The last added films are listed at the bottom of the page

Before MTV
The Precursors of Music Videos


Before MTV, before rock promo clips, indeed before rock and before video, there were rock videos! Well, not exactly, but beginning in 1941 people could see short visualizations of top performers singing hit pop songs, on small screens across the land.
What they were seeing were Soundies, the 16mm film software that fed an exhibition network of thousands of film jukeboxes called Panorams. The "Mills Panoram Soundie" machines were conveniently placed in bars, restaurants and bus terminals. Patrons of these gathering spots would insert a dime into a large cabinet resembling an overgrown record jukebox, but with a glass rear-projection screen. Shortly after, a 16mm projection mechanism inside would rumble to life, and the lucky clientele would see what was probably their first moving image of performers they had previously only heard on the radio.
Some of these film clips were straightforward recordings of a visual and audio music performance, showing a band in a nightclub like setting. Others were much more complex and imaginative, using multiple scenes, fantasy story lines, comic relief and sophisticated optical effects; in other words, exactly like what is seen today on MTV, except shot in black and white and featuring swing and pop music of the World War II era.

This is our page devoted to the original coin-operated music clips.
The performers and musical styles featured in our Soundies
Collection offer a rich variety of well-known jazz and swing artists, lesser known dance bands, and forgotten novelty acts. We've also included some clips from the 30ies and the 40ies plus a complete 1955 movie, "Rhythm and Blues Revue", a real gem!



Before MTV
Musical Footage from 1930 to 1955 Collection

We do provide duplicates of the multimedial files of the Collection on a customized DVD-ROM. (1)

Almost all the digital copies of the films are good quality Hi-Res editable videos.
Hundreds of hours of footage from this Collection are available in different format, size and definition. We can suggest you the right one for the use you have in mind.
PRIVATE USE: home TV vision (DVD-Divx player), PC, iPod.
WE LICENSE FOOTAGE from our Collections for: multimedial creations on CD or DVD, TV commercials, film or TV programs, documentary Productions, web sites, marketing/ad campaigns, video email, electronic kiosks, trade shows, business seminars, cultural events, museums, expositions... and more.
Hi-Res videos from our Collections are available on DVD, CD or directly in your inbox. Clips and movies can also be downloaded from our servers using a PW or uploaded by us to your FTP.

(1) It is possible to obtain digital duplicates of the multimedial files (movies, videos, audio documents, and Virtual Reality files) from Romano-Archives for research, teaching, general interest user information, and private study purposes.

The files are available on a customized DVD-ROM.

Billing is done when the order is fulfilled. Payment instructions will follow. Normal turn around time for requests is 3 weeks. Rush (2-3 business days) is available for an additional fee of 40 Euros.

If you have any questions about the fees or need clarification of the service of providing digital multimedial files, please contact Vincent Romano.

The multimedial files of the Collections are compatible with the free version of the most common players: Quicktime Player, Real Player, Windows Media Player.
Mac users can easily view MPEG 1, MPEG 2, MPEG 4, and Divx movies in MacOSX with the free version of this program: VLC Media Player.

All the material in the Romano-Archives Collections is in the public domain and has no copyright attached to it. Only exception are original articles or texts published on this Website and the Romano-Archives' original compilations on CDs or DVDs that are subject to copyright.
Material of the Romano-Archives Collections is made available solely for historical research and educational purposes only. Any trademarks appearing on the material are the sole property of the registered owners. No endorsement by the trademark owners is to be construed, nor was any sought. The products, brand names, characters, related slogans and indicia are or may be claimed as trademarks of their respective owners.




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Available on DVD Only

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Happy Feet (1930)
Performed by PaulWhiteman and his Orchestra

From the movie "King of Jazz". Paul Whiteman and his Orchestra featuring Bing Crosby and the Rhythm Boys Orchestra. Filmed in color and edited as soundie in 1941. Still outstandingly modern!
Available on DVD

Run Time: 00:04:22
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Happy Feet (1930) COMPLETE VERSION
Performed by PaulWhiteman and his Orchestra

From the movie "King of Jazz". Paul Whiteman and his Orchestra featuring Bing Crosby and the Rhythm Boys Orchestra. Filmed in color and edited as soundie in 1941. Still outstandingly modern!
Available on DVD

Run Time: 00:03:55
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The Boys of the Orchestra (1930)
Performed by PaulWhiteman and his Orchestra

From the movie "King of Jazz". Paul Whiteman and his Orchestra.

