Vaudeville is a theatrical genre of variety entertainment born in France at the end of the 18th century. A vaudeville was a comedy without psychological or moral intentions, based on a comical situation: a kind of dramatic composition or light poetry, interspersed with songs or ballets, it became popular in the United States and Canada from the early 1880s until the early 1930s, but the idea of vaudeville's theatre changed radically from its French antecedent. In some ways analogous to music hall from Victorian Britain, a typical American vaudeville performance was made up of a series of separate, unrelated acts grouped together on a common bill. Types of acts have included popular and classical musicians, dancers, trained animals, ventriloquists, strongmen and male impersonators, illustrated songs, one-act plays or scenes from plays, lecturing celebrities and movies. A vaudeville performer is referred to as a "vaudevillian". Vaudeville developed from many sources including the concert saloon, freak shows, dime museums, literary American burlesque.
Called "the heart of American show business", vaudeville was one of the most popular types of entertainment in North America for several decades. The origin of the term is obscure, but is explained as being derived from the French expression voix de ville. A second speculation is that it comes from the 15th-century songs on satire by poet Olivier Basselin, "Vaux de Vire". In his Connections television series, science historian James Burke argues that the term is a corruption of the French "Vau de Vire", an area known for its bawdy drinking songs and where Basselin lived. Some, preferred the earlier term "variety" to what manager Tony Pastor called its "sissy and Frenchified" successor. Thus, vaudeville was marketed as "variety" well into the 20th century. With its first subtle appearances within the early 1860s, vaudeville was not a common form of entertainment; the form evolved from the concert saloon and variety hall into its mature form throughout the 1870s and 1880s. This more gentle form was known as "Polite Vaudeville".
In the years before the American Civil War, entertainment existed on a different scale. Variety theatre existed before 1860 in Europe and elsewhere. In the US, as early as the first decades of the 19th century, theatregoers could enjoy a performance consisting of Shakespeare plays, singing and comedy; as the years progressed, people seeking diversified amusement found an increasing number of ways to be entertained. Vaudeville was characterized by traveling companies touring through towns. A handful of circuses toured the country. In the 1840s, the minstrel show, another type of variety performance, "the first emanation of a pervasive and purely American mass culture", grew to enormous popularity and formed what Nick Tosches called "the heart of 19th-century show business". A significant influence came from Dutch minstrels and comedians. Medicine shows traveled the countryside offering programs of comedy, music and other novelties along with displays of tonics and miracle elixirs, while "Wild West" shows provided romantic vistas of the disappearing frontier, complete with trick riding and drama.
Vaudeville incorporated these various itinerant amusements into a stable, institutionalized form centered in America's growing urban hubs. In the early 1880s, impresario Tony Pastor, a circus ringmaster turned theatre manager, capitalized on middle class sensibilities and spending power when he began to feature "polite" variety programs in several of his New York City theatres; the usual date given for the "birth" of vaudeville is October 24, 1881 at New York's Fourteenth Street Theatre, when Pastor famously staged the first bill of self-proclaimed "clean" vaudeville in New York City. Hoping to draw a potential audience from female and family-based shopping traffic uptown, Pastor barred the sale of liquor in his theatres, eliminated bawdy material from his shows, offered gifts of coal and hams to attendees. Pastor's experiment proved successful, other managers soon followed suit. B. F. Keith took the next step, starting in Boston, where he built an empire of theatres and brought vaudeville to the US and Canada.
