Oswald the Lucky Rabbit
Oswald the Lucky Rabbit is an anthropomorphic rabbit and animated cartoon character created by Walt Disney for cartoon animal films and distributed by Universal Studios in the 1920s and 1930s, serving as the Disney studio's first animated character to feature in their own series. A total of 27 animated Oswald one-reelers were produced at Walt Disney Animation Studios. In 1928, Charles Mintz took the rights of Oswald from Walt Disney and claimed Oswald as an official Universal Studios character. In November 1928, as a replacement to compete with Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, Walt Disney and Ub Iwerks created Mickey Mouse for the Walt Disney Studio. In 2003, Buena Vista Games pitched a concept for an Oswald-themed video game to Disney President and COO Bob Iger, who became committed to bringing Oswald back to Disney. In 2006, nearly 80 years after the Disney studio broke away from Universal, The Walt Disney Company managed to acquire the intellectual property of Oswald and the catalog of Disney-produced Oswald films.
Oswald returned to prominence in Epic Mickey. The game's metafiction plot parallels Oswald's real-world history, dealing with the character's feelings of abandonment by Disney, envy towards Mickey Mouse, he has since appeared in Disney theme parks and comic books, as well as two follow-up games, Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two and Epic Mickey: Power of Illusion. Oswald made his first appearance in a Disney animated production in 85 years through his cameo appearance in the 2013 animated short Get a Horse!. He was the subject of the 2015 feature film Walt Before Mickey. Oswald appears as a townsperson in Disney Infinity 2.0. During his days under Disney, Oswald was one of the first cartoon characters; as outlined by Walt himself: "Hereafter we will aim to Oswald a younger character, alert and venturesome, keeping him neat and trim." With Oswald, Disney began to explore the concept of "personality animation", in which cartoon characters were defined as individuals through their movements and acting, instead of through their design.
Around this period, Disney had expressed, "I want the characters to be somebody. I don't want them just to be a drawing." Not only were gags used, but his humor differed in terms of what he used to make people laugh. He presented physical humor, used situations to his advantage, presented situational humor in general and frustration comedy best shown in the cartoon The Mechanical Cow, he would make use of animal limbs to solve problems and use his own limbs as props and gags. He could turn anything into tools, his distinct personality was inspired by Douglas Fairbanks for his courageous and adventurous attitude as seen in the cartoon short Oh, What a Knight. In regards to Oswald's personality, Disney historian David Gerstein highlights the distinct differences between Mickey and Oswald as thus: In order to make his Oswald cartoons look "real", Disney turned away from the styles of Felix the Cat, Koko the Clown and Krazy Kat and began emulating the camera angles and editing of live-action films.
To learn how to base gags on personality and how to build comic routines, rather than heaping one gag after another, he studied Laurel and Hardy, Harold Lloyd, Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton. In order to stir emotion in an audience, Disney studied and scrutinized the shadow effects, cross-cutting and staging of action in films featuring Douglas Fairbanks and Lon Chaney. Walt Disney did not want for Oswald to be "a rabbit character animated and shown in the same light as the known cat characters", as well as just a peg for gags. Instead, his stated intention was "to make Oswald peculiarly and OSWALD." In 1927, because of cost and technical restrictions and his chief animator Ub Iwerks decided to end their work on the Alice Comedies series in search of new creative opportunities. Coincidentally, Universal Studios wanted to get into the cartoon business and needed a cartoon character of its own. So Disney's distributor Charles Mintz told Disney and Iwerks to create a new character they could sell to Universal.
Wanting to make cartoons with an all-animated look, Disney signed a contract with Universal Studios leading to the creation of Oswald the Lucky Rabbit and Universal's first cartoon series. Work on both the character and series began. Disney chose to make the character a rabbit since there were two popular animated cats at the time, Felix the Cat and Krazy Kat. Universal was given the right to name the rabbit and it selected a name out of a hat; the first Oswald cartoon, Poor Papa, was rejected by the Universal studio heads for its poor production quality and the sloppiness and age of Oswald. Disney, together with Iwerks, decided to create a second cartoon titled Trolley Troubles featuring a much younger, neater Oswald; the short, released on September 5, 1927 launched the series and proved to be Disney's greatest success to date. The storyline for Poor Papa was reused in a Mickey Mouse short six years in Mickey's Nightmare, 1932. Oswald the Lucky Rabbit became Disney's first major hit in 1927, rivaling other popular cartoon characters, such as Felix the Cat and Koko the Clown.
