art Fisher, since he did not join the
act until Gummo had departed. As with Groucho, three explanations
exist for Herbert's name, "Zeppo":
explanation. Harpo said in Harpo Speaks! the brothers had named
Herbert for Mr. Zippo, a chimpanzee that was part of another performer's
act. Herbert disliked the nickname, and when it came time for him
to join the act, he put his foot down and refused to be called "Zippo."
The brothers compromised on Zeppo.
explanation. Chico never wrote an autobiography, and gave fewer
interviews than his brothers, but his daughter, Maxine, in The Unknown
Marx Brothers said that when the Marx Brothers lived in Chicago,
a popular style of humor was the "Zeke and Zeb" joke,
which made fun of slow-witted Midwesterners in much the same way
Boudreaux and Thibodeaux jokes mock Cajuns and Ole and Lena jokes
mock Minnesotans. One day, as Chico returned home, he found Herbert
sitting on the fence. Herbert greeted him by saying "Hi, Zeke!"
Chico responded with "Hi, Zeb!" and the name stuck. The
brothers thereafter called him "Zeb," and when he joined
the act, they floated the idea of "Zebbo," eventually
explanation. In a tape-recorded interview excerpted on The Unknown
Marx Brothers, Groucho said Zeppo was so named because he was born
when the first zeppelins started crossing the ocean. He also stated
this in his Carnegie Hall concert, ca.1972. The first zeppelin flew
in July 1900, and Herbert was born seven months later in February
1901. However, the first transatlantic zeppelin flight was not until
1924, long after Herbert's birth.
Maxine Marx reported in The Unknown Marx Brothers that the brothers
listed their real names (Julius, Leonard, Adolph, Milton and Herbert)
on playbills and in programs, and only used the nicknames behind
the scenes, until Alexander Woollcott overheard them calling one
another by the nicknames, he asked them why they used their own
rather real names publicly when they had such wonderful nicknames.
They replied, "That wouldn't be dignified." Woollcott
answered with a belly laugh. Since Woollcott did not meet the Marx
Brothers until the premiere of I'll Say She Is, which was their
first Broadway show, this would mean they used their real names
throughout their vaudeville days, and that the name "Gummo"
never appeared in print during his time in the act. Other sources
report that the Marx Brothers did go by their nicknames during their
vaudeville era, but briefly listed themselves by their given names
when I'll Say She Is opened because they were worried that a Broadway
audience would reject a vaudeville act if they were perceived as
Marx Brothers' stage shows became popular just as Hollywood was
changing to "talkies". They signed a contract with Paramount
and embarked on their film career. Their first two released films
(they had previously made but not released one short silent
film titled Humor Risk) were adaptations of Broadway shows: The
Cocoanuts (1929) and Animal Crackers (1930). Both were written by
George S. Kaufman and Morrie Ryskind. Following these two feature-length
films, they made 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 that was not based
on a stage production. Horse Feathers (1932), in which the brothers
satirized the American college system and Prohibition, was their
most popular film yet, and won them the cover of Time. It included
a running gag from their stage work, where Harpo revealed having
nearly everything in his coat. At various points in Horse Feathers
Harpo pulls out of his coat: 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. In
another famous sketch, shown in Animal Crackers, Harpo drops a full
banquet's worth of silverware out of his sleeve, followed by a coffeepot.
last Paramount film, Duck Soup (1933) directed by the most highly
regarded director they ever worked with, Leo McCarey is the higher
rated of two Marx Brothers films to make the American Film Institute's
"100 years ... 100 Movies" list (the other film being
A Night at the Opera). It did not do as well as Horse Feathers,
but was the sixth-highest grosser of 1933. The film also led to
a feud between the Marxes and the village of Fredonia, New York.
Freedonia, of course, was the name of the fictional country in Duck
Soup, and the city fathers wrote to Paramount and asked the studio
to remove all references in the film to Freedonia because "it
is hurting our town's image." Groucho fired back a sarcastic
reply asking them to change the name of their town because "it's
hurting our picture."
Marx Brothers left Paramount because of disagreements over creative
decisions and financial issues.
