Harry J. Ritz

1907 - 1986


  1. Harry Thank you

    We laughed to Harry’s great schtick back in the 60s on film and TV when I was young. No one alive today knows how to create comedy like the Ritz Brothers did. I met Harry’s last wife Naomi not long ago while antiquing in LA. Was astounded that she is still with us, such a treat! R.I.P. Harry, truly one of the funniest men to ever live! Thank you Harry!

    Larry Friskopp

  2. I Finally Found Out Who You Are, Harry

    The Ritz Brothers
    Al (Abraham Joachim): August 27, 1901 – Dec. 22, 1965
    Jimmy (Samuel Joachim): Oct. 5, 1904 – Nov. 17, 1985
    Harry (Herschel Joachim): May 22, 1907 – March 29,1986
    They were three zanies — but not Three Stooges, and not three Marx Brothers. The Ritz Brothers looked alike and pretty much acted alike. While the boys had some fine moments in films, audiences accustomed to the more pronounced eccentricity and personality of the other teams have paid them little attention over the years. To modern viewers, Al, Jimmy and Harry look like a trio of Huntz Halls, or three Danny Kayes on drugs. Since they don’t look weird (unlike the Stooges or Marxes) their brand of zaniness often seems forced. Audiences think, “they look ok, so what’s their problem?” If you look like Curly or Harpo, there’s reason for havoc.
    The Ritz clan grew up in Brooklyn, with Al starting out as a dancer in vaudeville, and his brothers joining him later. Originally billed as The Collegians when they played Coney Island in 1925, they claimed to have gotten the name Ritz off a laundry truck when their agent insisted on a name change. Expert eccentric dancers, they clowned in 1926’s “George White’s Scandals” and 1932’s “Earl Carroll’s Vanities.” A few years later they made a short, “Hotel Anchovy,” an entertaining, nonsensical romp in which they played aggressive bellboys bewildering both guests and other employees.
    Darryl Zanuck enjoyed the film but instead of signing them to make their own movies, seemed to view them as a comic specialty act, sandwiching their novelty numbers and routines into a series of otherwise tame and forgettable Alice Faye musicals. They had similar guest spots in “The Goldwyn Follies” playing animal trainers (“When you think of animals — think of us!”) and doing a set piece, “Serenade to a Fish.” In “One in a Million” starring Sonja Henie, they do their impressions of Boris Karloff, Peter Lorre and Charles Laughton — on skates.
    The boys made a few uneven feature films in the late 30’s, with “The Three Musketeers” considered the best. They had some troubles finding good scripts with Zanuck at 20th Century Fox and after the disasterous “The Gorilla” and “Pack Up Your Troubles” they packed up for Universal, co-starring with The Andrews Sisters in their first film, “Argentine Nights.” With Abbott & Costello doing so well at Universal at the same time, the brothers seemed to have been neglected, and within a few years and a few films, were back in vaudeville.
    The team played Las Vegas in the 40’s, retired periodically in the 50’s, but were still performing together up until 1965. That year Al Ritz had a heart attack while on tour in New Orleans. Harry and Jimmy continued without him.
    Though their reputation languished in the 50’s and 60’s, stars influenced by The Ritz Brothers often spoke out in their defense. Many, from Sid Caesar to Huntz Hall, have acknowledged a debt to Harry Ritz. Sid Caesar: “Harry brought a whole new dimension to comedy. When he told a joke, he told it with his whole body.” Harry, the last surviving Ritz Brother, was given a cameo role in Mel Brooks’ “Silent Movie.” Brooks declared, “The Three Stooges, their timing was great. They’re consummate comic artists. I loved The Marx Brothers — but the funniest brothers for me were the Ritz Brothers. They thrilled me. THey were gods of mine.” In an episode of “MA*S*H” the officers raise their glasses high and decide on a toast. Hawkeye (Alan Alda) said, “Let’s drink to something important! To the Ritz Brothers!”
    George White’s Scandals (1926), Earl Carroll’s Vanities (1932), Casino Varieties (1934)
    Hotel Anchovy (1934), Sing Baby Sing (1936), One In a Million (1937), On the Avenue (1937), You Can’t Have Everything (1937), Life Beegins At College (1937), The Goldwyn Follies (1938), Kencuky Moonshine (1938), Straight Place and Show (1938) The Three Musketeers (1939), The Gorilla (1939), Pack Up Your troubles (1939), Argentine Nights (1940), Behind the Eight Ball (1942), Hi Ya Chum (1943), Never a Dull Moment (1943), Blazing Stewardesses (1975), Won Ton Ton the Dog That Saved Hollywood (1976), Real Life (1979)
    Shalom, Harry.

    A Silent Film Lover

  3. Your Career

    Were you a singer like the two other Ritz brothers who are listed here?I wish that your family had put more information about you but I suppose that is for them to know and the rest of us to forget. Too bad.

    An Admirer of Old Films, Music, Etc.



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