The success of the Oswald series allowed the Walt Disney Studio to grow to a staff of nearly twenty. Walt's weekly salary from the series was $100 while Roy Disney's was $65; the Disney brothers earned $500 per Oswald short and split the year-end profits, with Walt receiving 60%
The domestic dog is a member of the genus Canis, which forms part of the wolf-like canids, is the most abundant terrestrial carnivore. The dog and the extant gray wolf are sister taxa as modern wolves are not related to the wolves that were first domesticated, which implies that the direct ancestor of the dog is extinct; the dog was the first species to be domesticated and has been selectively bred over millennia for various behaviors, sensory capabilities, physical attributes. Their long association with humans has led dogs to be uniquely attuned to human behavior and they are able to thrive on a starch-rich diet that would be inadequate for other canid species. Dogs vary in shape and colors, they perform many roles for humans, such as hunting, pulling loads, assisting police and military, companionship and, more aiding disabled people and therapeutic roles. This influence on human society has given them the sobriquet of "man's best friend"; the term dog is applied both to the species as a whole, any adult male member of the same.
An adult female is a bitch. An adult male capable of reproduction is a stud. An adult female capable of reproduction is brood mother. Immature males or females are puppies. A group of pups from the same gestation period is called a litter; the father of a litter is a sire. It is possible for one litter to have multiple sires; the mother of a litter is a dam. A group of any three or more adults is a pack. In 1999, a study of mitochondrial DNA indicated that the domestic dog may have originated from multiple grey wolf populations, with the dingo and New Guinea singing dog "breeds" having developed at a time when human populations were more isolated from each other. In the third edition of Mammal Species of the World published in 2005, the mammalogist W. Christopher Wozencraft listed under the wolf Canis lupus its wild subspecies, proposed two additional subspecies: "familiaris Linneaus, 1758 " and "dingo Meyer, 1793 ". Wozencraft included hallstromi – the New Guinea singing dog – as a taxonomic synonym for the dingo.
Wozencraft referred to the mDNA study as one of the guides in forming his decision. The inclusion of familiaris and dingo under a "domestic dog" clade has been noted by other mammalogists; this classification by Wozencraft is debated among zoologists. The origin of the domestic dog includes the dog's evolutionary divergence from the wolf, its domestication, its development into dog types and dog breeds; the dog is a member of the genus Canis, which forms part of the wolf-like canids, was the first species and the only large carnivore to have been domesticated. The dog and the extant gray wolf are sister taxa, as modern wolves are not related to the population of wolves, first domesticated; the genetic divergence between dogs and wolves occurred between 40,000–20,000 years ago, just before or during the Last Glacial Maximum. This timespan represents the upper time-limit for the commencement of domestication because it is the time of divergence and not the time of domestication, which occurred later.
The domestication of animals commenced over 15,000 years ago, beginning with the grey wolf by nomadic hunter-gatherers. The archaeological record and genetic analysis show the remains of the Bonn–Oberkassel dog buried beside humans 14,200 years ago to be the first undisputed dog, with disputed remains occurring 36,000 years ago, it was not until 11,000 years ago that people living in the Near East entered into relationships with wild populations of aurochs, boar and goats. Where the domestication of the dog took place remains debated, with the most plausible proposals spanning Western Europe, Central Asia and East Asia; this has been made more complicated by the recent proposal that an initial wolf population split into East and West Eurasian groups. These two groups, before going extinct, were domesticated independently into two distinct dog populations between 14,000 and 6,400 years ago; the Western Eurasian dog population was and replaced by East Asian dogs introduced by humans at least 6,400 years ago.
This proposal is debated. Domestic dogs have been selectively bred for millennia for various behaviors, sensory capabilities, physical attributes. Modern dog breeds show more variation in size and behavior than any other domestic animal. Dogs are predators and scavengers, like many other predatory mammals, the dog has powerful muscles, fused wrist bones, a cardiovascular system that supports both sprinting and endurance, teeth for catching and tearing. Dogs are variable in height and weight; the smallest known adult dog was a Yorkshire Terrier, that stood only 6.3 cm at the shoulder, 9.5 cm in length along the head-and-body, weighed only 113 grams. The largest known dog was an English Mastiff which weighed 155.6 kg and was 250 cm from the snout to the tail. The tallest dog is a Great Dane; the dog's senses include vision, sense of smell, sense of taste and sensitivity to the earth's magnetic field. Another study suggested; the coats of domestic dogs are of two varieties: "double" being common with dogs originating from colder climates, made up of a coarse guard hair and a soft down hair, or "single", with the topcoat only.