Available on DVD

Run Time: 00:02:35
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So the Bluebirds and the Blackbirds got together (1930)
Performed by the Rhythm Boys Orchestra

From the movie "King of Jazz". featuring the Rhythm Boys Orchestra (Bing Crosby, Al Rinker & Harry Barris).

Available on DVD

Run Time: 00:02:40
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Excerpts from the movie "Good News" (1930)
Production: MGM

From Wikipedia: In 1930 MGM released its film version of the 1927 De Silna-Brown-Henderson stage musical "Good News". The final reel if this film no longer exist, but here we feature selected excerpts from the surviving portions.

Available on DVD

Run Time: 00:19:30
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Director: Leigh Jason
Producer: Meyer Davis, Monroe Shaff
Production Company: Magna Pictures Corporation

From Wikipedia: Bubbling Over (1934) is a short "soundie compilation", such as were the music videos of their day. Many a soundie featured all-black casts, with slim stories concocted, on which to hang a number of songs.

Available on DVD

Run Time: 00:02:45
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12Th Street Rag (1935)
Buddy Rogers and the California Cavaliers

Rare Soundie in color from 1935.

Available on DVD

Run Time: 00:02:40
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We're in the Money (1935)
Production: MGM

Rare color film from 1935, featuring The Fanchonettes, Sid Slivers, Lee Tracy and Chester Morris.


Available on DVD

Run Time: 00:07:31
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Cab Calloway's Jitterburg Party (1935)
Performed by Cab Calloway and his Orchestra
Production: Paramount Pictures

Cab Calloway sings 3 songs. Two of them are filmed at the famous Cotton Club in Harlem, New York City. The third song is recorded at a "private party". Party guests do a Shim Sham togheter!

Available on DVD

Run Time: 00:09:22

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HarlemRevue (1936 circa)
Production: Feeber Film Corp

From Wikipedia: This short, by Feeber Film Corp., presents a whole slew of images of black America. The initial comic skit, which occupies approximately the first minute of "Harlem Review," presents stereotypes that today would be considered quite offensive (there is an unfunny joke about the African navy). The decor on the stage set is an alarming panoply of minstrel-show imagery. This stage set shows up in the succeeding dance number.
The latter part of "Harlem Review" presents Bill Powers, who appears to have a classically-trained voice; and the Brown Sisters, who are also quite accomplished performers.

The contrast between the first half and the second half of "Harlem Review" is quite illuminating. We can see the aspirations of black entertainers and performers struggling to achieve high artistic aspirations struggling against society's imposed limitations and stereotypes. This is quite a fascinating historical document.
Available on DVD

Run Time: 00:02:00

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Sing, Sing, Sing (1937)
Performed by Gene Krupa and his Orchestra

The best drummer in the world! Gene Krupa.

Available on DVD

Run Time: 00:03:06

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When the Organ Played "Oh Promise Me"(1937)
Performed by Bing Crosby

A 1937 "psychedelic" color clip over a Bing Crosby's song!

Available on DVD

Run Time: 00:02:31
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Let's have a ball! (1937)
Performed by Cab Calloway and his Orchestra

Cab Calloway and his Orchestra filmed live on stage with a couple of outstanding tip-tap dancers.

Available on DVD

Run Time: 00:01:02

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Georgia Sothern (1938 circa)

Available on DVD

Run Time: 00:02:49

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N.R.A. Featurette (1938)
Sang by Jimmy Durante.

Available on DVD

Run Time: 00:01:57

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A Little Robin Told Me So (1939 circa)
Sang by The Three Canadian Capers.

Available on DVD

Run Time: 00:02:21

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Same Old Story (1939 circa)
Singer unknown.

