Media Observations by Mitch Santell
The most common remark that I heard from my son when I returned to America from New Zealand was “Dad; I thought when I grew up that the Adults would be running things. It seems that there is a lot of arrested development going on.” My response? “Wasn’t Arrested Development a TV show that successfully aired on Fox TV for many years?”
It would appear that adults in 2018 have lost their sense of humor and the idea of discussing any meaningful culture difference will only lead to apologies. Are we so concerned about being “Politically Correct” that we can’t have an authentic dialogue?
When Warner Brothers released “The Jazz Singer” which debuted on October 6, 1927; it was the first feature film to include both singing and dialogue directly in the movie. A big day for Hollywood back in the day and all because Warner Brothers, unlike their competitors was willing to take a risk.
The black community had a lot of respect for Al Jolson, and the movie was both a “technological” and “musical success.”
At the premiere of The Jazz Singer, attendee Doris Warner recalled that when Jolson and co-star Eugenie Besserer began their dialogue scene, “the audience became hysterical.” Jolson’s performance, which also included renditions of “Toot, Toot, Tootsie” and five other tunes, marked the first feature-length “talkie,” sounding the death knell for silent movies.
To effect the breakthrough, the 89-minute Warner Bros. feature presentation relied on the Vitaphone sound-on-discsystem. The projectionist manually synced each of the 15 film reels to its own phonograph record containing dialogue and music.
Budgeted at the then-gargantuan sum of $422,000 (about $5.3 million in today’s cash), The Jazz Singer represented a major gamble for studio boss Harry Warner, who pawned his wife’s jewelry and moved the family into a small apartment to finance the film. A popular and critical sensation, The Jazz Singer rang down the curtain for silent film stars cursed with squeaky voices.
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