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Entertainment of the 1930s

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    Entertainment of the 1930s Entertainment of the 1930s Presentation Transcript

    • of the 1930s
    • The Cotton ClubA Colorful History
      Famous night club in New York City during the Prohibition
      Included jazz and featured some of the greatest African American entertainers of the era 
      Served as a chic meeting spot
      Helped launch the career of Fletcher Henderson, who led the first band to play there in 1923
      Helped launch Duke Ellington's career, whose orchestra was the house band from 1927 to 1931 
      Drew from popular white culture of the day 
      Cab Calloway
      Ella Fitzgerald
      Louis Armstrong
      Billie Holiday
      Nat King Cole
      Fletcher Henderson
      Duke Ellington
      Count Basie
      Bessie Smith
      The Nicholas Brothers
      Fats Waller
      Dizzy Gillespie
      Ethel Waters
    • Resurgence
      Jack Johnson, heavyweight champion boxer, opened it as Club De Luxe at 142nd Street and Lenox Avenue in Harlem (1920)
      In 1923 bootlegger and gangster, Owney Madden, took over while imprisoned in Sing Sing and renamed it theCotton Club
    • Corresponding to the Times
      Club often depicted blacks as savages and "darkies" in the plantations of the south although most of their entertainers were African American
      Generally denied admission to blacks
      Eventually calmed its policy of excluding black customers because of a request by Duke Ellington
    • The Cotton Club
    • Big Band
      • In the 1920s African American big bands began to dominate music and their popularity grew through the 1930s and 40s
      • Usually played a sweet form of jazz involving very little improvisation
      • First big bands included a string section with violins which was dropped after the introduction of swing in 1935
      • The dance form of jazz was characterized by a sweet and romantic melody
      • Orchestras tended to stick to the melody as it was written
      • Typically tenor vocals would be sung in tune with the melody
      • With Benny Goodman the swing form of big band boomed and the jazz era concluded
      • Ballrooms such as the Savoy and the Roseland in New York City were wildly popular venues for hearing the latest big band sounds
      • Eventually white bands began to eclipse black big bands
    • Growing Popularity
      • 1927 to the late 1930's musicians played every night of the year in Harlem, sometimes in many different bands because of constant personnel changes
      • Big band remotes on major radio networks spread the music across the country and inside peoples’ homes
      In 1935 Jazz with a "Swing beat" achieved national attention largely in part to Benny Goodman
      During the big band boom, leaders and musicians were as idolized as rock stars are today.
    • Music Craze
      After the ignition of the big band craze musicians who were sidemen for other bands were encouraged to start their own bands.
      Musicians played together in jam sessions after hours at bars and clubs
      Big band boom brought together the greatest jazz musicians of the day
      Musicians played together in bands led by Benny Goodman (clarinet), Tommy Dorsey (trombone), Jimmy Dorsey and Woody Herman (clarinet and saxophone), Glenn Miller (trombone and arranger), Duke Ellington (piano and composer), and  Count Basie (piano)
      Some of the most well-known singers of this era accompanied big bands. Some of the singers were Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby, and Joe Williams
    • Radio ProgramsVallee
      What was radio really like at the dawn of the 1930s? As the new decade began, the medium was moving into its adolescence. The experimental years were over,  the networks were off and rolling, and the movement toward making radio a form of Wholesale Entertainment For The Masses was well underway
      Maine-bred saxophonist Rudy Vallee organized his eight Connecticut Yankees in 1927, and the intimate quality of this group made it a radio natural. In a series of remote broadcasts over WABC from New York's Heigh Ho Club, Vallee pioneered an informal style of broadcasting which would help to break the medium out of its white-tie straightjacket.
