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Showboat, A mostly silent version of Edna Ferber's original novel, with some songs from the musical as a last-minute addition. Regent Theatre (one week, includes Gaylord Ravenal played by Joseph Schildkraut!))

The Singing Fool, Al Jolson, Central Picture House

Hopefully a "Film-buff" will supply more details

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Showboat, Regent Theatre (one week)

The Singing Fool, Al Jolson, Central Picture House

Hopefully a "Film-buff" will supply more details

"The singing fool" was Al Jolson's second talkie, his first, "The Jazz singer" being widely regarded as the first real talkie with lip synchronised sound.

In fact both these films were only partially sound.

They consisted of a feature length silent film with a sound recording on a set of Vitaphone discs designed to be played off the projector motor and started with some syncing marks to hold the sound synchronisation for the duration of the disc.

Obviously the cinema would need the necessary Vitaphone equipment to show the film with sound.

As a result, although the film may have lasted an hour and a half, the sound came in fairly short 5 minute bursts throughout the film, amounting in total to less than half an hours worth.

For Jolson, a singer it was ideal because he could act the silent film story and use the short bursts of sound to showcase his latest songs

The singing fool contains at least 3 of Jolsons more famous tunes,

"There's a rainbow around my shoulder", "I'm sitting on top of the world" and the song the film is most remembered for "Sonny Boy"

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Showboat, A mostly silent version of Edna Ferber's original novel, with some songs from the musical as a last-minute addition. Regent Theatre (one week, includes Gaylord Ravenal played by Joseph Schildkraut!))

Thanks for the additional bit of edited in information on this one Richard, - and the added link.

To be honest it had me fooled because the original 1928 Showboat was I believe a stage show featuring the songs of Jerome Kern.

The famous film version of showboat is much later, 1951 I think, and is definately all colour, all sound and famously features Paul Robeson singing "Old man river"

Clearly this is neither of these versions.

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The song the film is most remembered for "Sonny Boy"

"When there are gray skies, I don't mind the gray skies, you make them blue---Sonny Boy."

"Climb upon my knee, Sonny Boy; though you're nine foot three, Sonny Boy"

Sonny Boy : Sonny Boy 29/12/1924 - 17/6/2008

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'Showboat' was the first talkie shown at the Regent on 17th June 1929 with the Central Cinema on The Moor opening 'The Singing Fool' on the same day. 'Showboat' was shown four times daily and played to standing room only at most performances, not bad for a 2300 seater auditorium.

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The song the film is most remembered for "Sonny Boy"

"When there are gray skies, I don't mind the gray skies, you make them blue---Sonny Boy."

"Climb upon my knee, Sonny Boy; though you're nine foot three, Sonny Boy"

Sonny Boy : Sonny Boy 29/12/1924 - 17/6/2008

I thought the words were actually "though your only three"

But don't take my word for it, here is Al Jolson himself (my dads all time favourite performer) singing Sonny Boy in the film in question The singing Fool

Jolson sings "Sonny Boy" from "The singing fool", 1928

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Thanks for the additional bit of edited in information on this one Richard, - and the added link.

To be honest it had me fooled because the original 1928 Showboat was I believe a stage show featuring the songs of Jerome Kern.

The famous film version of showboat is much later, 1951 I think, and is definately all colour, all sound and famously features Paul Robeson singing "Old man river"

Clearly this is neither of these versions.

Sorry, but Paul Robeson was in the 1936 version, not the coloured 1951 one. Joe E Brown sang Ol' man River in the 1951 version.

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Sorry, but Paul Robeson was in the 1936 version, not the coloured 1951 one. Joe E Brown sang Ol' man River in the 1951 version.

OK I accept that, - there seem to have been quite a few versions of showboat over the years.

But am I right about the original 1928 version being a stage show rather than a film?

And was there a film made of it (silent / sound / part sound) in the same year?

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The original Broadway musical production of SHOWBOAT opened on November 15th 1927 after try outs in Washington DC,Pittsburgh,Clevekand and Philadelphia. The 1929 film was made in two editions - a silent version for cinemas without sound, and a partial sound version for the cinemas who had installed the 'new' sound system.This was the version that played at the Regent in 1929.

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The original Broadway musical production of SHOWBOAT opened on November 15th 1927 after try outs in Washington DC,Pittsburgh,Clevekand and Philadelphia. The 1929 film was made in two editions - a silent version for cinemas without sound, and a partial sound version for the cinemas who had installed the 'new' sound system.This was the version that played at the Regent in 1929.

