Friday, October 06, 2006

It was 79 years ago today . . .

On October 6, 1927, The Jazz Singer opened in theaters. It was the first motion picture to employ recorded sound, ushering in the era of the talking picture. And, because actors now needed words to accompany the pictures more than ever, the date also marks the beginning of screenwriting as we know it. Although films in the silent era had screenplays, labor was often divided between the scenario writer, who was tasked with coming up with the story, and the intertitle writer, who penned the dialogue and other information that appeared on the title cards between the action. Like many actors of the period, some writers flourished under the new form, while others failed to successfully make the transition to "talkies." I'm embarrassed to say that I've not seen the original "Jazz Singer," though not as embarrassed as I am to admit that I have seen the 1980 remake starring Neil Diamond and Olivier.


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