Friday, December 21, 2007

Ukulele at the Dawn of the Talkies


Yesterday I stumbled upon this video posted to YouTube. It's a dub of a 1982 public access TV show, The Nightlife Show("Central Florida's Only Television Show About Television!"). In it, host Kerry Decker talks about Bell Labs' Vitaphone system (the first commercial system for talking pictures) and plays a short industrial film made in 1926 by Bell Labs to demonstrate how their system works. It's entitled, The Voice From the Screen. Watch the video before reading on. The set up will make what comes next pretty mind-blowing.

Warning: Here be Spoilers

Okay, did you happen to notice what they were shooting? Why the musical duo "Witt & Berg" performing a medley of hapa haole ditties on ukulele and guitar. So here we have what might very well be the first talking picture a ukulele performance (and it's on one of the first non-experimental sound motion pictures in history!). Enjoy the full performance below. And in case you're curious, I checked in with Michael Simmons, Ukulelia Professor of Lutherie Kine Stuff about the identity of the non-uke instrument being played. With 97.6532% certainty, Prof. Simmons says that he is playing "a guitar made in Chicago in the early to mid-1920s at the Lyon and Healy factory that bears either the Lyon and Healy name or the Washburn name." (Which, we would add, is the factory that made similarly styled ukuleles and tiples during the same period.) We hope you enjoy this little piece of ukulele history.



(By the way The Voice From the Screen is included as a bonus feature on the newly released DVD edition of The Jazz Singer with Al Jolson. Lots of other early vaudeville performance captured on Vitaphone shorts are also included!)


3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Amazing demonstration. Glad you found it.

Gege Dai said...

oakley sunglasses
cheap snapbacks
nfl jerseys wholesale
adidas wings shoes
true religion uk outlet
michael kors bags
calvin klein underwear
ray-ban sunglasses
police sunglasses
tiffany and co
nike air max 90
police sunglasses for men
cheap jordan shoes
cheap oakley sunglasses
oakley sunglasses wholesale
christian louboutin shoes
coach outlet
tiffany and co
swarovski crystal
swarovski crystal
ray-ban sunglasses
fitflops sale clearance
true religion jeans
hollister clothing
mont blanc pens
louis vuitton sunglasses for women
hollister uk
ralph lauren polo
mulberry bags
coach outlet
michael kors outlet store
michael kors outlet
cheap nfl jerseys
true religion outlet
nike air force 1
chanyuan0531

Fangyaya said...

vans outlet
jordan 8
rolex submariner
fitflops
adidas originals
cheap oakleys
burberry outlet
michael kors outlet online
toms shoes
kate spade
oakley vault
coach outlet online
louis vuitton outlet
ed hardy clothing
michael kors outlet
adidas yeezy
cheap oakley sunglasses
louis vuitton outlet
pandora jewelry
jordan 3 infrared
michael kors handbags
coach outlet
retro jordans
polo ralph lauren
mont blanc pens
fitflops sale clearance
jordan concords
louis vuitton outlet
louis vuitton outlet online
oakley outlet
replica watches
ralph lauren outlet
adidas nmd r1
louis vuitton handbags
louis vuitton outlet
louis vuitton outlet
michael kors handbags
hollister clothing
adidas superstar
christian louboutin outlet
20167.29chenjinyan

 
Top 50 Ukulele Sites