So I would assume, due to the shows association with Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein that even the original show and the 1928 partial sound version would have included classic songs like "old Man river" and "Can't help loving that man of mine"

As Showboat is essentially a musical and contains about 8 or so songs the "silent version" for cinemas without sound is interesting, -

..a musical with no music, no singing!!

Did it have the same song sequences with the lyrics karaoke style on the screen with that infamous "bouncing ball" for you to sing along?

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So I would assume, due to the shows association with Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein that even the original show and the 1928 partial sound version would have included classic songs like "old Man river" and "Can't help loving that man of mine"

As Showboat is essentially a musical and contains about 8 or so songs the "silent version" for cinemas without sound is interesting, -

..a musical with no music, no singing!!

Did it have the same song sequences with the lyrics karaoke style on the screen with that infamous "bouncing ball" for you to sing along?

Don't think they've done a 'sing a long Showboat' - AS YET. Give them time.

Over the years Showboat has had many additions and subtractions to its song list. I understand that 'Ol Man River' was written for Paul Robeson for the 1936 film version and did not appear either in the original stage show or first film version.

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I thought the words were actually "though your only three"

But don't take my word for it, here is Al Jolson himself (my dads all time favourite performer) singing Sonny Boy in the film in question The singing Fool

Jolson sings "Sonny Boy" from "The singing fool", 1928

That was just my artistic interpretation ... nine foot three indeed lol

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And here's one for 'The Singing Fool'

Having said that Jolsons first 2 talkies were "The Jazz Singer" and "The Singing Fool".

On the popularity of the song "Sonny Boy" in this second film I think his third talkie was called "Sonny Boy"

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Don't think they've done a 'sing a long Showboat' - AS YET. Give them time.

Over the years Showboat has had many additions and subtractions to its song list. I understand that 'Ol Man River' was written for Paul Robeson for the 1936 film version and did not appear either in the original stage show or first film version.

Now that you mention additions and subtractions to shows and films

As I understand it, in the other film mentioned in this thread "The Singing Fool" a scene was deleted and its musical soundtrack (on vitaphone disc) was withdrawn for legal reasons.

The scene in question was where Jolson sings "The Spaniard that blighted my life"

So I assume the legal reasons where to do with copyright or performing rights on this particular song.

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Now that you mention additions and subtractions to shows and films

As I understand it, in the other film mentioned in this thread "The Singing Fool" a scene was deleted and its musical soundtrack (on vitaphone disc) was withdrawn for legal reasons.

The scene in question was where Jolson sings "The Spaniard that blighted my life"

So I assume the legal reasons where to do with copyright or performing rights on this particular song.

Billy Merson wrote 'The Spaniard that blighted my life' and held the copyright. He initiated a lawsuit claiming that he owed his living to singing the song and Jolson's version would lessen his ability to do so. The song was therefore deleted from the UK prints of the film and as the only remaining prints of 'The Singing Fool' are in the UK, the song is no longer included.

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Billy Merson wrote 'The Spaniard that blighted my life' and held the copyright. He initiated a lawsuit claiming that he owed his living to singing the song and Jolson's version would lessen his ability to do so. The song was therefore deleted from the UK prints of the film and as the only remaining prints of 'The Singing Fool' are in the UK, the song is no longer included.

That's interesting, - an American film and the only remaining copies are here in in Britain.

So thanks to us for preserving a piece of cinema history.

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Having said that Jolsons first 2 talkies were "The Jazz Singer" and "The Singing Fool".

On the popularity of the song "Sonny Boy" in this second film I think his third talkie was called "Sonny Boy"

I know its not the film

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Billy Merson wrote 'The Spaniard that blighted my life' and held the copyright. He initiated a lawsuit claiming that he owed his living to singing the song and Jolson's version would lessen his ability to do so. The song was therefore deleted from the UK prints of the film and as the only remaining prints of 'The Singing Fool' are in the UK, the song is no longer included.

Billy Merson

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I know its not the film

Crikey,

My old mate of 40 odd years Stuart0742 is secretly an Al Jolson fan :o

You should have had a word with my dad while he was still alive, - he was a big Jolson fan, - had all his recordings and later on many of his films on VHS tape

{how else do you think I know so much about the Jolson early talkies}

Rumour has it that he would even knock out a Jolson song in the Punch Bowl on Sunday night at times, - but he never did black up for it lol

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Crikey,

My old mate of 40 odd years Stuart0742 is secretly an Al Jolson fan :o

I quite like a song or two from Richard Tauber; after all

Girls were made to love and kiss

and who am I to interfere with this

etc

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