July 22, 1990
Ellis Thackery, 87, who created special effects for the classic films "King Kong" and "The Jazz Singer." Thackery is credited with developing new uses for a technique to shoot background scenes called the "glass shot." The technique involves placing a painted glass scene in front of the camera lens and shooting through it. The American Society of Cinematographers said Thackery used the technique in the 1933 RKO Pictures version of "King Kong" and also in Al Jolson's "The Jazz Singer."
September 3, 1988
Kitty Doner, 92, probably the last of the male impersonators who were popular in vaudeville in the 1920s. She was a headliner on the old Keith-Orpheum circuit and played the Palace and Winter Garden theaters in New York with Jack Benny and Al Jolson, respectively. In her day, girls and young women were frequently cast as boys in various musical productions.
October 30, 1994
Marie Duval, 98, a featured performer in "The Drunkard," the perennial melodrama-olio stage feature that was seen at the old Theater Mart in Los Angeles from 1933 to 1959. She was a former Ziegfeld Girl who also sang on radio with Al Jolson and appeared at the Palace Theatre in New York, vaudeville's premier performance house.
November 28, 2007
With Hanukkah starting next week, KCRW-FM (89.9) will broadcast a five-part series about the history of Jews in America, from their early presence in the British colonies to their central role in the creation of the Hollywood movie studios. "Only in America" will air in five hourlong installments, Monday through Friday at 2 p.m. It includes readings of historical letters by actors such as John Lithgow and Jerry Stiller, and sound clips of Al Jolson and other Jewish entertainers.
March 4, 2014 |
We were just settling in the other evening for some utterly inoffensive television viewing (reruns of "The Big Bang Theory," if memory serves) when our living room was invaded by a zombie. Yes, it was Audrey Hepburn, dead these 21 years, digitally dug up from the grave and reanimated to shill for Dove chocolates . You may already have seen this commercial, which began running on Oscars night and is now moving into wider rotation. (Check it out at the bottom of this post.) Dove and the commercial producers are inordinately proud of their achievement.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 14, 2004 |
Erle Jolson Krasna, an occasional actress who was the influential widow of both singer Al Jolson and Oscar-winning screenwriter and producer Norman Krasna, has died. She was 81. Krasna died Sunday of cancer at her Century City home. Widowed by Jolson's death in 1950, she retained control over his recordings after marrying Krasna a year later. Jolson, whose signature song was "My Mammy," became a superstar in the first "talkie," "The Jazz Singer" of 1927.
November 29, 2013 |
I honestly can't tell what's more disturbing, the fact that Katy Perry dressed up in “ yellowface ” or that anyone thought it was “ beautiful .” Last weekend, the “I Kissed a Girl” singer appeared at the American Music Awards to perform her new single, “Unconditional,” dressed in a kimono. Perry went all the way with borrowing from Japanese culture, writes Vulture: “geisha moves ... giant fans, cherry blossoms, The Great Wave off Kanagawa, and much more.” The Wall Street Journal's Jeff Wang commented that the “performance was also a harsh reminder of how deeply anchored the archetype of the exotic, self-sacrificing 'lotus blossom' is in the Western imagination.” However, Chris Talbott of the Associated Press didn't find anything wrong with it. Talbott responded by saying Perry looked “like a princess out of a classic Japanese painting.” Here we can see that the bigger issue with Perry's “ demeaning and harmful iconography ” is that some people don't see it as an issue - because cultural appropriation has become so commonplace.
December 4, 1998 |
With the phenomenal success of the Al Jolson musical "The Jazz Singer" in 1927, Hollywood quickly made the transition from silents to talkies. However, injecting color into movies was a much harder sell. In fact, it took the founder of Technicolor more than two decades to convince movie makers about the viability of color. The new Turner Classic Movies documentary "Glorious Technicolor," premiering Monday, examines the tangled history of color movies, as well as the life and career of Herbert T.
March 20, 1998
Ruth Easton, a former Broadway stage and radio star and a benefactor of her native Minneapolis-St. Paul area. Easton, who inherited her money from her two businessmen brothers, performed on Broadway in the 1920s and '30s before moving to Los Angeles, where she was a featured guest on "The Rudy Vallee Hour," "The Fleischmann's Yeast Hour" and many other network radio shows. Over the years she worked with Ethel and Lionel Barrymore, Clark Gable, Al Jolson and Eddie Cantor.
April 6, 2005 |
Astronaut Neil Armstrong's first words from the moon, speeches by President Woodrow Wilson and Gen. Douglas MacArthur and songs by Al Jolson, Muddy Waters and Nirvana are among 50 recordings being set aside for special preservation by the Library of Congress. The library on Tuesday announced the new selections for its National Recording Registry. News broadcasts include Wilson's speech of Nov. 11, 1923, celebrating the fifth anniversary of the armistice that ended World War I.