Breeds may have stripe, or "star" of white fur on their chest or underside. Regarding coat appearance or h
A film called a movie, motion picture, moving picture, or photoplay, is a series of still images that, when shown on a screen, create the illusion of moving images. This optical illusion causes the audience to perceive continuous motion between separate objects viewed in rapid succession; the process of filmmaking is both an industry. A film is created by photographing actual scenes with a motion-picture camera, by photographing drawings or miniature models using traditional animation techniques, by means of CGI and computer animation, or by a combination of some or all of these techniques, other visual effects; the word "cinema", short for cinematography, is used to refer to filmmaking and the film industry, to the art of filmmaking itself. The contemporary definition of cinema is the art of simulating experiences to communicate ideas, perceptions, beauty or atmosphere by the means of recorded or programmed moving images along with other sensory stimulations. Films were recorded onto plastic film through a photochemical process and shown through a movie projector onto a large screen.
Contemporary films are now fully digital through the entire process of production and exhibition, while films recorded in a photochemical form traditionally included an analogous optical soundtrack. Films are cultural artifacts created by specific cultures, they reflect those cultures. Film is considered to be an important art form, a source of popular entertainment, a powerful medium for educating—or indoctrinating—citizens; the visual basis of film gives it a universal power of communication. Some films have become popular worldwide attractions through the use of dubbing or subtitles to translate the dialog into other languages; the individual images that make up a film are called frames. In the projection of traditional celluloid films, a rotating shutter causes intervals of darkness as each frame, in turn, is moved into position to be projected, but the viewer does not notice the interruptions because of an effect known as persistence of vision, whereby the eye retains a visual image for a fraction of a second after its source disappears.
The perception of motion is due to a psychological effect called the phi phenomenon. The name "film" originates from the fact that photographic film has been the medium for recording and displaying motion pictures. Many other terms exist for an individual motion-picture, including picture, picture show, moving picture and flick; the most common term in the United States is movie. Common terms for the field in general include the big screen, the silver screen, the movies, cinema. In early years, the word sheet was sometimes used instead of screen. Preceding film in origin by thousands of years, early plays and dances had elements common to film: scripts, costumes, direction, audiences and scores. Much terminology used in film theory and criticism apply, such as mise en scène. Owing to the lack of any technology for doing so, the moving images and sounds could not be recorded for replaying as with film; the magic lantern created by Christiaan Huygens in the 1650s, could be used to project animation, achieved by various types of mechanical slides.
Two glass slides, one with the stationary part of the picture and the other with the part, to move, would be placed one on top of the other and projected together the moving slide would be hand-operated, either directly or by means of a lever or other mechanism. Chromotrope slides, which produced eye-dazzling displays of continuously cycling abstract geometrical patterns and colors, were operated by means of a small crank and pulley wheel that rotated a glass disc. In the mid-19th century, inventions such as Joseph Plateau's phenakistoscope and the zoetrope demonstrated that a designed sequence of drawings, showing phases of the changing appearance of objects in motion, would appear to show the objects moving if they were displayed one after the other at a sufficiently rapid rate; these devices relied on the phenomenon of persistence of vision to make the display appear continuous though the observer's view was blocked as each drawing rotated into the location where its predecessor had just been glimpsed.
