As it is April 1st or All Fool’s Day and in lieu of some cheesy practical joke today’s Sunday Matinee focuses on the brilliance of the extremely funny Marx Brothers.

The Marx Brothers started out as a vaudeville act in the early 1910’s. There were five Marx Brothers. Julius (Groucho), Leonard (Chico), Arthur (Harpo), Milton (Gummo) and Herbert (Zeppo). Gummo left the group in 1915 to fight in WWI and Zeppo (the youngest Marx brother) replaced him. By 1925 the brothers had become so popular that they starred in two Broadway shows. The first in 1925 was The Cocoanuts. In 1928 it was Animal Crackers. In 1929 with advent of sound, The Marx Brothers made the leap on to the big screen with the Paramount talkie adaptation of their play The Cocoanuts. It wasn’t bad but there were a lot of musical numbers in the film and the early stages of sound are apparent. All the paper on the screen is wet so that it didn’t crackle in the mics.

They followed it with Animal Crackers in 1930. In 1931 they started making original movies with Monkey Business. The 1933 classic Duck Soup was the last movie at Paramount and the last to feature Zeppo. He quit the act to become a Hollywood agent. The team then signed MGM and made six more movies. In 1941 they announced that they were retiring but they made two more movies after that to help out Chico, who had a huge gambling problem. The fairly funny 1946 movie A Night in Casablanca was the result and the terrible 1949 film Love Happy was what they ended up leaving on. Still classic comedians who influence film even today.