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'Vitaphone Varieties' as time capsule

A four-disc set of short films is a fascinating glimpse into early talkies.

May 02, 2011
  • The British team Val & Ernie Stanton in the 1928 short comedy "Cut Yourself a Piece of Cake."
The British team Val & Ernie Stanton in the 1928 short comedy "Cut… (WarnerBros.com )

The 60 short films that make up Warner Archive's "Vitaphone Varieties" (1926-30) four-disc set were made when sound was in its infancy. They're a fascinating time capsule, not only of early talkies but also of what type of acts appeared in vaudeville, on Broadway and in nightclubs of that era. These shorts were recently restored through a collaboration between Warner Archive, UCLA Film and Television Archive, the Library of Congress and the Vitaphone Project. Among the acts featured are Earl Burtnett and His Biltmore Orchestra, Bob Albright and His Rodeo Do Flappers and the comedy team of Born & Lawrence.

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