Summer 1910 – The Six Mascots begin performing a schoolroom sketch as part of their singing act. Julius plays the teacher using a German accent.

December 5, 1910 – During a transitional period in which the Six Mascots gradually became the Marx Brothers, the act was billed as Julius Marx’s School Kids at the Star Theatre in Aurora, Illinois. It is the only known instance of this billing.


January 2, 1911 – The Three Marx Brothers and Company debut their act “Fun in High School” at the American Theatre in Davenport, Iowa. The act will later be billed under various misspellings.


 September 5, 1912 – With the addition of brother Leonard to the act the Four Marx Brothers give their first performance as a quartet at the Apollo Theatre in Chicago, Illinois. Their new show, Mr. Green’s Reception, is an expansion of their school act.


May 14, 1914 – The Four Marx Brothers open at the Gaiety Theatre in Galesburg, Illinois. During this three-day engagement they get their nicknames during a card game with comic Art Fisher. Were it not for this fateful card game Fisher would be completely forgotten. Leonard, Adolph, Milton and Julius become Chico, Harpo, Gummo and Groucho respectively.


August 1914 – The Four Marx Brothers prepare their new show in unadvertised performances in several Illinois cities. Written by their Uncle Al Shean the show is originally titled Bringing Up Father but is quickly retitled Home Again.

February 22, 1915 – The Four Marx Brothers reach the pinnacle of vaudeville success when Home Again opens at the Palace Theatre in New York. They’ll perform the show under various titles for seven vaudeville seasons.


September 1918 – The new Marx Brothers show, The Cinderella Girl, (alternately The Street Cinderella) is a casualty of the 1918 Flu Epidemic (as well as an admittedly poor script.) They soon are back on the road with a new version of Home Again called ‘N’ Everything. Youngest brother Herbert, nicknamed Zeppo, replaces Gummo who joins the army.


Follow the Full Groucho Chronology: