We have some big news for you, straight from Cladrite Industries’ central office in the heart of New York City:
It’s with great pleasure that we announce that Cladrite Radio will now be featuring performances taken from rare Vitaphone shorts, via recordings generously provided by one of the driving forces behind the Vitaphone Project, Ron Hutchinson, corresponding secretary and editor of the organization’s newsletter, The Vitaphone News.
That’s right, listeners of Cladrite Radio will be able to enjoy recordings that date back eighty years and more and are not commercially available anywhere, including performances by such Cladrite favorites as Rudy Vallée, Ben Bernie and His Orchestra, Horace Heidt and His Calfornians, and Abe Lyman and His Band, just to name a few.
What are Vitaphone shorts and The Vitaphone Project?
Well, here’s a snippet from a 1926 short featuring an act called Witt & Berg (note: the restored shorts are much clearer than this online sample):
And here are a couple of the songs we’ll be featuring in our first batch Vitaphone recordings:
Grace Johnston and The Indiana Five — “Bashful Baby”
Tal Henry and His North Carolinians — “Milenberg Joys”
Anyone with a casual interest in classic movies knows that The Jazz Singer (1927), starring Al Jolson, is considered the first “talkie” feature motion picture (even though that picture is arguably a silent movie with sound segments). (Incidentally, the recent three-disc DVD reissue of The Jazz Singer includes a disc that features several Vitaphone shorts.)
The same process used to create the sound for that ground-breaking picture was also used in literally hundreds of short subjects, dating back a year earlier to 1926.
The Vitaphone process depended on the use of a separate 16-inch record that was synchronized with the film, as opposed to the later practice of imprinting the sound on the edge of the film itself.
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