MGM, RKO, and United Artists
Zeppo left the act to become an agent and went on to build with
his brother Gummo 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 began discussing
the possibility of the Marxes coming to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, and
they signed, now known as "The Three Marx Brothers," or
simply "The Marx Bros."
the free-for-all scripts at Paramount, Thalberg insisted on a strong
story structure, making them into more sympathetic characters, interweaving
their comedy with romantic plots and non-comic musical numbers,
while the targets of their mischief were largely confined to clear
villains. Thalberg was adamant that these scripts had to include
a "low point" where all seems lost for both the Marxes
and the romantic leads. In a June 13, 1969, interview with Dick
Cavett, Groucho said that the two movies made with Thalberg (A Night
at the Opera and A Day at the Races) were the best that they ever
idea of Thalberg's was that before filming would commence on an
upcoming picture, the Marx Brothers would try out its material on
the vaudeville stage, working on comic timing and learning what
earned a laugh and what didn't.
first film that the brothers shot with Thalberg 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 (which includes a scene where they cram an
amazing number of people into a tiny stateroom on a ship) was a
great success, and was followed two years later by the even bigger
hit A Day at the Races (1937), where the brothers cause mayhem in
a sanitarium and at a horse race (this sequence includes Groucho
and Chico's famous "Tootsie Frootsie Ice Cream" sketch).
However, during shooting in 1936, Thalberg died suddenly, and without
him, the brothers didn't have an advocate at MGM.
After a short experience at RKO (Room Service, 1938), the Marx Brothers
made three more films before leaving MGM, At the Circus (1939),
Go West (1940), and The Big Store (1941). Prior to the release of
The Big Store, the team announced their retirement from the screen,
but Chico was in dire financial straits; to help settle his gambling
debts, the Marx Brothers made another two films together, A Night
in Casablanca (1946) and Love Happy (1949), both of them released
by United Artists.
and Chico appeared together briefly 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. Then they
worked together, but in different scenes, in The Story of Mankind
(1957). In 1959, all three acted in a TV pilot, Deputy Seraph, to
star Harpo and Chico as blundering angels; Groucho would appear
in every third episode as their boss, the "Deputy Seraph"
The pilot was never finished when it was discovered that Chico was
seriously ill with arteriosclerosis; he could not remember his lines
at all, and was uninsurable. Chico and Harpo did appear together
in a half-hour film shot later that year for the General Electric
Theater on CBS, The Incredible Jewel Robbery, a pantomime show with
the pair as would-be jewel thieves. Groucho made a brief appearance
in the last scene.
the 1940s onward, Chico and Harpo made nightclub and casino appearances,
sometimes together. Chico also fronted a big band, the Chico Marx
Orchestra. Groucho began a career as a radio and television entertainer.
From 1947 to 1961, he was the host of the quiz show You Bet Your
Life (along with a money-bearing artificial duck) on NBC. He was
also an author -- his writings include the autobiographical Groucho
and Me (1959), Memoirs of a Mangy Lover (1964), and The Groucho
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 also featured
the brothers reenacting much of their previously unfilmed material
from both their vaudeville and Broadway eras. Had the film come
into fruition, it would have been the first time the Brothers had
appeared as a quartet since 1933.
1957 talk show Tonight! America After Dark, hosted by Jack Lescoulie,
may supply the only public footage in which all five brothers appeared.
On October 1, 1962, Groucho introduced Johnny Carson to the audience
of The Tonight Show as the new host.
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 left show business
in 1933). Voice actor Paul Frees filled in for all three (no voice
was needed for Harpo, who was also deceased). The Marx Brothers'
segment was a reworking of a scene from their Broadway play I'll
Say She Is, a parody of Napoleon which 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
January 16, 1977, The Marx Brothers were inducted into the Motion
Picture Hall of Fame.