Each sequence was limited to a small number of drawings twelve, so it could only show endlessly repeating cyclical motions. By the late 1880s, the last major device of this type, the praxinoscope, had been elaborated into a form that employed a long coiled band containing hundreds of images painted on glass and used the elements of a magic lantern to project them onto a screen; the use of sequences of photographs in such devices was limited to a few experiments with subjects photographed in a series of poses because the available emulsions were not sensitive enough to allow the short exposures needed to photograph subjects that were moving. The sensitivity was improved and in the late 1870s, Eadweard Muybridge created the first animated image sequences photographed in real-time. A row of cameras was used, each, in turn, capturing one image on a photographic glass plate, so the total number of images in each sequence was limited by the number of cameras, about two dozen at most. Muybridge used his system to analyze the movements of a wi
Out of the Inkwell
Out of the Inkwell was a major animated series of the silent era produced by Max Fleischer from 1918 to 1929. The series was the result of three short experimental films that Max Fleischer independently produced in the period of 1914–1916 to demonstrate his invention, the Rotoscope, a device consisting of a film projector and easel used as an aid for achieving realistic movement for animated cartoons; the Rotoscope would project motion picture film through an opening in the easel, covered by a glass pane serving as a drawing surface. The image on the projected film was traced onto paper, advancing the film one frame at a time as each drawing would be made. Fleischer's younger brother Dave Fleischer, working as a clown at Coney Island, served as the model for their first famous character known as "Koko the Clown." Out of the Inkwell began at the Bray Studio as a monthly entry in The Bray Pictorgraph Screen Magazine produced for Paramount from 1918, for Goldwyn from 1920 to 1921. In that same year, The Fleischer brothers started their own studio, in 1923, the clown who had no name came to be known as KO-KO when animation veteran Dick Huemer became the new Director of Animation.
Huemer, who began his animation career with the Mutt and Jeff cartoons in 1916, brought the influence of the short and tall companions to Out of the Inkwell with the creation of a small canine companion named Fitz, who would evolve into Bimbo in the sound era. Huemer redesigned the clown for animation, which reduced the Fleischer's dependency on the Rotoscope for fluid animation, he defined the drawing style with his distinctive inking quality that the series was famous for. But it was the interaction of the live action sequences with the artist/creator, Max Fleischer and his pen and ink creations, the foundation of the series; the cartoons start out with live action showing Max drawing the characters on paper, or opening the inkwell to release the characters into "reality." The Out of the Inkwell series ran from 1918 to mid 1927, was renamed The Inkwell Imps for Paramount, continuing until 1929. In all, 62 Out of the Inkwell and 56 Inkwell Imps films were produced within 11 years; the Inkwell Imps series was replaced by the "Talkartoons" in 1929, Koko was retired until 1931, appearing as a supporting character with Bimbo and Betty Boop.
Koko's last theatrical appearance was in the Betty Boop cartoon, Ha-Ha-Ha, a remake of the silent Out of the Inkwell film, The Cure. Koko had a brief cameo in his only color theatrical appearance in the "Screen Song" entry, Toys will be Toys. In 1950, Stuart Productions released a number of the Inkwell Studios Out of the Inkwell cartoons, a selection of the Paramount Inkwell Imps cartoons to television. In 1955, the Inkwell Imps, along with 2,500 pre-October 1950 Paramount shorts and cartoons were sold to television packagers, the majority acquired by U. M. & M. TV Corporation. In 1958, Max Fleischer reactivated his studio in a partnership with Hal Seeger, in 1960 produced a series of 100 Out Of The Inkwell five-minute cartoons. In the new color series, KoKo had a clown girlfriend named a villain named Mean Moe. Larry Storch provided all of the supporting characters; the series is the result of three experimental short films Max Fleischer produced independently in the period 1914-1916 to demonstrate his invention, the rotoscope, a device made up of a movie projector and a stand used as an aid to obtain realistic movements in cartoons.
The rotoscope projected a film through an opening in the stand, covered by a glass plate acting as a design surface. The image on the projected film was drawn on paper, advancing the film one frame at a time as each drawing was made. Brother Dave Fleischer was working as a clown at Coney Island, served as a model for what would become their first famous character, Koko the Clown. Out of the Inkwell was started at Bray Productions as a monthly release at The Bray's Pictorgraph Screen Magazine produced for Paramount Pictures from 1918 to 1920 and for Goldwyn Pictures in 1921. In the same year, Fleischer brothers opened their studio, And in 1923 the clown who had no name began to be known as Ko-Ko when veteran animator Dick Huemer became the new director of animation. Huemer, who started animating with the Mutt and Jeff series in 1916, brought the influence of that series into Out of the Inkwell and created a small canine partner named Fitz. Huemer redesigned the clown for animation and brought the Fleischer away from their dependence on the rotoscope.