E. F. Albee, adoptive grandfather of the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Edward Albee, managed the chain to its greatest success. Circuits such as those managed by Keith-Albee provided vaudeville's greatest economic innovation and the principal source of its industrial strength, they enabled a chain of allied vaudeville houses that remedied the chaos of the single-theatre booking system by contracting acts for regional and national tours. These could be lengthened from a few weeks to two years. Albee gave national prominence to vaudeville's trumpeting "polite" entertainment, a commitment to entertainment inoffensive to men and children. Acts that violated this ethos were admonished and threatened with expulsion from the week's remaining performances or were canceled altogether. In spite of such threats, performers flouted this censorship to the delight of the audience members whose sensibilities were supposedly
Animal Crackers (1930 film)
Animal Crackers is a 1930 Pre-Code Marx Brothers comedy film, in which mayhem and zaniness ensue when a valuable painting goes missing during a party in honor of famed African explorer Captain Jeffrey T. Spaulding. A critical and commercial success on its initial release, filming took place at Paramount's Astoria Studios in Astoria, Queens; the film stars the Four Marx Brothers, Chico and Zeppo, with Lillian Roth and Margaret Dumont. It was directed by Victor Heerman and adapted from a successful 1928 Broadway musical of the same title by George S. Kaufman and Morrie Ryskind starring the Marx Brothers and Margaret Dumont; the part of Hives the butler was played by Robert Greig who appeared with the Marx Brothers in Horse Feathers. A newspaper headline explains that society matron Mrs. Rittenhouse is holding a lavish party at her home in Long Island; the party will host renowned explorer Captain Geoffrey T. Spaulding as the guest of honor returned from Africa; as a special treat for the guests and Capt. Spaulding, revered art collector Roscoe W. Chandler will unveil his acquired painting by famous fictional artist Beaugard.
Hives instructs the servant crew on preparations for the party. Chandler proceeds to set it up to be displayed. Capt. Spaulding's assistant Horatio Jameson announces the Captain's arrival. Capt. Spaulding announces that he can not stay and must leave immediately. Mrs. Rittenhouse begs him to stay and the guests declare their admiration for the Captain and he decides to stay. Soon after, Signor Emanuel Ravelli arrives with his colleague the Professor, hired to provide music for the weekend event. After an elaborate introduction, The Professor scares the guests away with a pistol he grabs from Capt. Spaulding's supplies; the Professor soon takes off chasing after an attractive blonde party-goer. Mrs. Rittenhouse's daughter Arabella is attending the party with her fiancé John Parker, a struggling painter. John feels discouraged because he hasn't been able to make a living with his art in order to support himself and Arabella. Arabella suggests John do a portrait for Chandler, suggesting he would receive an impressive commission.
John laughs at the idea. After examining the Beaugard, Arabella devises a scheme to win Chandler's interest in John's work: They'll replace the Beaugard with an perfect copy of it John painted in art school, since they can find no obvious differences. After the painting is unveiled at the party, they will surprise everyone and convince Chandler to hire John. Arabella asks Ravelli to switch the paintings. Meanwhile, another guest, neighbor Mrs. Whitehead thinks up the same idea with her friend Grace Carpenter as a means of humiliating Mrs. Rittenhouse, they grab Grace's poorly made copy that she painted and ask Hives to put it in place of the Beaugard, unaware that they are taking out John's copy. Ravelli scolds him. Soon Mrs. Rittenhouse and Mrs. Whitehead arrive and the four proceed to play an absurd variation on Bridge. Ravelli and the Professor run into Chandler and recognize him as Abie the fish peddler from Czechoslovakia. Chandler tries to bribe the two in order to keep them quiet, but they end up taking his money and garters as well as, Chandler's birthmark, transferred to the Professor's arm.
After a series of strange interludes while speaking with Mrs. Rittenhouse and Mrs. Whitehead, Capt. Spaulding has a debate with Chandler outside on the balcony after his encounter with Ravelli and the Professor; that night in the middle of a thunderstorm and the Professor attempt to replace the Beaugard with the power going on and off, making the job more difficult. In the middle of the job Capt. Spaulding and Mrs. Rittenhouse wander in, making the job more difficult, they succeed in replacing the painting. During the party, Mrs. Rittenhouse invites Capt. Spaulding to speak about his travels in Africa, he proceeds to tell a ridiculous and absurd account of his travels before Mrs. Rittenhouse cuts him off. Signor Ravelli is invited to play some selection on the piano. After several quips and interruptions Chandler invites the guests into the parlor so he can unveil the Beaugard. Once revealed, Chandler notices the poor quality and realizes someone has stolen his painting and replaced it with a cheap imitation.
