Gallery notes by David Weinstein
Here are “liner notes” about the clips and photos in the gallery. You can find more information and analysis in the books.
The Eddie Cantor Story
The Eddie Cantor Story: Cantor at a 1957 fundraiser for the United Jewish Appeal of Greater New York. Courtesy of American Jewish Historical Society, New York, NY, and Boston, MA.
“That’s the Kind of a Baby for Me” (Victor 18342), provides a nice snapshot of Cantor’s 1917 Ziegfeld Follies routine. I especially like the brief spoken word segment and the way Cantor’s voice shoots up into a yodel as he sings “baby” at 2:34. This is from Cantor’s first recording session, July 12, 1917, a month after the Follies opened on Broadway. Downloaded from the Library of Congress American Jukebox . The sheet music is from my personal collection (written by Alfred Harriman and J.C. Egan, published by Broadway Music Corporation, 1917).
“The Dixie Volunteers” (Aeolian Vocalion 1233), recorded November 5, 1917, was introduced by Cantor when he toured with the Ziegfeld Follies in the fall of 1917. The song was written by two New Yorkers, Edgar Leslie and Harry Ruby, and performed by Cantor in blackface. Sincere patriotism or ironic commentary on Southern mythology? This YouTube clip comes from Brian Gari’s excellent compilation of rare Cantor 78’s, Eddie Cantor: The Early Days (1917-1921).
Cantor introduced “Joe’s Blue Front,” also known as "Belt in the Back," on Broadway in Midnight Rounders (1920-1922) and Make It Snappy (1922-1923). He played variations of the aggressive, resourceful Jewish salesmen in several later productions, including Kid Boots and Whoopee. Martin Scorsese later pronounced the sketch "the essence of Jewish comedy." This clip is from the film Glorifying the American Girl (1929). It features Louis Sorin as the store owner and Lew Hearn as the customer.
“Makin’ Whoopee,” from the film Whoopee! (1930), is Cantor’s best-known song today. Many cover versions of the Gus Kahn-Walter Donaldson composition miss the wry humor of Cantor’s original.
"Eddie Cantor's Position," from Variety Daily Bulletin, August 22, 1919 is a nice example of the way Cantor expressed solidarity with his fellow actors during the 1919 Actor's Equity Association strike, which he helped to lead. I also included an article listing the line-up for a benefit show that night.
"Actors' Equity Benefit," is Sime Silverman's review of one of the many AEA benefits. Published in Variety, August 22, 1919. The review quotes a cute Cantor poem illustrating the actor's pro-union allegiances: “Ashes to ashes and dust to dust, tell me the manager actors can trust.” I also included the "Cantor paragraph" from the article, though the quality of the full article and the Cantor paragraph is not very good. Sorry.
"Cantor Kol Nidre" is from Variety, Sept. 30, 1925. A few months later, in its December 9, 1925 issue, the show business weekly published a more favorable article on Cantor's decision to postpone opening night opening night of his Chicago Kid Boots engagement at the Woods Theatre, originally slated for September 27, 1925, because it fell on Kol Nidre, marking the start of Yom Kippur.
"Cantor Appreciation 10/16/64) is from the (Pittsburgh) Jewish Chronicle, October 16, 1964. For the most part, Cantor's death did not receive the attention that it merited from the country's major daily newspapers, but the Jewish press appreciated Eddie.
"FDR celebrates Christmas with Whoopee!" from the New York Times, December 27, 1930.
The Forgotten Network
"David's Book Talk About DuMont" was delivered at Olsson's Books and Records in downtown Washington,D.C., July 20, 2004. I miss Olsson's. This was my first DuMont book talk. Try not to be distracted by the pink bunny on my left shoulder.
"DuMont Network Highlights and Rarities" is a DVD compilation of clips, including many rarities, from DuMont shows that I write about in The Forgotten Network. I and scenes that that I created for instructors in 2004, before YouTube made it so much easier to share clips. I listed each clip with time code in the YouTube description.
"Allen B. Du Mont, circa 1950" is a nice portrait of the engineer who founded and led DuMont. This photo is from the Allen Balcom DuMont Collection at the Archives Center, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution.
"Art Carney with Morey Amsterdam" before he was Norton on The Honeymooners, Carney played a similar character, Newton, on DuMont's Morey Amsterdam Show. From The Raster, July 1949.