Available on DVD

Run Time: 00:01:22

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Old Rockin' Chair (1939)
Performed by the Jack Teagarden's Orchestra

Available on DVD

Run Time: 00:00:51

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Lazy Bones (1939)
Performed by the Jack Teagarden's Orchestra

Available on DVD

Run Time: 00:01:51

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Hawaian Hula Song (1940 circa)

Available on DVD

Run Time: 00:02:35

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Heaven Help a Sailor on a Night Like This (1940 circa)

Available on DVD

Run Time: 00:02:24

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In a Shanty in a Old Shanty Town (1940 circa)
Performed by Johnny Long and his Orchestra

Available on DVD

Run Time: 00:02:27

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One Look at You (1940 circa)
Performed by Del Casino and his Orchestra.

Available on DVD

Run Time: 00:02:27

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Reg Kehoe and his Marimba Queens (1940 circa)
Frank Di Nunzio Sr. of Hersey,Pa. at the bass.

Available on DVD

Run Time: 00:02:43
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Minnie the Moocher (1941 circa)
Performed by Cab Calloway and his Orchestra

Cab's classic in a very slow an bluesy version. Great vocal improvisations.

Available on DVD

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Mexican Hat Dance (1941 circa)

1941ca-SweetSue-Just You.mpeg
Available on DVD

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Sweet Sue (Yust You) (1941 circa)
Performed by Six Hits & A Miss and the all-women Lorraine Page Orchestra.
Words & music by Will Harris & Victor Young

Available on DVD

Run Time: 00:02:44
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The Hut Sut Song (1941 circa)
Performed by the King's Men

Available on DVD

Run Time: 00:02:38
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Casanova (1941 circa)

Available on DVD

Run Time: 00:02:39
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Lullaby of Brodway (1941 circa)
Performed by The Mel-Tones

Available on DVD

Run Time: 00:02:50

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Once in a While (1941 circa)
Singer unknown

Available on DVD

Run Time: 00:00:50

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Rambling Wreck from Georgia Tech (1941 circa)
Performed by
The Gordonairs of Fred Waring's Pennsylvanians and The University Chorus.

Available on DVD

Run Time: 00:02:34

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Row Row Row (1941 circa)
Singer unknown

Available on DVD

Run Time: 00:02:56

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Tica Ti Tica Ta (1941 circa)
Performed by Ginger Harmon and the Mercer Brothers.

Available on DVD

Run Time: 00:05:36

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Havana-Madrid Show (1941)
Pefformed by Maya's Pan-American Orchestra with Carlos and Zedra.

Available on DVD

Run Time: 00:02:41

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I Can't Give You Anything But Love (1941)
Performed by Carolyn Marsh with Ray Bloch and his Orchestra.

Available on DVD

Run Time: 00:02:49

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A Jazz Etude (1941)
Danced by Billy Burt.

Available on DVD

Run Time: 00:02:42

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Boogle Woogie (1941)
Directed by George B. Hesmond.
Band leader Susan Miller with Lorraine Paige, the Trumpeteers and Danny Hector.

Available on DVD

Run Time: 00:02:33
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What This Country Needs (1941)
Performed by The Singing Powers’ Models.
Features Jimmie Dodd.

Available on DVD

Run Time: 00:02:47
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A Gay Ranchero (1941).
Minoco Productions.
Performed by Noro Morales and his Orchestra.

Available on DVD

Run Time: 00:02:21

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Swing Jam (from the movie) Helzapoppin' (1941)
Production: Universal Pictures

Surely one of the best Swing dance performance of the 40ies. Absolutely outstanding!!!

Available on DVD

Run Time: 00:03:05
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Ten Pretty Girls - I'll Make You Mine (1941)
Singer unknown

Available on DVD

Run Time: 00:02:20

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Zig Me Baby With a Gentle Zag (1941)
Features, among the others,Gai Moran and Danny Hocktor.

Available on DVD

Run Time: 00:02:45
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Stardust (1942 circa)
Male vocalist: Harry Cool
Written By: Mitchell Parish, Hoagy Carmichael

Available on DVD

Run Time: 00:08:26
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Gags and Gals (1942)

From Wikipedia: This exercise in female objectification is actually a lot of fun. There are three soundies here. The first, “Male Order,” features women a guy can purchase on approval, who arrive in shipping cartons and dance in his living room. The second, “At Your Service,” is all about how women, specifically carhops at drive-ins, live to serve men, even to the point of wearing skimpy uniforms and dancing on car hoods so that the male customers can look up their dresses. The third soundie, “Playmates,” features grown women dressed up and acting like little girls, while singing the familiar playground song. The titillating quality of this gets pretty creepy after awhile, even though it’s obvious that these are grown women, especially when they bend way over to peek into rain barrels, so we can get a good look at their undies. Again, these soundies are appalling, but still lively and a great deal of fun. “At Your Service” has a great retro drive-in feel.

