Four of the Three Musketeers: The Marx Brothers on Stage
gg-marx-brothersby Robert S. Bader
Northwestern University Press
ISBN-13: 978-0810134164

We’ve already recommended a book about the Marx Toy Company in the 2017 PopCult Gift Guide. Now we give you a book about The Marx Brothers. Four of the Three Musketeers: The Marx Brothers on Stage is perfect for any fan of the comedy legends, and it will also be an informative treat for anyone interested in vaudeville and the early days of Broadway.

Before film made them international comedy legends, the Marx Brothers developed their comic skills on stage for twenty-five years. In Four of the Three Musketeers: The Marx Brothers on Stage, Robert S. Bader offers the first comprehensive history of the foursome’s hardscrabble early years honing their act in front of live audiences.

From Groucho’s debut in 1905 to their final live performances of scenes from A Night in Casablanca in 1945, the brothers’ stage career shows how their characters and routines evolved before their arrival in Hollywood. Four of the Three Musketeers draws on an unmatched array of sources, many not referenced elsewhere. Bader’s detailed portrait of the struggling young actors both brings to vivid life a typical night on the road for the Marx Brothers and also illuminates the inner workings of the vaudeville business, especially during its peak in the 1920s.

As Bader traces the origins of the characters that would later come to be beloved by filmgoers, he also skillfully scrapes away the accretion of rumors and mythology perpetuated not only by fans and writers but by the Marx Brothers themselves. Revealing, vital, and entertaining, Four of the Three Musketeers will take its place as an essential reference for this iconic American act.

Bader is no slouch in this pursuit. He is the editor of Groucho Marx and Other Short Stories and Tall Tales. Bader is also the writer and producer of the Warner Bros. documentary The Dawn of Sound: How Movies Learned to Talk, and has produced numerous archival DVD releases, including two sets of You Bet Your Life with Groucho Marx. and the Marx Brothers TV Collection. The man knows his Marx Brothers.

it’s great to have an in-depth study of this era of the Marx Brothers’ development, and it’s also really handy to have the rumors and misinformation sorted out from what really happened. Any fan of the Marx Brothers will find new information about the troupe in this book. You should be able to order it from any bookseller, using the ISBN number, or take the easy way and go to Amazon.