Fag: NORAM 4503 Popular Music in the United States as a Reflection of American Culture

Oppgavetype: Semesteroppgave

Tidspunkt: Våren 2005



”There’s No Business Like Show Business” – The story of the Hollywood musical in relation to American society


The 1890s and the early 1900s saw the emergence of Western popular culture and modern mass media, due to a variety of economic, technological and cultural reasons. Motion pictures, popular music, radio, tabloid newspapers, magazines and comics changed the concepts of communication and cultural expression in a profound way. The United States played a very significant part in the invention, development and distribution of these arts and media, and American society and values have influenced, been reflected in and been defined by these cultural expressions. One genre of the motion picture, the musical, effectively combined the art of music and the art of film, and was one of the most popular and dominant genres from the birth of the sound film until its decline around 1970. In this essay, I will analyze how the story of the Hollywood musical is related to elements of, and changes in, American society.

The film musical was a hybrid of two different traditions of entertainment. On the one hand, there was the tradition of live musical shows. This tradition has its roots in the minstrel shows of the 19th century, which had both white and black artists painting their faces black before performing. Musically, the minstrel show tradition formed an important foundation for ragtime, and its most important composer, Stephen Foster, became an inspiration to many of the Tin Pan Alley composers of the early 20th century. However, criticism against this rather racist show tradition eventually grew, and along with the decline of the minstrel shows, a new form of stage entertainment, vaudeville, became popular. These shows combined songs with various sketches and tricks. Tony Pastor was one of the pioneers within vaudeville, and opened his first theater as early as 1865. The best and most popular of the vaudeville performers tended to end up on Broadway, the new theater street in the growing entertainment capital New York. The sophisticated musical shows on Broadway grew more and more spectacular, and eventually replaced minstrel shows and vaudeville entirely. The most significant pioneers of the modern American musical theater were George M. Cohan and Florenz Ziegfeld, who both produced a long string of successful and elaborate revues in the first three decades of the century.1 On the other hand, there was the tradition of the silent motion pictures, which had been invented in the 1890s and was America’s fifth largest industry by the mid-1920s. Even though experiments to include sound in films had been undertaken by Thomas Edison and others as early as the 1890s, it was not until Al Jolson sang “Blue Skies” and “My Mammy” in Warner Bros.’ The Jazz Singer in 1927 that a satisfactory combination of these two traditions materialized. The audience’s massive attraction to the film made the studios reorganize and modify everything for sound, and the sound film and the genre of the film musical were born.2

The Jazz Singer tells the story of the son of a Jewish cantor who decides to turn his back on family tradition to become a vaudeville entertainer. It is a portrait of how many immigrants who came to America around the turn of the century tried to preserve and protect the culture of their homeland, but nonetheless saw their children being assimilated by the dominant culture. It thus deals with one of the most central themes of “the American experience.” The film also paved the way for one of the two major subgenres of the film musical, the so-called backstage musical, which usually focuses on the preparation and the performance of a (professional or amateurish) stage musical. The other major subgenre, the integrated musical, incorporates song and dance numbers to advance the story line, develop characters and express feelings and moods.

The musicals that followed The Jazz Singer were often stagey and stilted adaptations of musical theatre, but were still popular with both audiences and critics, as is evidenced by the fact that The Broadway Melody won the Academy Award for Best Picture in 1929 and made more than $1.5 million at the box office.3 However, Rudy Behlmer claims that “[A]lthough all of the studios glutted the market with musicals in 1928, ’29, and ’30, the law of diminishing returns had set in by the early ‘30s.”4 Audiences were no longer captivated by the mere novelty of capturing sound and dance numbers on film. In order to regain the interest of the audience, film musicals had to become more separate and distinguishable from their stage predecessors, and they eventually developed a unique film language. Arguably the most important person in this progress was Busby Berkeley, a former Broadway choreographer and director, who started to make movies in 1930. He understood that the medium of the film musical demanded a new approach, different from that of the stage musical, and experimented with photography, lighting and choreograhpy to create an entirely new and exciting audiovisual experience.5

