Al Jolson

JolsonA. JolsonJoley
Documentary about Al Jolson and the making of The Jazz Singer.

Warner Bros.

Warner Bros. PicturesWarner BrothersWarner Bros. Entertainment
Thanks to the success of The Jazz Singer, the studio was cash-rich. Jolson's next film for the company, The Singing Fool was also a success. With the success of these first talkies (The Jazz Singer, Lights of New York, The Singing Fool and The Terror), Warner Bros. became a top studio and the brothers were now able to move out from the Poverty Row section of Hollywood, and acquire a much larger studio lot in Burbank. They expanded by acquiring the Stanley Corporation, a major theater chain. This gave them a share in rival First National Pictures, of which Stanley owned one-third.


black faceblacked upblackface minstrelsy
White people who performed in blackface in film included Al Jolson, Eddie Cantor, Bing Crosby, Fred Astaire, Buster Keaton, Joan Crawford, Irene Dunne, Doris Day, Milton Berle, William Holden, Marion Davies, Myrna Loy, Betty Grable, Dennis Morgan, Laurel and Hardy, Betty Hutton, The Three Stooges, Mickey Rooney, Shirley Temple, Judy Garland, Donald O'Connor and Chester Morris and George E. Stone in Boston Blackie's Rendezvous. As late as the 1940s, Warner Bros. used blackface in a minstrel show sketch in This Is the Army (1943) and by casting Flora Robson as a Haitian maid in Saratoga Trunk (1945).

George Jessel (actor)

George Jessel George JesselGeorge Jessel's variety revue
In 1925, he emerged as one of the most popular leading men on Broadway with the starring role in the stage production of The Jazz Singer. The success of the show prompted Warner Bros.—after their success with Don Juan (1926) with music and sound effects only—to adapt The Jazz Singer as the first "talkie" with dialogue and to cast Jessel in the lead role. However, when the studio refused his salary demands, Jessel turned down the movie role, which was eventually played by Al Jolson. According to Jessel during an interview around 1980, Warner Brothers still owed Jessel money for earlier roles and lacked enough funds to produce this movie with a leading star.


DeForest PhonofilmDe Forest Phonofilms
Warner Brothers released the feature film Don Juan starring John Barrymore on 6 August 1926 in Vitaphone, with music and sound effects only. On 6 October 1927, Warner Brothers released The Jazz Singer with Al Jolson in Vitaphone. The film is often incorrectly credited as the first talking picture. The Jazz Singer was the first feature film to use synchronized sound for talking sequences rather than just for music and sound effects, and thus launched the talkie era, but DeForest's sound-on-film system was in fact the basis for modern sound movies. The Fox Movietone system was first demonstrated to the public at the Sam H.


The Vitaphone CorporationThe Vitaphone Corp.Vitaphone Corporation
Sam then pushed ahead with a new Vitaphone feature starring Al Jolson, the Broadway dynamo who had already scored a big hit with early Vitaphone audiences in A Plantation Act, a musical short released on October 7, 1926. On October 6, 1927, The Jazz Singer premiered at the Warner Theater in New York City, broke box-office records, established Warner Bros. as a major player in Hollywood, and is traditionally credited with single-handedly launching the talkie revolution.

Alan Crosland

Don Juan (1926). When a Man Loves (1927). The Beloved Rogue (1927). Old San Francisco (1927). The Jazz Singer (1927). Glorious Betsy (1928). The Scarlet Lady (1928). On with the Show (1929). General Crack (1930). The Furies (1930). Song of the Flame (1930). Big Boy (1930). Viennese Nights (1930). Captain Thunder (1930). Children of Dreams (1931). The Silver Lining (1932). Week Ends Only (1932). Hello, Sister! (1933). Massacre (1934). The Personality Kid (1934). Midnight Alibi (1934). The Case of the Howling Dog (1934). The White Cockatoo (1935). It Happened in New York (1935). Mister Dynamite (1935). Lady Tubbs (1935). King Solomon of Broadway (1935). The Great Impersonation (1935).

The Sea Beast

The Sea Beast is a 1926 American silent drama film directed by Millard Webb, starring John Barrymore, Dolores Costello and George O'Hara. The film was a major commercial success and one of the biggest pictures of 1926 becoming Warner Brothers' highest grossing film. The Sea Beast is the first adaptation of the novel Moby-Dick by Herman Melville, a story about a monomaniacal hunt for a great white whale. However, the film alters the novel's plotline by establishing prequel and sequel elements that are not in the original story—such as the romancing of Esther and Ahab's safe return, respectively—and substitutes a happy ending for Melville's original tragic one.