      late in 1932, with the show's popularity beginning to sag, Rudy's showmanship came to the forefront. A new policy was adopted, stressing guest stars. The Standard Brands checkbook opened wide, and the best that vaudeville and Broadway had to offer were enticed to the microphone. The Fleischmann’s Yeast Hour became radio's first really Big Time variety program, and set the pattern for every one that would follow
    • Zanies
      1931, added a second hour to Vallee radio schedule for Chase and Sanborn Coffee on Sunday nights. Tapped to star was the hyperkinetic Eddie Cantor, who had convulsed the nation with several guest appearances on the Vallee program earlier that year
      Cantor at the turn of the thirties was coming off more than a decade's worth of Broadway hits and was beginning a series of ever-more-opulent musical comedy films for Samuel Goldwyn. His phonograph records were top sellers -- he was a true multimedia superstar long before the term was invented. And he was radio's first great solo comedian
      Cantor's jumping-jack personality was part of his success. He projected an infectious sense of fun right thru the loudspeaker, and it was impossible not to be caught up in the zany spirit of his broadcasts
      contribution was his mastery of the "stooge" technique of comedy. he was the first to thoroughly integrate that announcer-stooge into the the program. His interplay with Jimmy Wallington was fast, snappy, and sharp
      important contribution was his emphasis on running gags. Cantor thoroughly understood the principle of bringing the audience back for more -- a principle which would be adopted by just about every  major comic who would follow
      Premiering in 1931, this Thursday night favorite drew from two major inspirations: the Ferber/Kern/Hammerstein stage production and the "Showboat" program heard in the late 20s over WLS, Chicago. For several seasons, it was the most popular program on the networks, and inspired an almost fanatical loyalty among its predominantly female fans. The Maxwell House Show Boat rode a river of sentimentality -- the Depression-era version of "nostalgia" for the "simpler times" of  the Old South. Even though no attempt was made to reflect a period setting for the show, the entire tone of the program was redolent of cotton blossoms and magnolia, having little to do with the grit and grime of Depression America. It also broke ground in the way in which it combined fictional characters like "Captain Henry"  and blackface deckhands "Molasses and January" with real-life cast members like Lanny Ross and Annette Hanshaw. It was an unusual combination of corn and class, and it  inspired occasional imitations. None remained afloat as long as the original, and certainly none inspired the loyalty that filled the pages of many a fan magazine
    • Show Boat
      From 1933–1935 Maxwell House Show Boat was the top radio show in the United States.[6] In 1948 Walter Winchell had the top rated radio show when he surpassed Fred Allen and Jack Benny
      The program was sponsored by Maxwell House coffee, and it aired on NBC Radio Thursday nights, 9 pm. The first show was broadcast in 1931
      the 1937 edition of the Maxwell House Show Boat will be launched with one of the largest regular casts on the air
      Premiering in 1931, this Thursday night favorite drew from two major inspirations: the Ferber/Kern/Hammerstein stage production and the "Showboat" program heard in the late 20s over WLS, Chicago. For several seasons, it was the most popular program on the networks, and inspired an almost fanatical loyalty among its predominantly female fans. The Maxwell House Show Boat rode a river of sentimentality -- the Depression-era version of "nostalgia" for the "simpler times" of  the Old South. Even though no attempt was made to reflect a period setting for the show, the entire tone of the program was redolent of cotton blossoms and magnolia, having little to do with the grit and grime of Depression America. It also broke ground in the way in which it combined fictional characters like "Captain Henry"  and blackface deckhands "Molasses and January" with real-life cast members like Lanny Ross and Annette Hanshaw. It was an unusual combination of corn and class, and it  inspired occasional imitations. None remained afloat as long as the original, and certainly none inspired the loyalty that filled the pages of many a fan magazine
    • Drama
      first important full-scale drama to come out of Chicago was a weekly series for the Great Northern Railroad called "Empire Builders." Beginning in January of 1929, and running thru the spring of 1931, this series offered half-hour tales set on the "Empire Builder," Great Northern’s crack train on the Chicago-Seattle run. The series was one of the earliest successful anthologies, tied together by a host figure referred to only as "The Old Timer," and listening to surviving episodes reveals a show which offered remarkably high production values. The acting -- featuring such stalwarts as Don Ameche and Bernadine Flynn -- was capable, and the sound effects work was extraordinary considering that no recordings of any kind were used. The programs also provide something of a surprise for modern-day nostalgics convinced that radio always kept a puritanical moral tone: "Hells" and "Damns" are heard -- and, distastefully, there are occasional ugly racial epithets, reflective of the casual bigotry of the time
      "Sherlock Holmes" had its first radio incarnation beginning in 1930 
    • Amos ‘n’ Andy
      "Amos 'n' Andy" was an obsession during the Depression -- especially during 1930-31
      This simple little fifteen minute serial gripped the attention of as many as forty million listeners six nights a week
      the men behind the characters. Freeman Gosden and Charles Correll
      Have excellent plotting and a remarkable depth of characterization. The characters are not stereotypes, not cardboard cutouts. They react in different ways to changing circumstances, and they grow and change themselves over time
      The comedy serial was perhaps the most imitated format of the Depression, on and off the networks. Network programs like "Lum and Abner" and "Myrt and Marge", local programs like "Berl and Shmerl, the Yiddish Gentlemen," on WMCA, New York, and endless syndicated serials like "Si and Elmer" and "Black and Blue" rose up in the wake of "Amos 'n' Andy," without ever matching its appeal
    • Radio Entertainment