In general, a lot of talented Broadway performers were recruited by the Hollywood studios. Even though many of them did not have the acting talent required to make it in Hollywood movies, some performers became more famous and successful as a result of the transition. One example of this phenomenon is Eddie Cantor. Whereas Al Jolson’s career gradually waned after the introduction of the sound film, Cantor’s career reached new levels of success in movies such as Whoopee, The Kid From Spain and Roman Scandals. On a slightly different note, virtually all the songs used in film musicals (for the first thirty years, at least) were taken from the Tin Pan Alley/Broadway tradition, also known as the “Great American Songbook,” the most famous composers of which were George and Ira Gershwin, Irving Berlin, Cole Porter, Jerome Kern, Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart, Johnny Mercer and Harold Arlen. Benny Green claims that this musical tradition was influenced by Austro-Hungarian operettas, the British comic operas of Gilbert and Sullivan, and the American tradition of live musical shows mentioned earlier,6 and Yngve Blokhuns points out that the tradition was also influenced by African-American jazz.7 The songs were either written especially for the films, or, more often than not, taken from existing stage shows or the back catalogs of the individual composers.

The Depression affected the story of the film musical on two different levels. First, it gave movies in general, and musicals in particular, a greater audience. Since many people could no longer afford to go to musical theatres, concerts or night clubs or buy records in the same way as before the stock market crash, they had to choose more inexpensive alternatives for entertainment. And the film musical could provide elaborate song and dance numbers without costing too much.8 Secondly, it influenced the contents of the musicals. A minority of them tried to deal directly with the problems caused by the Depression. Not surprisingly, it was Warner Bros., the studio most closely associated with naturalism and the socio-economically lower classes of America, that produced this minority of musicals. Ronald Bergan says about Warner Bros. that “no studio better evoked the Depression, both in the content and look of its films. ... Even Warners’ musicals with their spectacular kaleidoscopic dance numbers by Busby Berkeley, were hard-edged, set in a seedy show business milieu peopled with gold-digging chorus girls and middle-aged sugar daddies.”9 In 1933 alone, the studio produced 42nd Street, Footlight Parade and Gold Diggers of 1933. The ironic song “We’re In The Money” was written for the latter, and has since become a standard Depression song, alongside “Brother, Can You Spare A Dime.”

The vast majority of Hollywood musicals in the 1930s, however, served as escapist fare for audiences tired with the hardships and difficulties of real life. Examples of this trend are the MGM movies with Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy (including Rose Marie and New Moon) and Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney (including Babes In Arms and Strike Up the Band), and the Fox musicals with Alice Faye (including Sing, Baby, Sing and On the Avenue). By far the most popular and critically acclaimed (both then and now) musicals of this kind, however, were the RKO films with Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. Their string of mid-30s musicals includes classics like The Gay Divorcee, Swing Time, Top Hat, Shall We Dance and Follow the Fleet. The stories in this kind of films took place in a world where politics, economics and problems did not really exist. Colin Shindler claims about these musicals and their like that they “take place in the happy Hollywood never-never land of economic security.”10 It was this trend of light-hearted musical comedy that was to prevail in the decades that followed, and this is probably one of the reasons why musicals in later years gained a reputation for being uninteresting and mindless entertainment. This is somewhat of a shame, because some of these musicals, despite their reluctance to deal with social or ideological issues, must be considered genuine works of art.

One Hollywood musical of the thirties that needs to be discussed in some detail is MGM’s The Wizard of Oz. Released in 1939, generally considered the best year in American cinema history, the film touched both contemporary and later Americans in such a way as few other films have ever done. Its rather unusual plot (for a musical) deals with a teenage girl named Dorothy (played by Judy Garland) and her fantasy adventures in the land of Oz. This idea of somehow escaping one’s problems and entering a land of joy and happiness, accompanied by the iconoclastic song “Over the Rainbow,” whose lyrics proclaim


Somewhere over the rainbow

Way up high,

There's a land that I heard of

Once in a lullaby

Somewhere over the rainbow

Skies are blue,

And the dreams that you dare to dream

Really do come true

Someday I'll wish upon a star

And wake up where the clouds are far

Behind me

Where troubles melt like lemon drops

Away above the chimney tops

That's where you'll find me

Somewhere over the rainbow

Bluebirds fly

Birds fly over the rainbow

Why then, oh why can't I?

