SOUNDIES

 

Cast: Fats Waller
Running Time: 3 mins.
Vault: SOUNDIES

Fats Waller plays his classic signature tune Ain't Misbehavin' with verve and vigor in this classic soundie.

 

Cast: Johnny Long and his Orchestra
Running Time: 3 mins.
Vault: SOUNDIES

 

Cast: Claude Thornhill and his Orchestra
Running Time: 3 mins.
Vault: SOUNDIES

 

Cast: Joe Pastor with Johnny Morris
Running Time: 3 mins.
Vault: SOUNDIES

See the Ratamacue! Soundies were a brand new form of entertainment conceived in early 1940, born in January 1941 and then suffered a lingering demise mid-way through 1947. They were three minute black and white films with an optical soundtrack designed to be shown on self-contained, coin-operated 16mm rear projection machines situated in bars, diners, nightclubs, roadhouses and other public places throughout the States and Canada. The most widely distributed of these projectors was the Panoram, a complicated device using a system of mirrors and with a screen mounted on top of a stylish cabinet. They were made by the Mills Novelty Company of Chicago, market leaders in the manufacture of juke boxes and coin-operated machines, at the cost of $600 (about $12,000 today). The range of Soundies catered for all tastes and included swing, big bands, jazz, blues, country and western, hillbilly, Gospel, Latin American, Hawaiian, dance, musical comedy, vaudeville and even swimmers, ice-skaters, knife throwers and gymnasts! One reel of eight Soundies was released each week, with more hitting the Panorams at holidays and other peak periods.

 

Cast: Maya's Pan-American Orchestra and Carlos and Zedra
Running Time: 5 mins.
Vault: SOUNDIES

There's Latin rhythms aplenty on this lively series of two soundies featuring Maya's Pan-American Orchestra. The first features a floor show Ricky Ricardo would have been proud of and the second features the lady from Fiesta Soundie singing about Cuban Pete, the King of the Rhumba Beat. Get out your maracas and prepare to rhumba, folks!

 

Cast: Thelma White and Her All-Girl Orchestra
Running Time: 3 mins.
Vault: SOUNDIES

"Hamp's Boogie Woogie" originally performed by Lionel Hampton and His Orchestra.
An example of the all girl orchestra at its finest!

 

Cast: Carolyn Marsh with Ray Bloch and His Orchestra
Running Time: 3 mins.
Vault: SOUNDIES

An old standard, and great band. We have to remember, in the 40's this was a state of the art "music video" - no special effects and no head banging or break dancing. It was a simpler time featuring songs with memorable lyrics and a recognizable beat to dance to. Perhaps our tastes have become too sophisticated. This soundie is good, clean entertainment.

 

Cast: June Barton, Emil Coleman and His Orchestra
Running Time: 3 mins.
Vault: SOUNDIES

A rare "Panoram Soundie" featuring June Barton with Emil Coleman and His Orchestra -- a society band that played New York's Waldorf-Astoria Hotel -- Emil was a smooth, suave and sophisticated leader well loved by New York society. His band supplied the music for a great many social galas and debutante balls around the country.

 

Cast: Harry Day and Della and the June Taylor Girls
Running Time: 3 mins.
Vault: SOUNDIES

This soundie features a slightly strange nightclub floor show, with chorus girls in mini skirts, a Spanish dancer in a bolero jumpsuit, and what looks like an African-American woman in a French maid's outfit. They all dance to a peppy jazz tune in typical floor show style, except for the Spanish fellow, who bends like Gumby.

 

Cast: Al Donahue and his Orchestra
Running Time: 3 mins.
Vault: SOUNDIES

By the 40s the orchestra's sound and style had moved to swing from its more self-consciously high brow origins, and engagements at Frank Dailey's Meadowbrook, the Hollywood Palladium and other top concert halls and theatres were in abundance. After relocating to California in the 40s, Al Donahue and his Orchestra continued to tour coast to coast.

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