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90th Anniversary of Vitaphone
Remind Me
,Don Juan

90th Anniversary of Vitaphone - 12/5

Vitaphone was a sound-film system developed by Bell Telephone Laboratories and Western Electric, and used by Warner Bros. and its sister studio First National to produce feature films and hundreds of short subjects during the 1920s and '30s. The original Vitaphone sound-on-disc system was retired early in the sound era when sound-on-film replaced the cumbersome discs. However, Warner Bros. kept the name alive through the Vitaphone Corporation, which was used through 1959 for releasing the studio's shorts and cartoons.

TCM celebrates the 90th anniversary of Vitaphone with a 24-hour tribute offering a generous sampling of its output including the silent feature Don Juan (1926), which was introduced on August 6, 1926, with a symphonic musical score and sound effects. Another landmark Vitaphone production was the legendary The Jazz Singer (1927), the first full-length movie with synchronized dialogue.

Some 20 of the Vitaphone shorts are new to TCM. These shorts were often employed to capture musical and vaudeville acts, and serve as a training ground for future stars. Among the latter were Bob Hope (Paree, Paree, 1934), James Stewart (Art Trouble, 1934), June Allyson (The All-Girl Revue, 1940) and Red Skelton (Seeing Red, 1939). Shorts featuring "Vitaphone Bands" include Johnny Green and His Orchestra (1935), Harry Reser and His Eskimos (1936) and Cab Calloway and His Orchestra (1937). Vaudeville routines captured on film include Blossom Seeley and Bennie Fields (1927), George Burns and Gracie Allen in Lambchops (1929) and Baby Rose Marie, the Child Wonder (1929).