If happy little bluebirds fly

Beyond the rainbow

Why, oh why can't I?[,]11


was extremely appealing to a generation of Americans who had just experienced the worst recession the country had ever suffered and who was just about to enter a war against the most inhumane ideology and empire the world had ever seen. The film became the third highest grossing film in the US in the 1930s, and has remained a favorite among audiences and critics alike for nearly seven decades.12 Its theme of dreaming of a better world seems to be of perennial concern with Americans, and the film has long since gone from being a mere motion picture to being an omnipresent entity in American culture. John Fricke, the world’s leading authority on the film, claims that “[R]eferences to Oz phrases, characters, and music can be heard almost daily in other films, sitcoms, media references, comedy clubs, pulpits, and casual conversations.”13 On another level, its highly effective use of Technicolor ushered in the age of color musicals with immediate efficiency. Within a few years, musicals shot in black and white musicals constituted a small minority.14 Color would be yet another instrument that musicals would employ to capture the attention of the audience.

American involvement in World War II affected the story of the Hollywood musical, although not as much as the Depression did. Robin Cross points out that the studios initially were isolationist, but that they started to produce interventionist and patriotic movies when they found out that such films could be profitable.15 Some of these, like The Great Dictator, Sergeant York and – especially – Casablanca, would go on to be among the most beloved movies in American cinema history. Several musicals that were specifically intended to boost war morale were also made, but none of these can be said to have penetrated the American film canon to a high degree. The ruling trend was to make musical extravaganzas that featured an all-star cast. The studios often used all the stars they had under contract (with or without musical talent) in the making of this type of musical. The most notable examples of this phenomenon are Hollywood Canteen, Stage Door Canteen, Thank Your Lucky Stars, Star Spangled Rhythm, This Is the Army and Thousands Cheer. An exception to this rule is the rather low-key, personal (and somewhat underappreciated) For Me And My Gal, starring Judy Garland and Gene Kelly. Even though it is set during World War I, the film is obviously a plea for passionate fighting for justice, freedom and the American way in WWII. The 1942 Paramount musical Holiday Inn, starring Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire, also needs to be mentioned in this context. Even though its plot has nothing to do with the war, it still struck a chord with the American public and soldiers in this regard. When Crosby introduced Irving Berlin’s nostalgic and sentimental “White Christmas” for the first time in the film’s most memorable scene, civilians and war personnel alike could not help thinking of their loved ones overseas/back home and the good times they had spent together. The song went on to become arguably the most well-known and best-loved song of the entire century. On a more general level, the majority of musicals continued to be purveyors of escapism and fantasy both during and in the years after the war.

Throughout the thirties, African-Americans and other ethnic minority groups were not given much representation in musicals. When they did appear, they were billed as novelty acts and often portrayed as rather dim-witted. This changed somewhat in the beginning of the forties. Due, in part, to stars like Lena Horne, African-American performers were slowly and gradually allowed to become a part of the mainstream. MGM signed Horne to a long-term contract, the first of its kind given to an African-American.16 And in 1943, the studio made the first musical with an all-black cast, Cabin In the Sky. Later that year, Fox made another musical that featured an all-black cast, Stormy Weather. Horne starred in both these films. Minority performers were starting to gain acceptance in the world of Hollywood films, but still had a long way to go.

One particular genre of the film musical that was born in the thirties and gained massive popularity in the forties was the musical biopic, or biographical picture. These movies told the life stories of famous composers or performers of the past or present. They were often wildly inaccurate and usually distorted actual historical events, and were more than anything an excuse to put all the famous and popular song and dance numbers associated with a composer or performer into one picture. Nonetheless, they were largely adored by American audiences of the time, often made lots of money at the box office, and were even awarded Academy Awards now and then.17 Notable examples include The Great Ziegfeld, Yankee Doodle Dandy (about George M. Cohan), Rhapsody In Blue (about George Gershwin), Till the Clouds Roll By (about Jerome Kern), The Jolson Story, Night And Day (about Cole Porter) and Words And Music (about Rodgers and Hart).

Even though the immediate postwar years represented the peak of cinema attendance and popularity, the Golden Age of filmmaking had effectively ended by the early 1950s. A variety of factors contributed to this development: The studios’ control over the performers ended, HUAC brought unrest and paranoia to Hollywood and a Supreme Court ruling ended the tradition of “block booking.” The greatest enemy to the motion picture industry, however, was television. In the first five years of the fifties, television spread to almost every home in the US, and people would spend more time at home instead of going to the movies. The studios had to find new ways of attracting people, and one way of doing this was by introducing new widescreen formats. Up until 1953, virtually all American movies had been filmed in the 4:3 format. But the techniques of Cinemascope and other systems allowed for a 2,35:1 format, which looked far more impressive than a small TV set. Another way to attract audiences was to improve the sound effects. Stereophonic sound had been made possible, and sounded a lot better than the monaural sound of the past.18 The musical had been the first genre to embrace the use of color, and would also be among the first to employ the new formats and techniques available. All these tumultuous events did not prevent the studios from producing what would become some of the greatest and best-loved musicals in American cinema history, however. Singin’ In the Rain, An American In Paris, The Band Wagon and Seven Brides For Seven Brothers are early fifties films that still attract very favorable criticism and have large fan bases.

