Musical Monday: The Singing Kid (1936)

It’s no secret that the Hollywood Comet loves musicals.
In 2010, I revealed I had seen 400 movie musicals over the course of eight years. Now that number is over 600. To celebrate and share this musical love, here is my weekly feature about musicals.

This week’s musical:
The Singing Kid – Musical #613

Studio:
Warner Bros.

Director:
William Keighley

Starring:
Al Jolson, Sybil Jason, Beverly Roberts, Edward Everette Horton, Allen Jenkins, Lyle Talbot, Mary Treen (uncredited), Grady Sutton (uncredited), Milton Kibbee (uncredited), Hattie McDaniel (uncredited), Dennis O’Keefe (uncredited)
Himself: Cab Calloway, The Yacht Club Boys, Wini Shaw

Plot:
Singer and performer Al Jackson (Jolson) loses both his singing voice and all of his money, due to a tax mix-up. Al leaves the city and heads to the country for a rest. He meets Ruth Haines (Roberts) and her niece Sybil (Jason), who rent him their country home. Ruth is an aspiring playwright, who Al falls for while trying to help with her career. Sybil wins over Al’s friends (Horton, Jenkins).

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Musical Monday: “Hi-De-Ho” (1947)

It’s no secret that the Hollywood Comet loves musicals.
In 2010, I revealed I had seen 400 movie musicals over the course of eight years. Now that number is over 500. To celebrate and share this musical love, here is my weekly feature about musicals.

This week’s musical:
“Hi-De-Ho” (1947) – Musical #503

hi de ho

Studio:
All-American Studios

Director:
Josh Binney
Starring:
Cab Calloway (as himself), Ida James, Jeni Le Gon

Plot:
Cab Calloway plays himself a as a bandleader who is getting bored with his sexy singing girlfriend Minnie who he calls a moocher. Minnie is jealous of Cab’s female band manager named Nettie. Out of jealousy, Minnie gets a job at a night club that rivals the club that Cab is performing at. She also asks gangsters to kill Cab.

Trivia:
-“Hi-De-Ho” is what is known as a “race film.” The film is made up of an entirely black cast that were generally made between 1915 and 1950. These films were usually produced outside of the Hollywood studio system.
-The film also features the Peters Sisters and The Miller Brothers

Cab and Minnie the moocher

Cab and Minnie the moocher

Notable Songs:
The movie has several of Cab Calloway’s songs, but sadly no “Minnie the Moocher.”
Song include:
-“Minnie was a Hep Cat”
-“St. James Infirmary”
-“At Dawn Time”
-“Bop Bop”
-“The Hi-De-Ho Man, That’s Me”

My Review:
The plot to this film is very thin and the quality of the picture is very low. If you go strictly by the story line, “Hi-De-Ho” is lousy. However, this is a great exhibition of Cab Calloway’s music with eight songs from the big band leader. It’s also interesting for its historical value as a “race film.” If you can find this movie, I would highly suggest it for its excellent music. The only disappointing feature is that it doesn’t have the song “Minnie the Moocher.”

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Classic movies in Music Videos: Alright by Janet Jackson

You thought that I forgot September’s installment of music videos that feature either classic movie stars, movies or reference classic movies-well you would be correct.  But I have it squeezed in just before the month ends!

This Janet Jackson’s 1990 song “Alright” is getting featured. This video doesn’t have just one star-but FOUR! It features Cyd Charisse (2:52), dancing brothers Fayard and Harold Nicholas (4:58), and Cab Calloway(4:27 and 6:48).  The video is supposed to be in a sort of 1930s style (complete with Janet in a zoot suit) and it follows Jackson going to the premiere of Calloway’s film.

As you may recall, Cyd Charisse-star of Band Wagon and Brigadoon- was also in the Blue Mercedes video “I Want to Be Your Property” around this time. Charisse was 69 at this time and still looks amazing.  She recently died in 2008.

The Nicholas brothers can be spotted dancing and doing painful to watch acrobatic splits in films like “Down Argentine Way” and “Stormy Weather.” I often think “Man didn’t that hurt” while I’m watching a film where they jump off a balcony and land in a split. According to Fayard Nicholas it did, “We can’t do those routines anymore; we don’t want to, and I’ll tell you why — it hurts!”  Fayard died in 2006 and Harold died in 2000. At the time of this video the brothers were 76 and 69 years old (respectively).

This video was one of Cab Calloway’s last appearances. He died in 1994 and was 83 years old here. Though not as well known for his acting career, I think most of us are familiar with his great song “Minnie the Moocher” and his cameo appearance in “The Blues Brothers.”

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