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Al Jolson and Patsy Kelly

Stage Name

Birth Name

Al Jolson

Asa "Jolie" Yoelson

"The World's Greatest Entertainer"  
Albert Jolson  

    Comedian, Singer, Dancer and Actor who briefly performed in Minstrel, Vaudeville and Burlesque shows doing Black Face Comedy and dance. His father emigrated to the states and sent for his family after establishing himself in the United States. At 8 years old, "Jolie's" ( Al's nickname) mother had died and the young Al was devastated but would soon find his outlet in the theater. Soon he was singing with his older brother, Harry [18841952], for Senators and soldiers. He also would entertain the troops that were headed for the Spanish-American War.

    He was eventually signed by Lew Dockstader's' Minstrels where he got his main training for the legitimate theatre. After this stint with Dockstader's, the Shubert Brothers signed him to work at the Winter Garden theatre in 1912, he was now 26 years old, talented and an experienced performer. He would become one of the most famous and loved performers in Broadways history, especially at the Winter Garden. It is said that he possessed an "electric personality,"

| More Photos |
Along with the ability to make each member of the audience believe that he was singing only to them. He wrote many songs, some political, as well as sang hundred's of popular titles. He was the first music artist to sell over 10 million copies of a song.


    Jolson made entertainment history when he starred in the first sound film (" A talkie") called the "Jazz Singer" in 1927 where he "electrified the screen and the audience with his memorable and historic performance. In 1946 the Movie entitled "The Al Jolson Story" which portrayed his life was the highest grossing film of the year... which led to the sequel in 1949 entitled "Al Jolson Sings Again." Most famous entertainers may get one, but Jolson received three, yes three (3) Stars on the Hollywood 'Walk of Fame'. One (1) for Motion Pictures (6622 Hollywood Boulevard,) One (1) for Radio (6750 Hollywood Boulevard,) and another for Recording (1716 Vine Street) in Hollywood, California.

    Al Jolson was a great and talented entertainer but is heavily connected to racial stereotyping during his time as well as today. I don't know if that was how he really felt and/or if it was just the parts he was hired to play. But his minstrel Blackface comedy, dumb "Sambo Nigger" routines, Language slurs, Eating

" You ain't heard nothing yet"

Photo

Watermelon, Ribs, etc. altho somewhat common and accepted at the time, was, and is unacceptable by today's standards. But this style of entertainment was waning fast, and was becoming less popular over time, which may have helped his career to decline. It is unfortunate that such a talented person couldn't be remembered for more than what he portrayed in some of his acts and songs. Whether he was aware or not, he helped further the racial thinking of many, ( And not just the Caucasian's) thru his music, stage acts and movies that was spread to a much larger audience than the local minstrel show's of the past, in which racial inequality may have declined sooner if he didn't capitalize on it, and spread it

further. On the other hand, his acts, altho funny and entertaining, may have helped people to see how wrong it really was. His form of entertainment did, even tho it was racially wrong, did help to open a closed door to African-American's into the entertainment system. As with the entertainment industry, if it wasn't him, it may have been someone else.

    In 1950 while entertaining the American troops, his health declined and shortly after his return to the U.S. he suffered a massive heart attack and died. He is interred at one of the most elaborate burial sites in the USA located at the Hillside Memorial Park, Culver City, California. He was married a total of five times. There is so much written on Al Jolson on the web, I will stop here unless it is dance related.


Birth Place

Birth Date

Spouse

Offspring

Srednik, Russia 5/26/1886 - 10/23/1950 Erle Chennault Galbraith (1945) < Asa Jr (b.1948), Alicia (b.1949)
    Ruby Keeler (1928) < Al Jr. (b.1935) Adopted
      Ethel Delmar (1922)  
      Henrietta Keller (1907)  

Dance Types

Dance Partners

Sheet Music Covers

Ballroom Patsy Kelly ( Pictured) Down In Bom-Bambay
      Ruby Keeler Good Bye Boys (Dockstader's)
      I'm Glad My Wife's In Europe (1914)
             

Partial Music Titles

After You've Gone Last Night On The Back Porch (1923)
Anniversary Song Little Pal (1929)
April Showers (1921) Liza!
Arcady (1923) Ma Blushin' Rosie
Are You Happy (1914) Massa's In De Cold, Cold Ground
Are You Lonesome Tonight Morning Will Come (1923)
Avalon My Mother's Rosary
Back Home In Tennessee (1915) My Sumurun Girl
Back In Your Own Back Yard (1927) My Tom Tom Man
Baghdad (1918) No More Worryin'
Billy Billy Bounce Your Baby Doll   (1912) O, Susanna!
California, Here I Come (1924) Oh!, How I Wish I Could Sleep (1918)
Camptown Races Oh, You Beautiful Doll
Carolina Mammy (1923) Old Black Joe
Carolina In The Morning Old Fashioned Girl in a Gigham Gown (1922)
Chinatown, My Chinatown Old Kitchen Kettle
Dancing The Blues Away (1914) Remember Mother's Day
Dark Eyes (1932) Rock A Bye Your Baby (1953)
Down Among The Sheltering Palms (1915) Say It With Words (1929)
Down In Bom-Bombay (1915) Sent My Wife to the 1000 Isles (1916)
Everybody Rag With Me (1914) So Long Mother (1917)
For Me And My Gal Sonny Boy (1927)
Four Walls (1927) Swanee!
Give My Regards To Broadway Sweet Ones (1923)
Good Bye Boys (1913) Tennessee - I Hear You Calling Me(1914)
Grieving For You (1920) The World Is In My Arms
Harding, You're the Man For Us (1920) There's a Rainbow Round My Shoulder (1928)
He'd Have To Get Under (1913) To My Mammy! (Mammy 1929)
Hello Central (1918) Toot Toot Tootsie (Goodbye)
I Love Her Oh! Oh! Oh! (1913) Trouble's a Bubble
I Never Knew Heaven Could Speak Yoo-Hoo (1921)
I Wonder What's Become of Sally (1924) You Made Me Love You
I Gave Her That (1919) Waiting For The Robert E. Lee
I'm Glad My Wife's In Europe (1914) When The Grown Up Ladies Act Like Baby (1915)
I'm Goin' South (1922) Where The Black-Eyed Susan's Grow
I'm Just Wild About Harry Who Played Poker with Pocahontas
I'm Sitting On Top Of The World Why Cant You Say it With Songs (1929)
In Old Grenada (1921) Yaaka Hula Hickey Dula (1916)
Keep Cool with Coolidge You're A Dangerous Girl (1916)

Night Clubs

Theaters

Stage

n/a Morosco Theatre (1921) 1931- Ziegfeld Follies
      Winter Garden Theatre (1912) 1921 - Bombo (Wintergarden)
          The Singing Fool
        Whirl Of Society (Wintergarden)

Partial Films

Television / Radio

Publications

1923 - Mammy's Boy NBC Radio "The Shell Chateau Hour" (1935) Al Jolson Discography (Larry F Kiner)
1926 - A Plantation Act   5/1925 - Vanity Fair
1927- The Jazz Singer    
1928 - The Singing Fool    
1929 - Say It With Songs    
1929 - New York Nights    
1930 - Mammy!    
1930 - Show Girl In Hollywood    
1934 - Wonder Bar    
1935 - Go Into Your Dance    
1936 - The Singing Kid    
1939 - Hollywood Cavalcade    
1946 - Al Jolson Story, the    
1949 - Jolson Sings Again (pt 2 of Al Jolson Story)    

  • NOTE: This page uses some degrading racial slurs of the time. It should in no way refer to the authors beliefs or feelings on the subject matter of this page.

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