Available on DVD

Run Time: 00:02:00

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Lamp of Memory (1941 circa)
Directed by Reginald Le Borg, stars Yvonne De Carlo.

From Wikipedia: Yvonne De Carlo, was quite a good singer dancer, as this short proves. Lamp of Memory is a nice little song, with a latin beat, Dicarlo falls asleep and dreams of dancing with a beautiful latin man (don't we all?) and soon wakes up. Bad edit comes as she concludes the song. This was a fun little soundie.

Available on DVD

Run Time: 00:05:14
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Afro Mood Burlesque (1943 circa)
Performed by Amalia Aguillar

Available on DVD

Run Time: 00:03:01

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I Don't Want to Walk Without You (1943)
Featuring Kay Lorraine, Merle Pitt's Five Shades of Blue, and Frank Wilcox as the porter.

Available on DVD

Run Time: 00:02:42

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Our Teacher (1943)
Features Henny Youngman.


Available on DVD

Run Time: 00:03:07
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Chime Bells (1943)
Performed by Rosalie Allie

Available on DVD

Run Time: 00:02:20

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Beyond the Blue Horizon (1944)
Performed by The Three Suns.

Available on DVD

Run Time: 00:09:17

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Groovie Movie (1944)
Directed by Will Jason
Production Company: Metro-Goldwin-Mayer M.G.M.
Performed by: Jeanne Ohelps-Veloz, Charles Saggau, Pete Smith, Irene Thomas and Arthur Walsh

Available on DVD

Run Time: 00:02:23

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Got to Be This or That (1945)
Performed by Emil Coleman and His Orchestra, vocal by June Barton.
Available on DVD

Run Time: 00:03:52

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J'Attenndrai ("I Will Wait") (1945 Circa)
Performed by Jango Reinhard and his Quintet of The Hot Club of France

From Wikipedia: A cool short film of the great Gypsy guitarist Django Reinhardt and his Quintet of the Hot Club of France performing J'Attenndrai ("I Will Wait") A newsreel-style announcer introduces the band as they lounge around a room, smoking and playing cards while a young Django and Stephane Grappelli lightly jam. Then it goes into a full blown performance of the Quintet. You can get a good view of Django's fret hand, which had two damaged fingers from a fire he suffered when he was eighteen. Despite his permanent hand injury, Django went on to be one of the main innovators of using the guitar as a melody instrument, along with Charlie Christian, Lonnie Johnson and Sister Rosetta Tharpe.

Available on DVD

Run Time: 00:06:30
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The House I Live In (1945)
Featuring Frank Sinatra
Produced by: RKO Radio Pictures

From Wikipedia: Frank Sinatra is known for his roles as a thug, a gangster, a bank robber, a murderer. He reportedly had connections to the mafia in real life. His father was, after all, Italian. What we don't think of Sinatra as is a uniter of people from different faiths.
In this short film, Sinatra sings some campy songs that should only exist in the 1940s. Between songs, he stops a gang of young boys from beating up a young Jewish boy. He encourages them to be friends with him because "religion doesn't matter" and reminds the kids when they get blood from the blood bank it comes from Jews and blacks. He also tells how Americans of different faiths have joined together to defeat the "jap menace".

Available on DVD

Run Time: 00:02:30

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Surrender (1946 circa)
Performed by Perry Como. (?)