He defined the design style with its distinctive inking quality for which the series was famous. But it was the integration and interaction of live action sequences featuring Max Fleischer who spun the series. Cartons begin live action by showing Max who begins his day, he begins to draw characters on paper, or open the inkwell and they come out and interact with reality. An image of Ko-Ko at The Chinese Restaurant of The Inkwell Imps series, with Koko il Clown and Fitz the Dog; the Out of the Inkwell series lasted from 1918 to 1926, the following year was renamed The Inkwell Imps for Paramount and continued until 1929. Fleischer continued in the series, acting as an actor, producer and animator for his studio Out of The Inkwell Films, producing 62 episodes of Out of the Inkwell and 56 by The Inkwell Imps. Although the Inkwell Imps series was replaced by Talkartoons in 1929, Koko il Clown returned in 1931 as a supporting character with Bimbo and Betty Boop. Koko's latest cinematic appearance was in the hilarious Betty Boop Gas cartoon, a remake of The Cure of this series.
Koko had a short cameo in his only color film appearance in the ep
Bosko's Holiday is a one-reel 1931 short subject animated cartoon, part of the Bosko series. It was directed by Hugh Harman, first released on July 18, 1931 as part of the Looney Tunes series from the Leon Schlesinger animation studio and distributed by Warner Brothers; the film score was composed by Frank Marsales. The cartoon opens with the phone ringing loudly; the anthropomorphic telephone can't get its owner to wake up no matter how insistently it rings, since he is a heavy sleeper. It turns its attention to an anthropomorphic alarm clock sleeping nearby, snoring with a "tick tock" sound. So the phone wakes up the alarm clock, so it can wake Bosko up; the alarm clock has trouble waking up Bosko. He does not respond to its own ringing with bell-like sounds, nor to it hitting a brush against the bedpan; the alarm clock pokes him in the bottom with one of its pointy hands, waking him up. He wakes up screaming. Bosko goes to the phone, answers a call from Honey, she invites Bosko to a picnic, Bosko seems pleased with the idea.
She asks him to hurry up, says goodbye and hangs up the phone. Bosko gets ready for the excursion; the phone says "Scram, scram!". Bosko goes to get his car; the garage looks like a big doghouse, Bosko summons the resident. Out comes not a dog but a car with a personality of its own, he leaves. Several little cars children of the big one, follow them, he stops to tell them to go home. He remarks "Ain't that cute"? The car is driving itself. Bosko gets a banjo and sings, until a string breaks. So Bosko takes a mouse's tail to use as a replacement; the mouse seems to serve as an ornament in the car. The mouse is pretty mad at Bosko for taking his tail; as soon as Bosko arrives at Honey's house, the banjo strings come off. He tries again to pull the mouse's tail off, but the mouse pulls its tail away and sticks his tongue out at Bosko, it leaves. Bosko again responds "Ain't that cute", sticks his own tongue out. Bosko arrives at Honey's house to get her for the picnic, calls her from the house's front yard.
She comes out to her balcony and says "Hello, Bosko". Honey's dog follows the car; the car tries to drive up a steep hill and path, goes stuck. Bosko tries to push the car; the dog pulls Bosko's pants. The car goes backwards and knocks Bosko out; the dog licks Bosko, he regains consciousness and replies with "Hey!". He is about to kick the dog. Bosko gets the car moving, the dog comes back and bites a tire; this act causes the air from the tire to be sucked out, into the dog. It inflates like a balloon. Bosko sucks the air back to the tire; the unhappy dog soon comes back. When the trio walk to the picnic location, they find a log, they start conversing. Bosko whispers an ungentlemanly suggestion to Honey's ear. Bosko resorts to tempting her with food, he eats a sandwich, chewing noisily with his mouth open, says it tasted sure fine. She seems tempted; the dog licks Honey's bottom. She leaves in anger. Bosko says "Aw, nuts" and the film ends. Johnny Murray serves as the voice of Bosko. Rochelle Hudson voices Honey.
