Posted in WB Cartoon Companion on March 22, 2004
Russian-born actor, singer, and all-around entertainer, billed as the “World’s Greatest”. Jolson had a long and successful career in Vaudeville and on Broadway before transitioning into film in the late 1920s. He is probably best remembered for some of his Warner Brothers films, including The Jazz Singer (1927), The Singing Fool (1928), Mammy (1930), Go Into Your Dance (1935) and The Singing Kid (1936). Many of Jolson’s best known routines involved performing in blackface, and this trademark was picked up in many of the cartoons that parody him.
Jolson is caricatured as one of the auditioning roosters in Swooner Crooner (Tashlin, 1944) singing “September in the Rain”. Porky’s Preview (Avery, 1941) also features a Jolson like stick figure crooning “September in the Rain”. The story for I Love to Singa (Avery, 1936) follows the plot of The Jazz Singer about as closely as a 7-minute cartoon can, and features a leading character called “Owl Jolson”. Jolson is also seen in blackface in Clean Pastures (Freleng, 1937).