Hollywood Musicals – Rich In History

The Hollywood musical is recognized as a distinguished part of motion picture history, playing an integral role in the evolution of movies during the 1920s through the 1950s. Today, despite this fact, most people are unaware of how they originally got their start. The development of moving pictures with sound during the 1920s paved the way for the era of Hollywood musicals. Prior to the development of the musical, as we know it, were some vaudeville fillers produced in the early 20th century that included music. While accepted by the audience, they were never as popular as the full-scale production Hollywood musicals that America came to love.

During the mid 1920s, Warner Brothers studio began experimenting with something new known as Vitaphone. The Vitaphone provided a method of coordinating a musical soundtrack with film, thereby effectively creating a sound picture. This method, however, overlooked much of the huge potential regarding the adding of sound to motion pictures. At this time in movie history, Warner Brothers felt it was not necessary to hear the individuals talk, and merely wanted the sound to provide some musical background noise to film. It wasn’t until 1927 that Warner Brothers first introduced singing along with background sound to the big screen with their release of The Jazz Singer; a remake of the Broadway musical of the same name.

 

The late 1920s brought difficult financial times to the country. It was during this time that Hollywood came to the publics rescue with the wonderfully entertaining diversion of the Hollywood musical. Hollywood movie studios began to release numerous musicals which offered the movie going public a chance to temporarily escape from the financial issues at hand. Some of the most popular and highly regarded musicals to come out during the 1930s included 42nd St, Bright Lights, and Gold Diggers. The 1939 musical The Wizard of Oz is one of these classic musicals that still continues to entertain audiences to this day.

It was during the 1940s that the Hollywood musical really came of age with their popularity continuing right through the 1950s. One of the more popular 1940s musicals was Yankee Doodle Dandy, a film that introduced movie lovers to a young James Cagney who gave an Oscar winning performance. This movie continues to be one of the most famous musicals ever produced.  Another popular title that has become a holiday tradition is The Bells of St. Mary’s

The original Hollywood musical is a page out of movie history that can never be duplicated. The memories, however, are timeless forever captured on film and continuing to be enjoyed by audiences around the world.

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