Both are uncredited. The film was directed by Rudolf Ising, they were the producers of the film, with Leon Schlesinger as an associate producer. The film was animated by Paul Smith; the musical score was a work of Frank Marsales. This is the first cartoon where the title card had Bosko's name in it, all subsequent entries in the series followed this practice; the film has a simple plot. The action is otherwise unremarkable; the short marks the Looney Tunes series in general. This is the first short where the plot does not revolve around dancing. Singing-and-dancing plots were subsequently reserved for the Merrie Melodies series; the voices of both Bosko and Honey while speaking on the phone sound childish. Rochelle Hudson was 15 years old when recording the film; the first meeting of the lovers, with Honey in the balcony and Bosko on the grounds, is reminiscent of the balcony scene from Romeo and Juliet. Bosko's Holiday on YouTube Bosko's Holiday on the Internet Movie Database
An animator is an artist who creates multiple images, known as frames, which give an illusion of movement called animation when displayed in rapid sequence. Animators can work in a variety of fields including film and video games. Animation is related to filmmaking and like filmmaking is labor-intensive, which means that most significant works require the collaboration of several animators; the methods of creating the images or frames for an animation piece depend on the animators' artistic styles and their field. Other artists who contribute to animated cartoons, but who are not animators, include layout artists, storyboard artists, background artists. Animated films share some film crew positions with regular live action films, such as director, sound engineer, editor, but differ radically in that for most of the history of animation, they did not need most of the crew positions seen on a physical set. In hand-drawn Japanese animation productions, such as in Hayao Miyazaki's films, the key animator handles both layout and key animation.
Some animators in Japan such as Mitsuo Iso take full responsibility for their scenes, making them become more than just the key animator. Animators specialize. One important distinction is between special effects animators. In large-scale productions by major studios, each animator has one or more assistants, "inbetweeners" and "clean-up artists", who make drawings between the "key poses" drawn by the animator, re-draw any sketches that are too made to be used as such. A young artist seeking to break into animation is hired for the first time in one of these categories, can advance to the rank of full animator; the creation of animation was a long and arduous process. Each frame of a given scene was hand-drawn transposed onto celluloid, where it would be traced and painted; these finished "cels" were placed together in sequence over painted backgrounds and filmed, one frame at a time. Animation methods have become far more varied in recent years. Today's cartoons could be created using any number of methods using computers to make the animation process cheaper and faster.
These more efficient animation procedures have made the animator's job less tedious and more creative. Audiences find animation to be much more interesting with sound. Voice actors and musicians, among other talent, may contribute vocal or music tracks; some early animated films asked the vocal and music talent to synchronize their recordings to already-extant animation. For the majority of animated films today, the soundtrack is recorded first in the language of the film's primary target market and the animators are required to synchronize their work to the soundtrack. Animation is the art of creating moving images; this line of work is all about creating a series of individual ‘frames’, which make images come to life when they are flicked through in rapid succession. Animation was done manually, with animators drawing multiple frames to depict a single action, i.e. the kind of animation that you witnessed during a typical scene from the Hanna-Barbera cartoon and Jerry. Today, computer-generated imagery has replaced manual animation, but a significant amount of artistic talent is still required.
Animators are employed in various segments of the entertainment industry,including film and video games. As a result of the ongoing transition from traditional 2D to 3D computer animation, the animator's traditional task of redrawing and repainting the same character 24 times a second has now been superseded by the modern task of developing dozens of movements of different parts of a character in a virtual scene; because of the transition to computer animation, many additional support positions have become essential, with the result that the animator has become but one component of a long and specialized production pipeline. Nowadays, visual development artists will design a character as a 2D drawing or painting hand it off to modelers who build the character as a collection of digital polygons. Texture artists "paint" the character with colorful or complex textures, technical directors set up rigging so that the character can be moved and posed. For each scene, layout artists set up rough blocking.
When a character's bugs have been worked out and its scenes have been blocked, it is handed off to an animator who can start developing the exact movements of the character's virtual limbs and facial expressions in each specific scene. At that point, the role of the modern computer animator overlaps in some respects with that of his or her predecessors in traditional animation: namely, trying to create scenes storyboarded in rough form by a team of story artists, synchronizing lip or mouth movements to dialogue prepared by a screenwriter and recorded by vocal talent. Despite those constraints, the animator is still capable of exercising significant artistic skill and discretion in developing the character's movements to accomplish the objective of each scene. There is an obvious analogy here between the art of animation and the art of acting
Al Jolson was a Russian-born American singer and actor. At the peak of his career, he was dubbed "The World's Greatest Entertainer", his performing style was brash and extroverted, he popularized many songs that benefited from his "shamelessly sentimental, melodramatic approach." In the 1920s, Jolson was America's most highest-paid entertainer. Although best remembered today as the star of the first talking picture, The Jazz Singer, he starred in a series of successful musical films during the 1930s. After the attack on Pearl Harbor, he was the first star to entertain troops overseas during World War II. After a period of inactivity, his stardom returned with The Jolson Story, for which Larry Parks played Jolson, with the singer dubbing for Parks; the formula was repeated in Jolson Sings Again. In 1950, he again became the first star to entertain GIs on active service in the Korean War, performing 42 shows in 16 days, he died weeks after returning to the U. S. owing to the physical exertion of performing.