John feels discouraged. The power goes out, when restored, the imitation Beaugard is missing as well; the guests, now in an uproar and attempt to find the stolen painting, led by Capt. Spaulding. John and Arabella discuss their love for each other; the next day, a police squad arrives to secure the search for the missing painting. Realizing that they may have gone too far, Mrs. Whitehead and Grace ask Hives for the Beaugard he took back, but he can't find it anywhere. Mrs. Whitehead deduces. After confronting him she gets Grace's copy back. John finds Grace's copy of the Beaugard and reveals to Arabella that someone else must have had the same idea as them. Realizing that Chandler never saw John's copy, they become more hopeful. Soon after John realizes the copy he found. Capt. Spaulding, Jameson
Songwriters Hall of Fame
The Songwriters Hall of Fame was founded in 1969 by songwriter Johnny Mercer and music publisher/songwriter Abe Olman and publisher/executive Howie Richmond to honor those whose work represents and maintains the heritage and legacy of a spectrum of the most beloved songs from the world's popular music songbook. It not only celebrates these established songwriters, but is involved on the development of new songwriting talent through workshops and scholarships. There are many programs designed to discover new songwriters. Nile Rodgers serves as the organization's chairman; the Hall of Fame only existed as an online virtual collection until 2010, when it was first put on display as a physical gallery inside The Grammy Museum in Los Angeles. With an under-construction basement installation at the Brill Building in New York, the Hall does not have a permanent place and the awards are not televised. Through 2019, 461 individuals had been inducted into the SHOF. There are numerous examples of collaborating songwriters being inducted in unison, with each person being considered a separate entrant.
The inaugural year featured 120 inductees, many of whom had a professional partnership, such as Rodgers and Hammerstein. Burt Bacharach and Hal David followed in 1972. Betty Comden and Adolph Green were selected in 1980, Lieber and Stoller were inducted in 1985. John Lennon and Paul McCartney were inducted in 1989 along with Gerry Goffin and Carole King as well as Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil. Motown's Holland-Dozier-Holland team were honored the following year. Elton John and Bernie Taupin were among those chosen in 1992, the pop music group the Bee Gees had all three brothers inducted in 1994. 1995 saw Gamble and Huff. The Eagles' Glenn Frey and Don Henley were co-inductees in 2000. Queen was the first rock band to have all their band members inducted in 2003. Five members of Earth Wind & Fire were in the class of 2010, four members of Kool and the Gang were honored in 2018; the Abe Olman Publisher Award is given to publishers who have had a substantial number of songs that have become world-renowned and who have helped to further the careers and success of many songwriters.
1983 – Howard S. Richmond 1986 – Leonard Feist 1987 – Lou Levy 1988 – Buddy Killen 1990 – Charles Koppelman & Martin Bandier 1991 – Frank Military & Jay Morgenstern 1992 – Bonnie Bourne 1993 – Berry Gordy 1994 – Buddy Morris 1995 – Al Gallico 1996 – Freddy Bienstock 1997 – Gene Goodman 1998 – Irwin Z. Robinson 1999 – Bill Lowery 2000 – Julian Aberbach 2001 – Ralph Peer 2002 – Edward P. Murphy 2003 – Nicholas Firth 2004 – Les Bider 2005 – Beebe Bourne 2006 – Allen Klein 2007 – Don Kirshner 2008 – Milt Okun 2009 – Maxyne Lang 2010 – Keith Mardak 2012 – lance Freed The Board of Directors Award is presented to an individual selected by the SHOF Board in recognition of his or her service to the songwriting community and the advancement of popular music. 1986 – Jule Styne 1988 – Stanley Adams 1992 – Edward P. Murphy 1996 – Anna Sosenko & Oscar Brand 1997 – Thomas A. Dorsey The Contemporary Icon Award was established in 2015 to recognize songwriter-artists who attained an iconic status in pop culture.
