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Music - Al Jolson - The World's Greatest Entertainer
That's right! In his day Al Jolson was known as The World's Greatest Entertainer. Today if you mention his name to anyone the reply is "Al who?" or "I never heard of him!" What a shame! Someone that was so famous and adored is now virtually unknown. His music, his songs and his acting are just a hazy memory. Hopefully there are still a few people that recognize the name Al Jolson.
Some Al Jolson Info
Al Jolson (May 26, 1886 – October 23, 1950) His real name was Asa Yoelson. He was born.........now get this.....of all places...... Seredzius, Lithuania (Russia). Just goes to prove you can make it from anywhere! His family settled in Washington D.C. around 1894. In 1899 he started performing in burlesque and vaudeville. There are many different variations on how his career developed after this. I will leave that up to you to do some Al Jolson internet exploring.
You might remember him for starring in the first full length talking picture. The Jazz Singer in 1927. The bottom line is that Al Jolson became known to people around the globe as The World's Greatest Entertainer. That's quite a title (I wish I had it). His famous line while performing was " You ain't heard nothing yet ". What's amusing is that you're probably familiar with some of the songs and music he made famous and don't even know it.
The Jolson Story
The best part are the movies they made about Al Jolson. The first one was in 1946 simply called The Jolson Story. It was a smash hit. I still love watching this movie. It is great entertainment. The Jolson Story won Academy Awards for Best Sound Recording and Best Music Scoring of a Musical Picture.
Larry Parks who played Al Jolson was nominated for Best Actor in a Leading Role. William Demarest was nominated for Best Actor in a Supporting Role. You might remember William Demarest as Uncle Charley on My Three Sons. How's that for nostalgia!
Other nominations were for Best Film Editing and Best Cinematography Color. They made a sequel in 1949 called Jolson Sings Again. It continues right where The Jolson Story finishes. This is another great movie to watch. Especially after watching The Jolson Story!
Watch and Enjoy!
Below I have included some scenes from The Jolson Story. The performance by Larry Parks as Al Jolson is out of this world. The singing is actually Al Jolson with Larry Parks doing an unbelievable lip syncing job. He should have won that Academy Award. The last video is the real Al Jolson. So sit back and listen..............You ain't heard nothing yet!