About the Book

Four of the Three Musketeers

The Marx Brothers on Stage

by Robert S. Bader

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.

About the Author
ROBERT S. BADER is the editor of Groucho Marx and Other Short Stories and Tall Tales. He is the curator of the Bing Crosby Archive and produced the television special The Legendary Bing Crosby. 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. His recent DVD productions include the Marx Brothers TV Collection; The Honeymooners: Lost Episodes, 1951–1957; and The Best of the Danny Kaye Show. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife and several dogs.