The Incredible Jewel Robbery is one in a series of famous Marx Brothers “lasts”. In this case, it is the last appearance of the brothers together as a team in a show of any kind that was completed and released to the public (in this case, a television show, as opposed to a film). The Incredible Jewel Robbery aired on G.E. Theatre in March 1959. Only Harpo and Chico are billed; Groucho couldn’t be advertised for legal reasons. One interesting aspect of the show is that it brings them full circle to the silent days of Humor Risk. Apart from a single quip from Groucho, the entire show is without dialogue (great for Harpo, not so great for Chico).
This show is nobody’s finest hour. The gags are both sparse and weak (despite the laugh-track’s apparent delight). And the story consists of nothing except Chico and Harpo rob things and get caught. But The Incredible Jewel Robbery does contain one expected treat in addition to Groucho’s cameo. The manager of the store that gets robbed by Chico and Harpo is played by vaudeville vet Benny Rubin!
For more on comedy film history please check out my new book: Chain of Fools: Silent Comedy and Its Legacies from Nickelodeons to Youtube, just released by Bear Manor Media, also available from amazon.com etc etc etcTo find out about the history of vaudeville, consult No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous, available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and wherever nutty books are sold.