Fields, Mae West, Buster Keaton, the Marx Brothers, Jimmy Durante, Bill "Bojangles" Robinson, Edgar Bergen, Fanny Brice, Burns and Allen, and Eddie Cantor, used the prominence gained in live variety performance to vault into the new medium of cinema. In doing so, such performers often exhausted in a few moments of screen time the novelty of an act that might have kept them on tour for several years. Other performers who entered in vaudeville's later years, including Jack Benny, Abbott and Costello, Kate Smith, Cary Grant, Bob Hope, Milton Berle, Judy Garland, Rose Marie, Sammy Davis, Jr., Red Skelton, and The Three Stooges, used vaudeville only as a launching pad for later careers.

Kid Boots (film)

Kid Bootsfeature film version
Kid Boots is a 1926 American silent feature comedy film directed by Frank Tuttle, and based on the 1923 musical written by William Anthony McGuire and Otto Harbach. This was entertainer Eddie Cantor's first film. A print is preserved at the Library of Congress. After a bully helps him out of a jam, Samuel "Kid" Boots tries to return the favor by helping his new friend get free from a gold digging wife. *A Few Moments With Eddie Cantor, Star of "Kid Boots" (1924) short film made in the sound-on-film Phonofilm process, with Cantor performing an excerpt of Kid Boots Eddie Cantor as Samuel (Kid) Boots. Clara Bow as Clara McCoy. Billie Dove as Eleanor Belmore. Lawrence Gray as Tom Sterling.

A Plantation Act

Al Jolson in "A Plantation Act.
The restored film was included on a LaserDisc published in the 1990s and as a bonus feature on the 2007 3-disc DVD release of The Jazz Singer. *Vitaphone Varieties

John Barrymore

JohnJack BarrymoreJohn and Elaine Barrymore
By the late 1920s, sound films had become common, following the 1927 sensation, The Jazz Singer. Actors with trained voices were in demand by the studios, and Barrymore was offered a five-film deal with Warner Bros. at $150,000 per picture, and a share of the profits. Before he began this contract, he played his first speaking role on film: a one-off section in The Show of Shows (1929), playing Richard, Duke of Gloucester in Henry VI, Part 3. His first two films under contract were General Crack and The Man from Blankley's, each of which were modestly successful.

Jerry Lewis

The Jerry Lewis Showfilms of Jerry LewisJerry-Lewis
He starred in his adaptation of "The Jazz Singer" for Startime. Lewis hosted the Academy Awards three times, in 1956, 1957 and the 31st Academy Awards in 1959, which ran twenty minutes short, forcing Lewis to improvise to fill time. DC Comics, switching from Martin and Lewis, published a new comic book series titled The Adventures of Jerry Lewis, running from 1957 to 1971. Lewis remained at Paramount and became a comedy star in his own right. His first solo movie was The Delicate Delinquent (1957), marking Lewis' debut as film producer and screenwriter. It originally had been planned as the next Martin and Lewis film.

Sound film

A Few Minutes with Eddie Cantor 1924 Phonofilm sound film; on Gus Visser and His Singing Duck 1925 Theodore Case sound film; on YouTube. President Coolidge, Taken on the White House Lawn 1924 Phonofilm sound film; on

List of American films of 1926

A list of American films released in 1926. * 1926 films at the Internet Movie Database 1926 in American television. 1926 in the United States.

Academy Honorary Award

Honorary Academy AwardHonorary AwardHonorary Oscar
The Academy Honorary Award – instituted in 1948 for the 21st Academy Awards (previously called the Special Award, which was first presented in early 1929) – is given annually by the [[Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences#Current administration of the Academy|Board of Governors]] of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) to celebrate motion picture achievements that are not covered by existing Academy Awards, although prior winners of competitive Academy Awards are not excluded from receiving the Honorary Award.

My Mammy

Jolson recorded this song twice and performed it in films, including The Jazz Singer (1927), The Singing Fool (1928) and Rose of Washington Square (1939). His voice can also be heard (dubbing actor Larry Parks) singing the song in The Jolson Story (1946). The group The Happenings revived the song in 1967 with a recording that reached #13 on the Billboard Hot 100. During their PopMart Tour of 1997–98, rock music band U2 would often quote the line "The sun shines east, the sun shines west, I know where the sun shines best" in performances of their song, "Miami".

Toot, Toot, Tootsie (Goo' Bye!)