The American singer Lady Gaga was the first artist to win the award. 2015 – Lady Gaga The Hal David Starlight Award, created in 2004, was renamed in honor of the SHOF Chairman for his longtime support of young songwriters. Award recipients are gifted songwriters who are at an apex in their careers and are making a significant impact in the music industry via their original songs. 2004 – Rob Thomas 2005 – Alicia Keys 2006 – John Mayer 2007 – John Legend 2008 – John Rzeznik 2009 – Jason Mraz 2010 – Taylor Swift 2011 – Drake 2012 – Ne-Yo 2013 – Benny Blanco 2014 – Dan Reynolds 2015 – Nate Ruess 2016 – Nick Jonas 2017 - Ed Sheeran 2018 - Sara Bareilles 2019 - Halsey The Howie Richmond Hitmaker Award is tailored for artists or "star makers" in the music industry who have been responsible for a substantial number of hit songs for an extended period of time, who recognize the importance of songs and their writers. 1981 – Chuck Berry 1983 – Rosemary Clooney & Margaret Whiting 1990 – Whitney Houston 1991 – Barry Manilow 1995 – Michael Bolton 1996 – Gloria Estefan 1998 – Diana Ross 1999 – Natalie Cole 2000 – Johnny Mathis 2001 – Dionne Warwick 2002 – Garth Brooks 2003 – Clive Davis 2008 – Anne Murray 2009 – Tom Jones 2010 – Phil Ramone 2011 – Chaka Khan 2014 – Doug Morris 2016 – Seymour Stein 2018 - Lucian Grainge The Johnny Mercer Award is the highest honor bestowed by the event.
It goes to writers inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame for having established a history of outstanding creative works. 1980 – Frank Sinatra 1981 – Yip Harburg 1982 – Harold Arlen 1983 – Sammy Cahn 1985 – Alan Jay Lerner 1986 – Mitchell Parish 1987 – Jerry Herman 1990 – Jerry Bock & Sheldon Harnick 1991 – Betty Comden & Adolph Green 1992 – Burton Lane 1993 – Jule Styne 1994 – Irving Caesar 1995 – Cy Coleman 1996 – Burt Bacharach & Hal David 1997 – Alan Bergman & Marilyn Bergman 1998 – Paul Simon 1999 – Stephen Sondheim 2000 – Jerry Leiber & Mike Stoller 2001 – Billy Joel 2002 – Michael Jackson 2003 – Jimmy Webb 2004 – Stevie Wonder 2005 – Smokey Robinson 2006 – Kris Kristofferson 2007 – Dolly Parton 2008 – Paul Anka 2009 – Holland–Dozier–Holland 2010 – Phil Collins 2011 – Barry Mann & Cynthia Weil 2013 – Elton John & Bernie Taupin 2014 – Kenneth Gamble & Leon Huff 2015 – Van Morrison 2016 – Lionel Richie 2018 – Neil Diamond 2019 – Carole Bayer Sager The Patron of the Arts is presented to influential industry executives who are not in the music business but are great supporters of the performing arts.
1988 – Martin Segal 1989 – Roger Enrico 1990 – Edgar Bronfman Jr. 1991 – Edwin M. Cooperman 1992 – Jon
Eva Puck was an American entertainer, a vaudeville headliner who found success performing in Broadway musical comedies and film. She was born in the middle of three children raised by Abraham and Lena Puck. There is some question about the family surname being Puck or Salmon, both were used in early press articles. Little is known of her mother who came to America from Poland in 1874 or her English father who immigrated in 1882, they married in 1887 and by 1899 had Eva and her older brother Harry performing in a vaudeville song and dance act known as the Two Little Pucks. On May 10, 1903, police raided the Trocadero Music Hall in Manhattan’s Fort George district where the Puck children were performing as headliners and arrested their parents and the theater manager, Freeman Bernstein, they were charged with a violation of Section 289 of the Penal Code in unlawfully consenting to the employment, in the employment, of minors in a theatrical exhibition. The investigators were concerned over the hours that Eva and her brother were keeping and found the Trocadero an unsuitable environment for children with patrons smoking and consuming alcohol.
