2012 Vitaphone Program

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Program #1 – 4:30 PM

  1. DICK RICH AND HIS SYNCHO SYMPHONISTS (Vitaphone, 1928) – The leader, actually named Larry Rich, combines comedy and his resemblance to Paul Whiteman, in this early band short. His references to ‘Henry’ are about a trumpet player’s constant playing of ‘Hot Lips’ like Henry Busse. Rich discovered The Andrews Sisters and had them tour with him in the early thirties.
  2. HARRIS & RADCLIFFE in ‘At The Party’ (Vitaphone, 1929) – A rare short starring a black singing and comedy act, which they wrote themselves. Sadly, after vaudeville died they mainly played walk-ons in features.
  3. SAFE IN HELL clip (WB, 1931) – A wonderful scene with Nina Mae McKinney from one of the best racy ‘Pre-Code’ features which starred Dorothy Mackaill.
  4. DAVE APOLLON in ‘The Wishing Stone’ (Vitaphone, 1935) – Stars mandolin wizard Apollon and his Phillipino orchestra, blending ethnic comedy and great musicianship.
  5. RAMBLING ‘ROUND RADIO ROW #1452 (Vitaphone, 1933) – One of a series of ten one-reel Vitaphones made in the early thirties which combined multiple radio star and vaudeville acts. This entry features Tess Gardella (Aunt Jemimah) the Lombardo brothers, Baby Rose Marie, and MC J.C. Flippen.
  6. READIN’ RITIN’ RHYTHM (Universal, 1937) – Vitaphone wasn’t the only New York studio turning out shorts. Universal released nearly a hundred of their Mentone one reelers in the thirties. These too combine multiple acts into one film. This one is noteworthy for the inclusion of Lucky Millender and his Band.
  7. VAUDEVILLE REEL #1 (Vitaphone, 1934) – Vitaphone decided to fill the gap of waning vaudeville by producing a series of shorts modeled after a vaude show. After an acrobatic act, a series of others leading up to the star appeared. That star her is bizarre comic Herb Williams.
  8. HOT SATURDAY clip (Paramount, 1932) – Here’s a truly fun and infectious song from a 1932 Nancy Carroll/Cary Grant feature. The tune, ‘I’m Burning For You’ was never recorded or published.
  9. VAN AND SCHENCK (MGM, 1928) – One of the earliest sound shorts made in New York by MGM, this ‘Movietone Act’ stars the legendary singing team who later were sent to Hollywood to make their sole feature.
  10. THEY LEARNED ABOUT WOMEN released shortly before Schenck’s death in 1930.
  11. MARION HARRIS (MGM, 1928) – Another New York-filmed ‘Movietone Act’, and a rare screen appearance by singer Marion Harris.
  12. BETTY & JERRY BROWNE in ‘Let’s Elope’ (Vitaphone, 1929) – One of the last Vitaphone shorts made that were a straight filming of a vaudeville act. Little is known about the team, and they don’t appear to have made any other films.
  13. SERVICE WITH A SMILE (Vitaphone, 1934) – This is one of the earliest live action films made in the new three-strip Technicolor process. Filmed on the west coast, this Leon Errol starry is brimming with music and sly Pre-Code comedy.

Program #2 – 8:00 PM

  1. Frames from recently discovered KING OF JAZZ 1930 nitrate Technicolor film.
  2. SHE WHO GETS SLAPPED (Vitaphone, 1930) – Is a relatively rare straight Vitaphone comedy, and was shot on the west coast. The stars hear are usually supporting players Tom Dugan and William Irving. Fairly politically incorrect material here!
  3. DANCE OF LIFE clip (Paramount, 1929) – Filmed at Paramount’s Astoria, NY studio (which still stands), this feature starred Nancy Carroll and Broadway star Hal Skelly. This is a great clip of Skelly’s eccentric dance to ‘Flippity Flop’ near the finale.
  4. WILLIE & EUGENE HOWARD in ‘Between The Acts At The Opera’ (Vitaphone, 1926) – This is one of the earliest Vitaphone shorts, and accompanied the second Vitaphone feature, THE BETTER ‘OLE. It was these vaudeville, rather than classical, shorts that really put talkies over.
  5. RAMBLING ‘ROUND RADIO ROW #1662 (Vitaphone, 1934) – Another edition of this ten shirt series. This one features Betty Boop singer Bonnie Poe, singer Vera Van, George Jessel and Shemp Howard. What a combination!
  6. HARRY WARREN, AMERICA’S FOREMOST COMPOSER (Vitaphone, 1933) – Has the famous songwriter playing many of his hits, and leading up to his then current popular tune, “Forty Second Street”.
  7. WILD PEOPLE (MGM, 1933) – This is a Metro Colortone short, in the older two-color Technicolor process. MGM made about 6 of these a year starting in 1929. This one features the forgotten team of Jans & Whalen.
  8. NIGHT WORLD clip (Universal, 1932) – This is the ‘Who’s Your Little Who-Zis’ number from this Lew Ayres/Boris Karloff feature. The choreography is by Busby Berkeley.
  9. SYNCOPATED CITY (Vitaphone, 1933) – A two reel original musical starring dancer Hal Leroy and then-ingenue Dorothy Dare.
  10. JACK BUCHANAN AND HIS GLEE QUARTET (Vitaphone, 1929) – This is actually a cut number from SHOW OF SHOWS which was released as a short. Buchanan concurrently was filming the now-lost PARIS (WB, 1929).
  11. VAUDEVILLE REEL WITH AL TRAHAN (Vitaphone, 1934) – We close with one more of the mid-thirties “canned” vaudeville shows from Vitaphone. The star of this one is Al Trahan. Forgotten today, but his laugh was imitated in countless Warner cartoons.

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