Wednesday, April 30, 2014



Somewhere around the letter “Q” I realized I had forgotten (I REALLY do very little planning, when I write) to pay homage to the Marx Bros., probably one of the funniest and most innovative of comedy teams of all time. Since this is the last day of the A-to-Z Challenge, I performed and end-run and decided to pick Zeppo Marx for my final entry.

Herbert Manfred "Zeppo" Marx, born February 25, 1901, died November 30, 1979, was the youngest of the five (Groucho, Chico, Harpo and Gummo) Marx Bros. and was an American actor, theatrical agent, and engineer(!) He appeared in the first five Marx Bros. feature films, from 1929 to 1933, but then left the act to start his second career as an engineer and theatrical agent. Zeppo became a multi-millionaire due to his engineering efforts.

Groucho and Zeppo Marx, in I'm Against It, in "Horse Feathers" (1932)

Zeppo initially performed with his brothers, during their vaudeville years, occasionally stepping in as Captain Spaulding for his brother Groucho, who recalled, “He was so good in Animal Crackers that I would have let him play the part indefinitely, if they had allowed me to smoke in the audience”. However, Zeppo was never able to develop a comic persona of his own that could stand up against his brothers'. Although he accompanied his brothers in the first five films, he left shortly after to pursue his other interests: theatrical representation through an agency that he founded with his brother Gummo and a machining parts company, known as the Aeroquip Company. This company produced a motorcycle, called the Marmat Twin and the Marman clamps used to hold the “Fat Man” atomic bomb inside the B-29 named Bockscar. Zeppo also invented a wristwatch that would monitor the pulse rate of cardiac patients and give off an alarm of the heartbeat became irregular.

All of the Marx Brothers were excellent musicians, and self-trained. Harpo did start taking lessons with a renowned harpist in NYC, but ended up teaching her his method of playing.

Surprising facts about a brother I only knew as someone who was overshadowed by his more talented brothers, Zeppo had a foot in both worlds, artistic and scientific, something rarely heard of, with the exception of Austrian actress Hedy Lamarr, during the hey-day of vaudeville, silent films and into black-and-white movies!


Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Mary - such an interesting read - I didn't know about Zeppo being an engineer and inventing things - what a fascinating read ..

I love the Marx brothers .. always amused me ..

Congratulations on finishing the A- Z - and good to have met you .. all the best and cheers Hilary

Anabel Marsh said...

I didn't know he was an engineer either! Multi-talented. Congratulations on reaching the end - I did too! Thanks for your support.

Anabel at Anabel's Travel Blog

Kathe W. said...

Perfect Z choice- love those Marx Brothers! Groucho is my fav, but perhaps that's because I share my birthday with him and Ghandi! What a pair to draw to! Cheers!

Viola Fury said...

Hi Hillary!

Thank you! I was completely floored when I found out Zeppo was an engineer, but then, so was Hedy Lamarr!

The Marx Brothers have always had a special place in my heart; they were probably the first comedians that had any degree of sophistication and music to go along with their comedy. They were truly gifted and funny.

I cannot believe I made it to the end; it was a crazy month and it was a pure delight to meet you! Now that things have calmed down, I plan on spending more time on your blog; you have so many beautiful pictures and different things to read about!

You're a wonderful lady and it's great to have made your acquaintance, Hillary! All the best to you, and I'm so glad to have met you! Mary xoxo

Viola Fury said...


I was very intrigued to find out that he became an engineer, but then, Hedy Lamarr was also an engineer and held a patent on a device that was also used in World War II against the Nazis, so score two for the good guys!

Congratulations to you on reaching the end, Anabel! I thank you for your support, as well! Mary xoxo

Viola Fury said...


I had forgotten the Marx Brothers and wanted to write about them. This was the perfect end! I can see why Groucho is your favorite; Beethoven and I share the same birthday. I cannot claim any peace-keepers, as I am a Wallace and we are and were, rather bellicose in nature! But, we made it to the end! Thanks for being here! Mary xoxo

Entrepreneurial Goddess said...

Hello there. Congratulations on completing the challenge! Visiting from the A-Z Road Trip.
Entrepreneurial Goddess