TV shows and movies have used Marx Brothers references. Animaniacs
and Tiny Toons, for example, have featured Marx Brothers jokes and
skits. 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.
noteworthy is the fact that 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. Chico
once appeared on "I've Got a Secret" dressed up as Harpo;
his secret was shown in a caption reading "I'm actually Chico
Films with the Four Marx Brothers:
Risk (1921), previewed once and never released; thought to be lost
The Cocoanuts (1929), released by Paramount Pictures
Animal Crackers (1930), released by Paramount
The House That Shadows Built (1931), released by Paramount (short
Monkey Business (1931), released by Paramount
Horse Feathers (1932), released by Paramount
Duck Soup (1933), released by Paramount
Films with the three Marx Brothers (post-Zeppo):
at the Opera (1935), released by MGM
A Day at the Races (1937), released by MGM
Room Service (1938), released by RKO Radio Pictures
At the Circus (1939), released by MGM
Go West (1940), released by MGM
The Big Store (1941), released by MGM
A Night in Casablanca (1946), released by United Artists
Love Happy (1949), released by United Artists
The Story of Mankind (1957), released by Warner Brothers
Copacabana (1947), released by United Artists
Double Dynamite (1951), released by RKO
A Girl in Every Port (1952), released by RKO
Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? (1957), released by 20th Century
The Mikado (1960), made for television
Skidoo (1968), released by Paramount.
Too Many Kisses (1925), released by Paramount
Stage Door Canteen (1943), released by United Artists (cameo)
Papa Romani (1950), television pilot
A Kiss in the Dark (1925), released by Paramount (cameo)
Year Groucho Chico Harpo Zeppo
Humor Risk 1926 The Villain The Italian Watson, Detective The Love
The Cocoanuts 1929 Mr. Hammer Chico Harpo Jamison
Animal Crackers 1930 Captain Geoffrey T. Spaulding Signor Immanuel
Ravelli The Professor Horatio Jamison
The House That Shadows Built 1931 Caesar's Ghost Tomalio The Merchant
of Weiners Sammy Brown
Monkey Business 1931 Groucho Chico Harpo Zeppo
Horse Feathers 1932 Professor Quincy Adams Wagstaff Baravelli Pinky
Duck Soup 1933 Rufus T. Firefly Chicolini Pinky Lt. Bob Roland
A Night at the Opera 1935 Otis B. Driftwood Fiorello Tomasso
A Day at the Races 1937 Dr. Hugo Z. Hackenbush* Tony Stuffy
Room Service 1938 Gordon Miller Harry Binelli Faker Englund
At the Circus 1939 J. Cheever Loophole Antonio Pirelli Punchy
Go West 1940 S. Quentin Quale Joe Panello Rusty Panello
The Big Store 1941 Wolf J. Flywheel Ravelli Wacky
A Night in Casablanca 1946 Ronald Kornblow Corbaccio Rusty
Love Happy 1949 Sam Grunion Faustino the Great Harpo
The Story of Mankind 1957 Peter Minuit Monk Sir Isaac Newton
avoid a possible lawsuit, this name was chosen instead of the intended
"Quackenbush" after it was discovered that there was a
real doctor by this name.)
Ownership status of films
All the films that were released are still intact. However, due
to certain studios selling many of their films from the Golden Age
of Hollywood, the rights to many of the Marx Brothers' films have
changed hands over the years.
In 1957, Paramount sold many of its pre-1950 sound features to EMKA,
Ltd. - a subsidiary of the Music Corporation of America. After MCA
merged with Universal Pictures in 1962, the rights to these films
went to Universal (now a part of NBC Universal).
MGM held on to their Marx Brothers films longer than Paramount did.
In 1986, media mogul Ted Turner bought MGM outright. But after amassing
huge debts, Turner sold the studio, but kept the pre-1986 MGM library
for his own company, Turner Entertainment. Today, Turner Entertainment
is a subsidiary of Time Warner, with Warner Bros. handling sales
Due to being an RKO film, the transfer of this film's rights has
been more complicated than most other Marx Brothers films. In 1955,
RKO sold television rights to many of their films to C&C Television
for most markets, and General Tire for markets in which they owned
TV stations. General's rights ended up being auctioned as successor
RKO General was in the midst of a licensing scandal. Meanwhile,
C&C sold its rights to United Artists in 1971. UA was in turn
sold to MGM in 1981. Turner inherited UA's rights as part of his
acquisition of MGM's library. Turner then acquired television rights
in the markets where RKO had owned stations. All US/Canadian and
Region 4 rights are now with WB/Turner.
the other hand, distribution rights in the rest of the world have
been sold on a country-by-country basis. For example, PolyGram Filmed
Entertainment purchased the underlying UK rights in later years,
and passed on to Universal following the sale of PolyGram to Universal.