The three were brought to trial in the Court of Special Sessions, found guilty. The judge, in passing sentence said, in part: "We cannot resist the conviction that these parents have been living upon the earnings of these children, which amount from $125 to $150 per month. Now, this sort of business cannot be continued or permitted, if these defendants come before this Court again the punishment will be more drastic.” Her father was fined thirty days jail time. Bernstein was fined $50. For the next few years, the Two Little Pucks continued to perform at venues outside New York and as they entered their teens, toured as Eva and Harry Puck before disbanding sometime around 1918. Harry went on to be a successful choreographer, composer and music publisher, he was a business partner of lyricist Bert Kalmar and wrote songs with him until Kalmar started his more famous songwriting partnership with composer Harry Ruby. Eva remained in vaudeville, soon teaming up with her future husband and dance comedian Sammy White.
Their younger brother, Laurence "Larry" Puck, became a radio and television producer and general manager of Unicorn Productions Inc. a subsidiary of CBS. He married Mable Withee, a singer and dancer active on Broadway over the 1920s. Eva Puck became a member of the vaudeville comedy act Clayton and White that, after Lew Clayton’s departure around 1920, became known as Puck and White. One of their popular vaudeville sketches portrayed White as a scholarly music teacher and Eva as his inept student; the couple married in 1922. and together appeared in Broadway shows such as the Greenwich Village Follies and Hart musical The Girl Friend, Jerome Kern's Show Boat. Puck appeared as Helen Cheston in the original Broadway run of the musical Irene from November 1919 to June 1921; the two played in the original 1927 Broadway stage version of Show Boat. In the musical, White played the role of comic dancer Frank Schultz, Puck played the role of Ellie May Chipley, who marries Frank. In 1932, the two reprised their roles in the first Broadway revival of the show.
However, by the time Universal Pictures released the 1936 film version, the two had divorced, so the role of Ellie went to Queenie Smith, with White repeating his performance as Frank in the film. Puck and White appeared in a short film made by Lee De Forest in his Phonofilm sound-on-film process, which premiered at the Rivoli Theater in New York City on 15 April 1923; the film shows Puck and White performing their comic routine entitled "Opera vs. Jazz", is preserved in the Maurice Zouary film collection at the Library of Congress. In the mid-1930s, Eva Puck married Robert Groves, a California merchant, retired from the stage. Eva Puck died in 1979, aged 86, at the Granada Hills Community Hospital in Los Angeles, she had a daughter, Lauretta Puck, born in New York in 1912. Nothing is known about her father except, she appeared in the short Leon Errol film Should Wives Work? and had toured with the Arthur Ashley Players. Lauretta married William R. Golden, a Hollywood executive, became a nationally known exhibitor and breeder of Irish Setters.
A resident of Pacific Palisades, she died after an extended illness on July 17, 1972. Eva Puck on IMDb Eva Puck at the Internet Broadway Database Eva Puck and Sammy White at SilentEra with photo of Puck and White performing their sketch "Opera vs. Jazz" Book with information on Eva Puck
Hubert Prior "Rudy" Vallée was an American singer, actor and radio host. He was one of the first modern pop stars of the teen idol type; the son of Charles Alphonse Vallée and Catherine Lynch, Rudy Vallée was born Hubert Prior Vallée in Island Pond, Vermont. His parents were born and raised in Vermont; the Vallées were Francophone Canadians from Quebec. Vallée grew up in Maine. In 1917, he enlisted for World War I but was discharged when United States Navy authorities discovered he was only 15 years old, he enlisted in Portland, Maine, on March 29, 1917, under the false birthdate of July 28, 1899. He was discharged at the Naval Training Station, Rhode Island, on May 17, 1917, with 41 days of active service. After playing drums in his high school band, Vallée played clarinet and saxophone in bands around New England as a teenager. From 1924 through 1925, he played with the Savoy Havana Band at the Savoy Hotel in London, where band members discouraged his attempts to become a vocalist, he returned to the United States attending the University of Maine.
He received a degree in philosophy from Yale University, where he played in the Yale Collegians with Peter Arno, who became a cartoonist for The New Yorker magazine. After graduation, he formed Rudy Vallée and the Connecticut Yankees, having named himself after saxophonist Rudy Wiedoeft. With this band, which included two violins, two saxophones, a piano, a banjo, drums, he started singing, he seemed more at home singing sweet ballads than jazz songs. But his singing, suave manner, boyish good looks attracted attention from young women. Vallée was given a recording contract, in 1928 he started performing on the radio, he became one of the first crooners. Singers needed strong voices to fill theaters in the days before microphones. Crooners had soft voices. Vallée's trombone-like vocal phrasing on "Deep Night" would inspire Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, Perry Como to model their voices on jazz instruments. Vallée was one of the first celebrity pop stars. Flappers pursued him, his live appearances were sold out.