Defense Secretary George Marshall posthumously awarded him the Medal of Merit. According to music historian Larry Stempel, "No one had heard anything quite like it before on Broadway." Author Stephen Banfield wrote that Jolson's style was "arguably the single most important factor in defining the modern musical". Jolson has been dubbed "the king of blackface" performers, a theatrical convention since the mid-19th century. With his dynamic style of singing jazz and blues, he became successful by extracting traditionally African-American music and popularizing it for white American audiences who were otherwise not receptive to the originators. Despite his promotion and perpetuation of black stereotypes, his work was sometimes well-regarded by black publications and he has sometimes been credited for fighting against black discrimination on Broadway as early as 1911. In an essay written in the 21st century, Ted Gioia of the Jim Crow Museum of Racist Memorabilia remarked, "If blackface has its shameful poster boy, it is Al Jolson", showcasing Jolson's complex legacy in American society.
Al Jolson was born Asa Yoelson in the Jewish village of Srednike now known as Seredžius, near Kaunas in Lithuania part of the Russian Empire. He was the youngest child of Nechama "Naomi" and Moses Rubin Yoelson. Jolson did not know his date of birth, as birth records were not kept at that time in that region, he gave his birth year as 1885. In 1891, his father, qualified as a rabbi and cantor, moved to New York City to secure a better future for his family. By 1894, Moses Yoelson could afford to pay the fare to bring Nechama and their four children to the U. S. By the time they arrived—as steerage passengers on the SS Umbria arriving at the Port of New York on April 9, 1894—he had found work as a cantor at Talmud Torah Congregation in the Southwest Waterfront neighborhood of Washington, D. C. where the family was reunited. Jolson's mother, died at 37 in early 1895, he was in a state of withdrawal for seven months, he spent time at the St. Mary's Industrial School for Boys, a progressive reformatory/home for orphans run by the Xaverian Brothers in Baltimore.
After being introduced to show business in 1895 by Al Reeves and Hirsch became fascinated by it, by 1897 the brothers were singing for coins on local street corners, using the names "Al" and "Harry". They used the money to buy tickets to the National Theater, they spent most of their days working different jobs as a team. In the spring of 1902, Jolson accepted a job with Walter L. Main's circus. Although Main had hired him as an usher, Main was impressed by Jolson's singing voice and gave him a position as a singer during the circus's Indian Medicine Side Show segment. By the end of the year, the circus had folded and Jolson was again out of work. In May 1903, the head producer of the burlesque show Dainty Duchess Burlesquers agreed to give Jolson a part in one show, he performed "Be My Baby Bumble Bee", the producer agreed to keep him, but the show closed by the end of the year. He avoided financial troubles by forming a vaudeville partnership with his brother Hirsch, a vaudeville performer known as Harry Yoelson.
The brothers worked for the William Morris Agency. Jolson and Harry formed a team with Joe Palmer. During their time with Palmer, they were able to gain bookings in a nationwide tour. However, live performances were falling in popularity. While performing in a Brooklyn theater in 1904, Jolson began performing in blackface, which boosted his career, he began wearing blackface in all of his shows. In late 1905, Harry left the trio after an argument with Jolson. Harry had refused his request to take care of Joe Palmer, in a wheelchair. After Harry's departure and Palmer worked as a duo but were not successful. By 1906 they agreed to separate, Jolson was on his own, he became a regular at the Globe and Wigwam Theater in San Francisco and was successful nationwide as a vaudeville singer. He took up residence in San Francisco, saying the earthquake-devastated people needed someone to cheer them up. In 1908 Jolson, needing money for himself and his new wife, returned to New York. In 1909, his singing caught the attention of Lew Dockstader, the producer and star of Dockstader's Minstrels.
Jolson accepted Dockstader's offer and became a blackface perf