Toot, Toot, Tootsie (Goo' Bye)Toot Toot Tootsie Goo' ByeToot Toot Tootsie! (Goo' Bye)
It was further popularised by Eddie Cantor, nicknamed 'Banjo Eyes'. This song has become associated with the age and image of the flapper during the Roaring Twenties. 'Toot, Toot, Tootsie' appeared in the films The Jazz Singer (1927), Rose of Washington Square (1939) and Remains to Be Seen (film) (1953). It was also performed in the fifth episode of The Brady Bunch Hour. Other artists who recorded the song include Bill Murray together with Ed Smalle; Hoosier Hot Shots, Art Mooney, Eddy Howard, Wayne Newton, Brenda Lee and Jack Mudurian. * Recording by Al Jolson

Don Juan (1926 film)

Don JuanDon Juan'' (1926 film)first publicly exhibited shorts
Don Juan is a 1926 American romantic Adventure film directed by Alan Crosland. It is the first feature-length film to utilize the Vitaphone sound-on-disc sound system with a synchronized musical score and sound effects, though it has no spoken dialogue. The film is inspired by Lord Byron's 1821 epic poem of the same name. The screenplay was written by Bess Meredyth with intertitles by Maude Fulton and Walter Anthony. Don Juan stars John Barrymore as the hand-kissing womanizer. The film has the most kisses in film history, with Barrymore kissing (all together) Mary Astor and Estelle Taylor 127 times.

Western Electric

Western Electric CompanyWestrexWestern Electric Manufacturing Company
Locations of these facilities included: In 1926, Western Electric issued the first Bell System telephone with a handset containing both the transmitter and receiver in the same unit. Previous telephones had been of the candlestick type which featured a stationary transmitter in the desktop set or the wall-mounted unit, and a hand-held receiver to be placed on the user's ear. The first version of the desktop unit was constructed by shortening the candlestick shaft to about an inch in height and placing a handset cradle on the top.

Lee de Forest

DeForestLee DeForestDe Forest
Warner Brothers introduced a competing method for sound film, the Vitaphone sound-on-disc process developed by Western Electric, with the August 6, 1926 release of the John Barrymore film Don Juan. In 1927 and 1928, Hollywood expanded its use of sound-on-film systems, including Fox Movietone and RCA Photophone. Meanwhile, theater chain owner Isadore Schlesinger purchased the UK rights to Phonofilm and released short films of British music hall performers from September 1926 to May 1929. Almost 200 Phonofilm shorts were made, and many are preserved in the collections of the Library of Congress and the British Film Institute.

Tex Avery

Fred AveryFred "Tex" AveryTex Avery Cartoons
Avery graduated in 1926 from North Dallas High School. A popular catchphrase at his school was "What's up, doc?", which he would later utilize for Bugs Bunny in the 1940s. Interested in becoming a newspaper cartoonist, he took a summer course at the Chicago Art Institute. On January 1, 1928, Avery arrived in Los Angeles. He spent the following months working in menial jobs. According to animation historian Michael Barrier, these jobs included working in a warehouse, working on the docks at night, loading fruits and vegetables, and painting cars. He began his animation career when hired by the short-lived Winkler studio (named after producer Margaret J. Winkler).

Michael Curtiz

Mihály KertészMichael KertészMihaly Kertész
In 1930, Curtiz directed Mammy (1930), Al Jolson's fourth film after being in Hollywood's first true talking picture, The Jazz Singer (1927). During the 1930s, Curtiz directed at least four films each year. Although rare for Warner Bros., the studio produced two horror films that Curtiz directed, Doctor X (1932) and Mystery of the Wax Museum (1933), both in color, with numerous atmospheric scenes filmed on the studio's back lot. The look of Doctor X was unique in that besides being in color, it had less grain than other color films as it used the new Technicolor process.

L. Wolfe Gilbert

Wolfe GilbertGilbert
Gilbert moved to Hollywood in 1929, and began writing for film, television, and radio (including the Eddie Cantor show). During the 1930s, Gilbert worked on Cuban songs that helped to popularize the rumba in America. Some of these hits for which he wrote English lyrics include The Peanut Vendor, Mama Inez, and Maria My Own. Gilbert wrote the theme lyrics for the popular children's Television Western Hopalong Cassidy, which first aired in 1949 on NBC. He was an innovator in his field, having been one of the first songwriters to begin publishing and promoting a catalog of his own works. He served as the director of ASCAP from 1941 to 1944, and again in 1953.

Lower East Side

East SideCorlears HookLower East Side of Manhattan
By the turn of the twentieth century, the neighborhood had become closely associated with radical politics, such as anarchism, socialism and communism, and was also known as a place where many popular performers had grown up, such as the Marx Brothers, Eddie Cantor, Al Jolson, George and Ira Gershwin, Jimmy Durante, and Irving Berlin. Later, more radical artists such as the Beat poets and writers were drawn to the neighborhood – especially the parts which later became the East Village – by the inexpensive housing and cheap food.