When Al Jolson died in 1950 Harry Truman was president. No-one experienced heard of Elvis Presley yet, and tv was overtaking radio as the most popular medium just. Jolson has been gone a long long time. Most people have no idea who he could be. He is associated with blackface, an entertainment genre that was cosidered passe when the early 1950s. So why should Al Jolson be remembered? Why should someone raised on reality tv and American Idol should even take note who Al Jolson is. Perhaps no other performer had so much influence on the development and performance of American popular song as Al Jolson.
A man of intensity, with a huge ego, he called himself the global worlds very best performer. Few in those days argued with him, and few since have denied his claim. Al Jolson was born as Asa Yoelson, in Srednike Lithuania might 26, 1886. He was was taken to the united states as a boy, in 1894 and was raised in Washington DC probably. As a youngster, he always seemed to be interested in show business with one time, ran away to join a troupe but was soon returned back again to his parents. His father was a cantor in a Washington synagogue.
Rather than pursuing in his father’s footsteps Al teamed up with his brother and with the comedian Joe Palmer to tour the vaudeville shows. He later used a dark face and customized in singing in minstrel shows. Does that whole tale sound whatsoever familiar? Film buffs shall see its similarity to the 1927 film The Jazz Singer, and the 1984 remake of the same name starring Neil Diamond.
In many respects, art imitated life with regards to the life and career of the great Al Jolson. As with any superstar, the truth gets expanded and lore develops to create a life story that is larger than life. In Jolson’s case, his actual career and ego were in fact, larger than life but still we have components of urban legend to deal with.
It is said that young Asa’s first taste of performance took place when he had found his way into the Bijou theater in Washington in which a performer/ songwriter named Eddie Leonard was showing up. It is said that Leonard was performing his favorite track, Ida, Sweet as Apple Cider (1903, music by Leonard, words by Eddie Munson).
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Leonard invited the audience to sing along with him in the chorus. As the audience mumbled and stumbled through the chorus, Asa’s lovely voice lofted within the cacophony and soon the entire theater was hearing and spontaneously burst into applause. Smitten by the adulation of the audience, That night and began a love affair with performance that would last his lifetime Al Jolson was born. Jolson’s popularity with audiences led to practices by him that would consternate and befuddle fellow performers, stage managers and writers of shows. Essentially, if he saw fit he would often completely dispense with the show’s plan or script and perform as he pleased.
Often he’d make impromptu remarks to the audience or completely take over a show. It had been with extreme bravado and consummate confidence that Jolson would strike from his own. Invariably, his actions met with success so no matter how annoying it could have been to his costars and show writers, it brought in the crowds and ticket sales so not much, if anything was done to “correct” him. In life Later, this “my way or the highway” attitude works to Jolson’s drawback and place him in disfavor among many producers and fellow performers. In 1909, at a performance at the Victoria, he ended the show happening and called for the houselights.
He walked stage front side and addressed the audience and began speaking with the audience. He supposedly said; You know folks, this is the happiest day of my entire life, I want to sing and sing just. Ya wanna listen? As Jolson enters the stage it as though a power current has been run along the wires under the seats where hats are trapped. The homely house involves a tumultuous attention. He speaks, rolls his eyes, compresses his lips, and it is all over. You are a known member of the Al Jolson Association. He trembles his lip as well as your heart breaks with a snap.
I have a fairly floral notebook that I purchased months back and I just need to set it up such as a planner. I am hoping you are making some great programs for 2019 and perhaps this season will be your yr to begin a journal as well. Great behaviors don’t just happen they are created.