Among screaming female fans, his voice failed to project in venues without microphones and amplification, so he sang through a megaphone. A caricature of him singing this way was depicted in the Betty Boop cartoon Poor Cinderella. Another caricature is in Crosby and Vallee, which parodies him, Bing Crosby, Russ Columbo. In the words of a magazine writer in 1929, At the microphone he is a romantic figure. Faultlessly attired in evening dress, he pours into the radio's delicate ear a stream of mellifluous melody, he appears to be coaxing, pleading and at the same time adoring the invisible one to whom his song is attuned. Vallée had his share of detractors as well as fans. Radio Revue, a radio fan magazine, held a contest in which people wrote letters explaining his success; the winning letter, written by a man who disliked Vallee's music, said, "Rudy Vallee is reaping the harvest of a seed, sown this day and age: LOVE. The good-looking little son-of-a-gun and LOVES his audience and his art, he LOVES to please listeners—LOVES it more than he does his name in the big lights, his mug in the papers.
He loved all those unseen women as passionately as a voice can love, long before they began to purr and to caress him with two-cent stamps."Vallée made his first records in 1928 for Columbia's low-priced labels Harmony, Velvet Tone, Diva. He signed to RCA Victor in February 1929 and remained with the company through 1931, leaving after a heated dispute with executives over title selections, he recorded for the short-lived Hit of the Week label which sold records laminated onto cardboard. In August 1932, he signed with Columbia and stayed with the label through 1933, his records were issued on Victor's low-priced Bluebird label until November 1933, when he was back on the Victor label. He remained with Victor until signing with ARC in 1936. ARC issued his records on the Perfect, Melotone and Romeo labels until 1937, when he again returned to Victor. With his group the Connecticut Yankees, Vallée's best-known recordings include "The Stein Song" in 1929 and "Vieni, Vieni" in the latter 1930s, his last hit record was a reissue of "As Time Goes By", popularized in the 1942 film Casablanca.
Due to the mid-1940s recording ban, RCA Victor reissued the version he had recorded in 1931. During World War II, he enlisted in the United States Coast Guard to help direct the 11th district Coast Guard band as a Chief Petty Officer, he was led the 40 piece band to great success. In 1944 he was returned to radio. According to George P. Oslin, Vallée on July 28, 1933 was the recipient of the first singing telegram. A fan telegraphed birthday greeting, Oslin had the operator sing "Happy Birthday to You". In 1995, a Golden Palm Star on the Palm Springs, Walk of Stars was dedicated to him. In 1929, Vallée began hosting The Fleischmann's Yeast Hour, a popular radio show with guests such as Fay Wray and Richard Cromwell in dramatic skits. Vallée continued hosting radio shows such as the Royal Gelatin Hour, Vallee Varieties, The Rudy Vallee Show through the 1930s and 1940s; when Vallée took his contractual vacations from his national radio show in 1937, he insisted his sponsor hire Louis Armstrong as his substitute This was the first instance of an African-American hosting a national radio program.
George Jessel (actor)
George Albert "Georgie" Jessel was an American illustrated song "model", singer and film producer. He was famous in his lifetime as a multitalented comedic entertainer, achieving a level of recognition that transcended his limited roles in movies, he was known by his nickname, the "Toastmaster General of the United States," for his frequent role as the master of ceremonies at political and entertainment gatherings. Jessel originated the title role in the stage production of The Jazz Singer. Jessel was born to a Jewish couple and Charlotte Jessel, on 118th Street in Harlem. By age 10, he was appearing in vaudeville and on Broadway to support his family after the death of his father, a playwright, his mother, who worked as a ticket seller at the Imperial Theater, helped him form The Imperial Trio, a harmony group of ushers to entertain patrons of the theater, with Walter Winchell and Jack Wiener, using the stage names Leonard, Lawrence and McKinley, in their early teens. At age 11, he was a partner of Eddie Cantor in a kid sketch and performed with him on stage until he outgrew the role at age 16.
