On Your Marx, Get Set, Stall!

Recently, Jerry Beck posted this promotional image for an aborted Marx Brothers cartoon series over at the excellent Cartoon Brew. A Marx Brothers cartoon seems a slightly stranger prospect than some of the other comedy teams who made it into animated form; Abbot and Costello, Laurel and Hardy and The Three Stooges were all more child-friendly than the Marxes. Strip the brothers of their more abrasive, adult humour and you’re not left with too much for Groucho and Chico to do. Harpo on the other hand, would have made a brilliant cartoon character!

The ad was printed in a 1966 which means the finished product would have been somewhat of a frankenstine job; Chico died in 1961, Harpo followed in 1964 and would Groucho, who was still around and active, even have wanted to lend his voice talents alongside actors imitating his brothers. If not, it’s hard to imagine anyone being able to fill his shoes.

Hundreds of projects like these were attempted, and stalled during the 60s and 70s, one that immediately springs to mind is the The Bickersons. The interesting part about the above image though, is that it offers screenings to interested customers. This would imply that a pilot had been produced; I’d love to see that turn up! 

In light of this projects absence  here are two great vintage cartoons, one from Disney, one from Warner, that feature brilliant caricatures of the brothers amongst others.


7 Responses to “On Your Marx, Get Set, Stall!”

  1. Very interesting. I had never heard of this project before. I imagine that Groucho and Chico could have been made presentable for children. I recall The Beatles cartoon show of the sixties which depicted the band as lovable clean-living moptops in Eton jackets when the lifestyles of the real live band were something else altogether.

  2. Hello, I wanted to leave a comment on Cartoon Brew but apparently it is an attack site.

    Recently some cels from Filmations Archives came up on ebay. I grabbed 5 of the best I could but they are apparently the test animation cels from the unproduced 1966 cartoon of the Marx Brothers.

    I am an animation student, 28, about to finish my masters. I grew up a child of baby boomers so I love the Marx Brothers, and anything that relies on natural comedic timing, where as now day we rely on sandra bullock.

    If you want I can send you an image of the framed result, later I will be able to afford a nice frame but as it is now this is some of the only artwork I have ever bought and I will keep it forever.

    • illegibleme Says:

      I would love to see a picture, thanks John.

      Cartoon Brew have been having some problems over the last couple of days but this morning assured their readers that the site has been checked and does not contain anything harmful to your machine. They are in the process of resolving this with Google. I’m sure they’d love to read your information as well, and when you visit them, “Tell ’em illegibleme sent ya.”

      May I ask how much you ended up paying for them?

    • I would love it if you could happen to send me a picture of animation cels. I am trying to collect as much information and resources for everything related to the Marx Brothers. 🙂

  3. You made some respectable points there. I seemed on the web for the difficulty and found most
    people will associate with together with your website.

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