The Ritz Brothers in an undated publicity photo. From top to bottom: Jimmy, Al, and Harry.
 
The Ritz Brothers on Wikipedia
The Ritz Brothers on the Internet Movie Database
 
 
 
 
The Ritz Brothers
Forecourt Ceremony held on Wednesday, September 22, 1937
 
Al
Born: Albert Joachim, August 27, 1901, in Newark, New Jersey
Age at the time of the ceremony: 36
Died: December 22, 1965, in New Orleans, Louisiana, age 64

Jimmy
Born: Samuel Joachim, October 14, 1904, in Newark, New Jersey
Age at the time of the ceremony: 32
Died: November 17, 1985, in Los Angeles, Califonia, age 75

Harry
Born: Harold Joachim, May 22, 1907, in Newark, New Jersey
Age at the time of the ceremony: 30
Died: March 29, 1986, in San Diego, California, age 78


The Ritz Brothers were three brothers who formed an acrobatic dance routine, added some comedy, performed in vaudeville, got snapped up by the movies and appeared in starring and supporting roles. Ultimately rejecting Hollywood, they continued performing together and separately into the 1960s.

 
Caption to Come.
 
All three (plus a another brother George and a sister Gertrude) were born in Newark, New Jersey to Max and Pauline Joachim. Their childhoods are clouded by history, but eldest son Albert became a song and dance man (why not?). Jimmy and Harry joined in and made their debut at Brooklyn's Albee Theatre in 1925, where they sang and danced around in a somewhat gymnastic style. Eventually inprovisational comedy worked its way into the act, until it became the leading element.

By the end of the 1920s, the Ritz Brothers (named for the cracker, it seems), were fixtures on the vaudeville circuit, playing the Palace in New York. The movies beckoned, but it wasn't until April, 1934 that they released their first short film Hotel Anchovy, shot in Astoria for Educational Films. The short was released through 20th Century-Fox, whose president, Darryl F. Zanuck, wanted a comedy troupe at the studio to complete with The Marx Brothers, so The Ritz Brothers were offered a contract.

They appeared in the musicals Sing, Baby, Sing with Alice Faye (which played the Chinese in August, 1936), Sonja Henie's debut film One in a Million (played the Chinese in January, 1937), On the Avenue with Dick Powell (played in February, 1937), and You Can't Have Everything with Alice Faye (played in August, 1937).

To promote their first headlining in pictures, Life Begins at College (released in October, 1937), the Ritz Brothers donned coonskin coats and were imprinted in the Forecourt. The picture played there three weeks later.

The Ritz Brothers are an acquired taste. Their antics are so out there, that not everyone finds them funny. Producer Sam Goldwyn did — he got the Brothers on a loanout to appear in his The Goldwyn Follies (released in February, 1938), where they got second billing. Back at Fox, they got top billing in Kentucky Moonshine (which played the Chinese in May, 1938) and in Straight Place and Show (played the Chinese in October, 1938). The Brothers played "The Three Lackeys" in The Three Musketeers with Don Ameche as D'Artagnan (played in March, 1939).

The Brothers publicly balked at the script to their next picture, The Gorilla (which played the Chinese in June, 1939), but finished it anyway. After that, things got dicy at Fox; they appeared with Jane Withers in Pack Up Your Troubles (played the Chinese in November, 1939) and with the Andrew Sisters in Argentine Nights (released in September, 1940). Then, they split.

They did the film Behind the Eight Ball (released in December, 1942), and Never a Dull Moment (released in November, 1943) at Universal, but after that, the Brothers decided to return to live performance and television.

Al died of a heart attack while they were playing in New Orleans in 1965at the age of 64. Jimmy died in 1985 at the age of 75, and Harry died of Alzheimer's Disease in 1986, aged 78.
 
Grauman's Chinese Theatre, Hollywood, California. Ritz Brothers Forecourt ceremony, Wednesday, September 22, 1937. Al watches Jimmy inscribe across the top of the block with Harry, cement artist Jean Klossner and Sid Grauman look on.
 
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