He partnered with Lou Edwards and became a solo performer. His most famous comedy skit was called "Hello Mama" or "Phone Call from Mama," which portrayed a one-sided telephone conversation. In 1919 he produced his own solo show, "George Jessel's Troubles" and appeared in his first motion picture, the silent movie The Other Man's Wife, he co-wrote the lyrics for a hit tune, "Oh How I Laugh When I Think How I Cried About You," and performed in several successful comedy stage shows in the early 1920s. In 1921 he recorded a hit single, "The Toastmaster." He sometimes appeared in blackface in his vaudeville shows. In 1924, he appeared in a brief comedy sketch the telephone sketch described above, in a short film made in the DeForest Phonofilm sound-on-film process. 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 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, 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. Jolson, the biographical inspiration for the movie, became the movie's main financial backer, his next movie role was in 1926 in Private Izzy Murphy. Whereas Jolson's film career skyrocketed after the 1927 release of The Jazz Singer, Jessel remained in smaller movie roles intended for audiences fond of Jewish and other "ethnic" humor. In the middle 1940s, he began producing musicals for 20th Century Fox, producing 24 films in all in a career that lasted through the 1950s and 1960s. At the same time he became known as a host on the banquet circuit, famous for his good-natured wit aimed at his fellow celebrities. In 1946, he was one of the founding members of the California branch of the Friars Club, he traveled overseas with the USO entertaining troops.
As he grew older, he wrote eulogies for many of his contemporaries in Hollywood. He wrote three volumes of memoirs, So Help Me, This Way and The World I Lived In. Jessel produced a number of Hollywood films, including The Dolly Sisters, Nightmare Alley, Golden Girl and The I Don't Care Girl. In the early 1950s, he performed on the radio in The George Jessel Show, which became a television series of the same name from 1953 to 1954. Jessel was the emcee on the short-lived The Comeback Story, a 1954 reality show on ABC in which celebrities shared stories of having overcome adversities in their personal lives, he was replaced as emcee by Arlene Francis. Thereafter, Jessel guest starred on NBC's The Jimmy Durante Show. In 1968, he starred in Here Come a syndicated variety show. However, his attempt to extend his career was undermined by a perception that his style of comedy was outdated, as well as by his outspoken support of the American entry into the Vietnam War and of conservative political causes.
He crossed the era's stereotypical political lines with his support for the Civil Rights movement and criticism of racism and anti-Semitism. His outspokenness regarding his political opinions sometimes caused a scandal. In 1971, while being interviewed by Edwin Newman on The Today Show on NBC, he referred to The New York Times as Pravda, the house organ of the Communist Party in the Soviet Union, was ejected from the show, his film roles included a cameo as himself in Valley of the Dolls, The Busy Body opposite Sid Caesar, the controversial musical Can Heironymus Merkin Ever Forget Mercy Humppe and Find True Happiness? Directed by and starring Anthony Newley, he played cameos in other all-star films such as The Phynx and Won Ton Ton, the Dog Who Saved Hollywood. Jessel was included as one of the "witnesses" interviewed in the 1981 film Reds by Warren Beatty. To gain perspective on the lives of Jack Reed and Louise Bryant, the two protagonists of the movie, Beatty began filming the "witnesses" as early as 1971.
Jessel famously confused the name of Emma Goldman, referring to her first as "Emma Goldberg" and "Emma Goldfarb" before correcting himself. In the
Guy Reginald Bolton was an Anglo-American playwright and writer of musical comedies. Born in England and educated in France and the US, he turned to writing. Bolton preferred working in collaboration with others, principally the English writers P. G. Wodehouse and Fred Thompson, with whom he wrote 21 and 14 shows and the American playwright George Middleton, with whom he wrote ten shows. Among his other collaborators in Britain were George Grossmith Jr. Ian Hay and Weston and Lee. In the US, he worked with George and Ira Gershwin and Ruby and Oscar Hammerstein II. Bolton is best known for his early work on the Princess Theatre musicals during the First World War with Wodehouse and the composer Jerome Kern; these shows moved the American musical away from the traditions of European operetta to small scale, intimate productions with what the Oxford Encyclopedia of Popular Music calls, "smart and witty integrated books and lyrics, considered to be a watershed in the evolution of the American musical."
