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I learned of this entertainer when he sang the intro to the latest version of King Kong. This bio was typical Hollywood during the mid-1940?s, but the songs were terrific. Jolson must have been quite a presence on a Broadway stage in his day. So when will we be seeing "Jolson Sings Again" and perhaps, the real Al Jolson?

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I'd hoped there would a bigger reaction to the TCM premiere of "The Jolson Story." Larry Parks is terrific, and the songs are matchless. Kudos to Harry Cohn and Columbia for sparking Jolie's big comeback in the late '40s. Thank you, TCM, for showing this film and giving it the respect it deserves.

 

Possibly they showed it because 2006 marks the 120th anniversary of Jolson's birth. I too would love to see "Jolson Sings Again" on TCM.

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Can't let the day go by without praising the fine performance of Larry Parks as Al Joson in "The Jolson Story", shown last night on TCM.

Parks was superb in the role of Jolson, especially during the musical numbers, emoting his style, and perfectly lip syncing the songs that were recorded for the movie by Jolson himself.

Although mostly fictionalized, the movie in gorgeous Technicolor was very entertaining with good performances from the rest of the cast including the lovely Evelyn Keyes, William Demerest and notably Scotty Beckett as the young Jolson with the golden voice (must find out who was lip syncing for him).

 

It is unfortunate to-day that Jolson has been wrongly maligned for his use of Blackface make-up in the early stages of his career. If the truth be known Al Jolson was one of the most unprejudiced people who ever lived. His blackface make-up was a convention of his time and used by many entertainers.

 

Wayne, 2006 also marks the 60th anniversary of the release of "The Jolson Story" (1946).

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I really didn't intend to watch The Jolson Story, It started at 11PM our time and I had to be to work early.

But... I got hooked. It was great.

The lip synching was very well done and Parks did a great job capturing the "essence" of Jolson. Movements, facial expressions he nailed them bang on.

I ended up enjoying it much more than I thought I would.

So, at 1:15 AM I turned off the TV and went to bed.

Today was not one of my more productive days.

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Finally ! A brand new audience for one of my all-time favorit movies, "The Jolson Story"

When it came out, I was a 15 year old high-schooler. It made such an impact on the whole country. Everybody went to see it, again, and again. I have always thought that if they kept count of the number of times a movie was viewed, this one would win, hands down. I didn't know anyone of my friends who didn't see this movie several times ... once was simply not enough. Remember, in those days, you could go into a theater, and stay all day, and see the same movie over and over. I myself saw it eight times at three different theaters, within a period of three weeks. It was like the repeat viewings of "Titanic", only more so.

The soundtrack record was an instant million-seller, as were several more of Al Jolson's records. And fantastic Al, whose voice had never changed one note in over 60 years was resurrected and appeard on every radio program available (remember, No TV) He soon had his own rdio show. He lasted for about three years, during which they brought out "Jolson Sings Again", almost as big, but not quite. Larry Parks played both Al Jolson and Larry Parks in that one.

One last bit of trivia. Everybody tried to sing like Jolson. Imitators came out of the woodwork. Here in Pittsburgh we had a local amateur show held in one of the bigger theaters. I was lucky enough to catch the finale of it. The winner was a young kid from a nearby high school who had Jolson down perfectly. He rode that performance clear to the top. His name- Frank Gorshin.

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> I'm sorry, I know it was the norm then, but watching the blackface

> performances is just plain creepy.................

 

It really does look strange. But it makes me glad all the more that TCM is around, or else entertaining movies like this would be barred from television entirely because of the dated elements.

 

It's too bad that they didn't show "The Jolson Story" and "Jolson Sings Again" back to back. From what I understand, the sequel starts at the same time and place where the first movie ends - it's almost like a two-part epic.

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> And how cool was it that TCM preceded it with the

> classic WB cartoon, "I Love to Singa" - which is

> basically The Jolson story done in six minutes with

> owls!

 

Yes! As I said on a different thread, I remember seeing that cartoon short as a kid and singing along with it ("I love to sing-a ... about the moon-a and the June-a and the Spring-a ...") without having any idea of what the short was based on. How creative cartoons used to be ...

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> One last bit of trivia. Everybody tried to sing like

> Jolson. Imitators came out of the woodwork. Here in

> Pittsburgh we had a local amateur show held in one

> of the bigger theaters. I was lucky enough to catch

> the finale of it. The winner was a young kid from a

> nearby high school who had Jolson down perfectly. He

> rode that performance clear to the top. His name-

> Frank Gorshin.

 

Gorshin was a marvelous impressionist. Anybody who hasn't seen his performance on the Ed Sullivan Show from Feb. 9, 1964 (captured on the "Ed Sullivan Presents the Beatles" DVD set), ought to take a look. Gorshin does funny, dead-on takes of Broderick Crawford, Anthony Quinn, Marlon Brando, Kirk Douglas, and a bunch more. His far-fetched theme -- what the government would be like if Hollywood stars were elected to high public office.

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  • 2 weeks later...

One thing that didn't get mentioned in this thread and I just remembered it looking at the movie again on DVD was that Al Jolson, the real one, was in "The Jolson Story." Do you remember the Swanee song that took place on the extended stage down the middle of the audience? The number was filmed in a long shot. The real Jolson performed that one.

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I remember many years ago .I was in High School so it was the mid to late 60's .They showed "The Jolson Story " and "Jolson Sings Again " back to back .They even had two full page adds for them .My uncle whos a Jolson fan said he never saw "Jolson Sings Again "on TV only at the Theater when in first came out .I didn't know Frank Gorshin was from Pitts.Pa. I am 40 miles north of Pitts.I use to see him alot on TV back in the 60's .

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The Jolson films are a real mixed bag. Most are part of the UA package, and I saw them in Cincinnati on WBTI 64 when they had it, although they did not show the one I wanted to see most badly, "Hallelujah I'm a Bum." "Mammy" (1930) is particularly miserable - Jolson's outsize personality is not really suited to the screen, and the scripts play to this kind of egoism that he had.

I like to listen to Jolson on records and would love to see "The Plantation Act" sometime, in addition to "Bum." I play him on my radio show sometimes; after all, he was truly the Moses of popular culture, as Will Friedwald has said. But I'd rather have a ten penny nail driven through my skull than sit through "The Jazz Singer" again. And note that I didn't mention the word "blackface" once.

 

spadeneal

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