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For Groucho Marx, the stock market was nothing to laugh at. The mustached wag invested his fortune, a quarter-million dollars, on a tip from a bellhop at the Ritz-Carlton during the height of the Roaring Twenties. On Black Tuesday, he lost it all. By 1929, Wall Street tycoons had popularized the idea of selling stocks and high-yield bonds directly to small investors while manipulating the market; their stupendous successes had made them folk heroes of the day. But then the market crumbled overnight and speculators started jumping out of skyscrapers.

This Thursday at 7 p.m., the Wolfsonian will spool The Crash of 1929, a documentary chronicling that fateful year through the words and experiences of the descendants of these financial wizards.

One of them is Marx’s son, Arthur, who recalls in the film how even though his famous father detested gambling, he bet everything. Fittingly, the screening is free.
Thu., June 25, 7 p.m., 2009


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