A Night in Casablanca
Warners now owns this film as part of the Castle Hill Productions
This and many other UA films released before 1952 were sold to National
Telefilm Associates in 1955. In 1984, NTA changed its name to Republic
Pictures, which itself became part of the Spelling Entertainment
Group in the mid-1990s. Spelling was sold to Paramount's current
parent Viacom in 1999.
the mid-1990s, Republic licensed US video rights to Artisan Entertainment.
Artisan was sold to Lions Gate Entertainment in 2003. Then, in 2006,
US video rights to certain Republic properties - including Love
Happy - reverted to Paramount, who also owns video rights in Region
4 and in France.
distribution is now in the hands of CBS Television Distribution
(formerly known as CBS Paramount Domestic Television), having inherited
them from Republic, Worldvision Enterprises, and Paramount Domestic
Television. Video rights in much of the world are also divided by
country, with Universal owning the UK video rights.
In 1925, Harpo was the first brother to appear on screen in a widely
released film, having been cast in Too Many Kisses as "The
Village Peter Pan." It was in this role that Harpo spoke the
only line he would ever speak in front of a movie or TV camera:
"You sure you can't move?" But as it was a silent movie,
audiences still didn't hear his voice.
The British Rock group Queen released in 1975 an album called A
Night at the Opera, a name which they chose after watching the Marx
Brother's movie. Their next album was called A Day at the Races,
also inspired by the Marx Brothers' 1937 movie.
The Marman clamp was first produced by Herbert (Zeppo) Marx, after
the inventor approached him with the device. It was manufactured
by his company Marman Products. At the time it was designed to secure
cargo during transport. The U.S. Military used it to transport the
atomic bombs used at the end of the Second World War.
The Cluster mission consists of 4 identical scientific satellites,
flying in formation, to explore the Earth's magnetosphere. The original
4 satellites were unofficially christened Groucho, Chico, Harpo
and Zeppo; the 5th (spare) satellite was christened Gummo.
The movies House of 1000 Corpses and The Devil's Rejects,
directed by Rob Zombie, contain characters that assume the names
of Marx Brothers characters, including Capt. Spaulding, Rufus Firefly,
and Otis Driftwood.
Gummo, directed by Harmony Korine, is named after the Marx brother
who never made it to the screen.
SPEBSQSA barbershop quartet The New Tradition, gold medalists in
1985, based their act on the Marx Brothers. The tenor was Zeppo,
the lead Chico, the baritone Harpo (who sang but never spoke), and
the bass Groucho.
In Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Prof. Henry Jones, Sr., upon
realizing his son Indiana has brought his Grail Diary right back
to the Nazis he was trying to keep it from, says that he should
have sent it to the Marx Brothers.
In 2007 the Swedish production company Eva Rydberg Nöjesproduktion
made a stage play, called Den stora premiären (The Grand Premiere),
dedicated to the Marx Brothers where actors played the Marx Brothers
playing other characters. "Groucho" played Captain Spoling
(a take on Captain Spalding in Animal Crackers), "Chico"
played Ravelli, lawyer from the company Ravelli, Ravelli and Ravelli
(and Ravelli) (a take on the italian-named characters Chico often
played and also a nod to a well-known Swedish soccer goal keeper
by that name) and "Harpo" played Charlie, another lawyer.
Like the real Harpo, he did not speak, except for one scene in the
middle of the play, where he explained to another cast member, that
he could speak, but often found it better to keep quiet, since people
said too much anyway. The other cast member was to keep this a secret
and later in the play, the Harpo character Charlie would confuse
one of the villains, by hiding behind a piano and speak a few words,
the villain not knowing where they came from.
In the comic book series Cerebus the Aardvark both Groucho, as Lord
Julius, and Chico make appearances as powerful rulers of nations
as part of Dave Sims critique on political bureaucracy.
The 2006 album Do This! by experimental jazz group Reptet features
four tracks named after the Marx Brothers: Zeppo, Harpo, Chico,
and Graucho, respectively. There is no mention of Gummo.