Available on DVD

Run Time: 00:17:24

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To Hear Your Banjo Play (1946)
Distribution Company: Creative Age Films
Produced and Directed by Irving Lerner and Willard Van Dyke
Featuring Peter Seeger, Woodie Guthrie, Baldwin Hawes, Sonny Terry, Brownie Mc Ghee, Texas Gladden and the Margot Mayo's American Square Dance Group
Available on DVD

Run Time: 01:10:59

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Bpy! What a Girl (1947)
Director: Arthur H. Leonard
Producer: Jack Golberg - Arthur H. Leonard
Production Company: Herald Pictures

Great music and dancing in this movie which deserves to be better known.
Available on DVD

Run Time: 00:01:11

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1947 Excerpt from the movie "Boy! What a Girl". Lindy Hop dancers.
Available on DVD

Run Time: 00:02:37

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1947 Excerpt from the movie "Boy! What a Girl". Ann Cornell sings "Crazy Riffin'".
Available on DVD

Run Time: 00:02:04

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1947 Excerpt from the movie "Boy! What a Girl". The Harlemaniacs performing "Oh Me. Oh My. Oh Gosh!"
Available on DVD

Run Time: 00:02:21

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1947 Excerpt from the movie "Boy! What a Girl". Gene Krupa appears in this clip with another fabulous drummer, "Big" Sid Catlett. Krupa performs, with the Sid Catlett's Band, "Just a Riff".

Available on DVD

Run Time: 01:28:00

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The Fabulous Dorseys (1947)
Director: Alfred E. Green
Producer: Charles R. Rogers
Production Company: Embassy Productions
Distributed by: United Artists

If you are a fan of big band swinging music, this is your ticket. Was this a true account of these talented musicians who, the film would have us believe, acted as brotherly as 2 enemies? Who knows, but the story and all the old tunes are highly enjoyable.

Available on DVD

Run Time: 00:11:34

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March of Time - New Orleans (1948 circa)

The trombone player is Wendell Eugene, still alive and active in music.
The trumpet man is Thomas Jefferson.

Available on DVD

Run Time: 00:10:12

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Musical Varieties (1948)

Starring Rosemary Lane, Johnny Downs, Radio Rogues and the Eddie Le Barons Orchestra.

Available on DVD

Run Time: 00:02:41

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Daddy (1951)
With The Bobby Troup Trio and Virginia Maxey.

The Bobby Troup trio & Virgina Maxey (all excellent musicians) do a light and breezy rendition of the song, "Daddy," which Mr. Troup composed. Musical trios were especially popular in the early 1950's.

Available on DVD

Run Time: 01:11:25
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Rhythm and Blues Revue (1955)
Director: Joseph Kohn, Leonard Reed
Producer: Ben Frye
Production Company: Studio Films Inc.

Musical variety show filmed at the Apollo Theatre in Harlem, New York City in 1955, featuring a cast of popular African-American performers: Willie Bryant, Freddie Robinson, Lionel Hampton, Count Basie, Faye Adams, Bill Bailey, Herb Jeffries, Amos Milburn, Sarah Vaughan, Nipsey Russell, Big Joe Turner, Martha Davis, Little Buck, Nat 'King' Cole, Mantan Moreland, Cab Calloway, Freddy & Flo, The Lark, The Delta Rhythm Boys, Nipsy Russel and Ruth Brown. Almost all those artists were veterans of the many "Soundies" they recorded during WW ll.
Available on DVD

Run Time: 00:05:43
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The Haircuts - So Rare and Flippin' (1955)
From the 1955 TV Show "The Show of Shows"
Legendary musical variety TV show excerpt, featuring The Haircuts (Sid Caesar, Carl Reiner and Howard Morris).


8 titles of new available Musical Films and Clips added on May-29-2009

1942 Private Buckaroo - 67m
1942 Reet, Petite and Gone - 67m
1944 Dixie Jambouree - 59m
1946 Breakfast in Hollywood - 87m
1946 Soundie-Ooo La La - 3m
1947 Hi-Di-Do featuring Cab Calloway - 63m
1947 Soundie-Ina Rae Hutton - 16m
1948 Killer Diller featuring Nat King Cole - 73m

19 titles of new available Musical Films and Clips added on November-29-2011

19 new titles of Musical complete movies and shorts from 1942 to 1948 have been added to the "Before MTV" page:

Theatrical Trailer - The Band Wagon
Theatrical trailer for the 1953 film "The Band Wagon",
CAST: Fred Astaire, Cyd Charisse, Oscar Levant, Nanette Fabray, and Jack Buchanan.