Among his 50 plays and musicals, most of which were considered "frothy confections", additional hits included Primrose, the Gershwins' Lady, Be Good and Cole Porter's Anything Goes. Bolton wrote stage adaptations of novels by Henry James and Somerset Maugham, wrote three novels on his own and a fourth in collaboration with Bernard Newman, he worked on screenplays for such films as Ambassador Bill and Easter Parade, published four novels, Flowers for the Living, The Olympians, The Enchantress and Gracious Living. With Wodehouse, he wrote a joint memoir of their Broadway years, entitled Bring on the Girls!. Bolton was born in Broxbourne, the elder son of an American engineer, Reginald Pelham Bolton, his wife Kate, his younger brother, died young, leaving Guy and his older sister Ivy. The family moved to the US. Bolton studied to be an architect, attending the Pratt Institute School of Architecture and Atelier Masqueray, New York, he studied at the École des Beaux-Arts, Paris. Bolton made early progress in his profession, engaged by the government for special work on the rebuilding of the United States Military Academy at West Point, helping to design the Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument and the Ansonia Hotel on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, New York City, but was drawn to writing.
While Bolton was still a student, his stories had been published in magazines. At the age of 26, he wrote The Drone, in collaboration with Douglas J. Wood, his second play, The Rule of Three, was written without a partner, but the following year he embarked on his first musical theatre collaboration, Ninety in the Shade, with music by Jerome Kern, lyrics by Harry B. Smith and book by Bolton, first produced at the Knickerbocker Theatre, New York, on 25 January 1915; the same year, he wrote Hit-the-Trail-Holiday with George M. Cohan; that same year he collaborated with Kern and others on the musicals Nobody Home and the more successful Very Good Eddie, the first two "Princess Theatre musicals". The latter of the two was a hit in London. Bolton became known for his part in moving the American musical away from the European operetta tradition: "No more crown princes masquerading as butlers, no more milkmaids who turn out at the final curtain to be heir to several thrones." He collaborated with one of operetta's last practitioners, Emmerich Kálmán, in an adaptation of Kálmán's 1915 piece Zsuzsi Kisassony.
Miss Springtime, as the American version was called, was produced at the New Amsterdam Theatre in 1916. Bolton wrote the book. Kern, who knew Wodehouse, introduced him to Bolton at the premiere of Very Good Eddie. Wodehouse admired Bolton's stagecraft, but thought his lyrics weak, at Kern's urging they decided to write jointly, Wodehouse concentrating on the lyrics and Bolton on the book. For the Princess Theatre and Wodehouse wrote the book and lyrics for Have a Heart, Oh, Boy!, which ran for 463 performances, Leave It to Jane, Oh, Lady! Lady!!, See You Later and Oh! My Dear, they collaborated on Miss 1917 at the Century Theatre, on Bolton's second Kálmán show, The Riviera Girl, on Kissing Time, the latter two for the New Amsterdam. During these years, Bolton wrote successful plays with George Middleton and others, but it was the Princess Theatre shows with Kern. An anonymous admirer wrote a verse in their praise that begins: This is the trio of musical fame and Wodehouse and Kern. Better than anyone else you can name Wodehouse and Kern.
In February 1918, Dorothy Parker wrote in Vanity Fair Well and Wodehouse and Kern have done it again. Every time these three gather together, the Princess Theatre is sold out for months in advance. You can get a seat for Oh, Lady! Lady!! Somewhere around the middle of August for just about the price of one on the stock exchange. If you ask me, I will look you fearlessly in the eye and tell you in low, throbbing tones that it has it over any other musical comedy in town, but Bolton and Wodehouse and Kern are my favorite indoor sport. I like the way they go about a musical comedy.... I like the way the action slides casually into the songs.... I like the deft rhyming of the song that i