Theatrical Trailer - Three Little Words
Theatrical trailer for the 1950 film "Three Little Words", starring Fred Astaire, Red Skelton and Vera-Ellen.

Theatrical Trailer - The Barkleys of Broadway
Theatrical trailer for the 1949 film "The Barkleys of Broadway", starring Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers and Oscar Levant.

Theatrical Trailer - Easter Parade (Re-issue)
Ttrailer for the 1948 MGM musical film "Easter Parade", starring Judy Garland, Fred Astaire, Peter Lawford and Ann Miller.

Theatrical Trailer - The Gay Divorcee
Theatrical trailer for the 1934 comedy-musical film "The Gay Divorcee" starring Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers and Edward Everett Horton.

Theatrical Trailer for ''In the Good Old Summertime''
Theatrical trailer for the 1949 musical film "In the Good Old Summertime" starring Judy Garland & Van Johnson.

Theatrical trailer for ''The Pirate'
Theatrical trailer for the 1948 musical film "The Pirate", starring Judy Garland and Gene Kelly.

Theatrical Trailer for ''Till the Clouds Roll By''
Theatrical trailer for the 1946 musical film "Till the Clouds Roll By".

Theatrical Trailer for ''The Harvey Girls''
Theatrical trailer for the 1946 musical film "The Harvey Girls", starring Judy Garland, John Hodiak, Angela Lansbury, Virginia O'Brien, Ray Bolger, and Marjorie Main.

Theatrical Trailer for ''Meet Me In St Louis''
Trailer for "Meet Me In St Louis", a 1944 musical film starring Judy Garland, Margaret O'Brien, Mary Astor, Lucille Bremer, Tom Drake, Leon Ames, and Marjorie Main.

Theatrical Trailer for ''For Me and My Gal''
Trailer for the 1942 film "For Me and My Gal", starring Judy Garland, Gene Kelly and George Murphy.

Theatrical Trailer for ''Ziegfeld Girl''
Theatrical trailer for the 1941 film "Ziegfeld Girl", starring James Stewart, Judy Garland, Hedy Lamarr, and Lana Turner.

Theatrical Trailer for ''Swing Time''
Theatrical trailer for the 1936 RKO comedy-musical film "Swing Time", starring Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. It is infamous today for a number in which Fred Astaire appears in blackface, even if it was intended as a tribute to Bojangles.

Two Plus Fours - John C. Flinn
With Bing Crosby, Harry Barris, Al Rinker (The Rhythm Boys), Nat Carr, Thelma Hill, Ed Dearing, Spec O'Donnell.

Come on George! - Jack Kitchin
From IMDb: George befriends a race horse only to discover that it has a reputation for attacking any jockey that comes near it just before a big race. There are the inevitable gang of villains, car chases, a comic brain specialist and a girl for George to fall for and to sing his cheeky-chappie songs at. Stars: George Formby, Patricia Kirkwood, and Joss Ambler.

It's in the Air - Basil Dean and Jack Kitchin
From Wikipedia: George Brown (George Formby) is rejected by the Home Guard, and in doing so sees his potential to join the Royal Air Force. His dreams could soon come true as he realizes that in fact his friend has left behind some very important papers. He dons a his Royal Air Force uniform and delivers the papers when he is mistaken for a dispatch driver from head office. He soon becomes the butt of jokes from his sergeant which ends him staying on definitely at the air base...

I See Ice - Basil Dean
From Wikipedia: The film depicts the adventures of a photographer working for a local newspaper. Stars: George Formby, Kay Walsh, and Betty Stockfeld.

Zouzou AKA Zou Zou - Arys Nissotti
From Wikipedia: Along with Princesse Tam-Tam, this is one of only two notable films starring Josephine Baker. (Spoiler alert!) From the Wikipedia entry for "Zouzou": "As children, Zouzou and Jean are paired in a traveling circus as twins: she's dark, he's light. After they've grown, he treats her as if she were his sister, but she's in love with him. In Paris, he's a music hall electrician, she's a laundress who delivers clean underwear to the hall.

Reaching for the Moon - Joseph M. Schenck
Bing Crosby's first solo film performance.



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