The fifties would bring about more profound changes a few years later. The rock’n’roll revolution of 1955-56, the general awareness of the generation gap and the whole concept of “teenage” culture that had developed in the 1950s were fast assimilated by the film studios, who wanted to make profitable movies that appealed to these “rebels without a cause.”19 Elvis Presley, Little Richard, Bill Haley, Chuck Berry, Jerry Lee Lewis, Connie Francis and many other rock’n’roll artists sang and danced in several movie musicals that incorporated this new musical phenomenon. Even though many of them were exploitative and not really very good, some of these rock musicals proved to be works of high quality and left a legacy of many outstanding and truly influential songs. Among the best are Jailhouse Rock, The Girl Can’t Help It, Rock Around the Clock, Rock, Rock, Rock, Mr. Rock And Roll and King Creole. The songs in these musicals were no longer taken from the Tin Pan Alley/Broadway tradition. They were rock songs, and they were written either by songwriters like Leiber and Stoller and Otis Blackwell or by the artists themselves, like Little Richard and Chuck Berry did. This initial wave of rock’n’roll did not last too long, however, and was declared passé by 1959.20 This phenomenon’s influence on American culture would nonetheless prove to be incalculable, and its resurrection in the next decade would drastically affect the story of the Hollywood musical and American society in general.

The conventional film musical continued to exist, however, both during and after this initial wave of rock’n’roll. Film musicals started the early sixties pretty much in the same way as they had left the fifties. Rock’n’ roll had died out (and, sadly, so had many of its stars), Elvis had been rendered harmless and was making bland run-of-the-mill movies, and musicals were still largely purveyors of escapism and light entertainment. One trend that had been started in the latter part of the fifties and was developed further in the sixties was to film more and more direct adaptations of stage musicals. The most popular stage musicals that were up for adaptation were the ones written by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II, and included Oklahoma!, The King And I, Carousel, South Pacific and The Sound of Music. The latter won the Academy Award for Best Picture in 1965, and would become the greatest film musical success of the entire century, as it was the third highest grossing film of the century, second only to Gone With the Wind and Star Wars.21 In general, film musicals had become more epic in their scope. This was necessary to attract an ever more demanding movie-going audience. Other popular and critically acclaimed film adaptations of the early sixties include West Side Story, The Music Man, Gypsy and My Fair Lady. Both the former and the latter won Best Picture Oscars, and, in 1968, Oliver! would be the fourth film musical of the decade to win this prestigious award.

This period of popularity and critical acclaim for the film musical was not going to last, however. To paraphrase Bob Dylan, “the times they were a-changin’.” After Beatlemania and the so-called British Invasion of 1964, the American folk music movement of the early sixties developed into folk-rock, and later psychedelic rock and other varieties of rock music. The rock’n’roll phenomenon of the fifties had been resurrected and reinforced. This musical development is almost inextricably a part of the counterculture that had been emerging among young people for the last couple of years and exploded onto the mainstream scene in 1967 with the Monterey Pop Festival. The movement’s place of birth and epicenter was San Francisco. American acts like The Byrds, Jefferson Airplane, The Grateful Dead, Janis Joplin, Bob Dylan, The Doors, The Velvet Underground and many others gained enormous popularity and influence in the latter half of the sixties.22 The epitomy of the counterculture movement was the Woodstock festival of August 1969, where reportedly no less than 300,000 people attended. Colin Larkin says about Woodstock that “although there are some critics of the ‘love generation’ few can deny that Woodstock was a milestone in musical history. It is no exaggeration to claim that the festival totally changed the world’s attitude towards popular music.”23

1967 was also a very significant year for American cinema, as the highly popular and extremely influential The Graduate and Bonnie And Clyde, both released that year, initiated the second Golden Age of American cinema, also known as the American new wave. Both films brought something entirely new and fresh to their respective genres and to movies in general. They dealt with serious themes in a creative, personal and realistic way. A new generation of academically trained filmmakers was also emerging, including Francis Ford Coppola, Martin Scorsese, Steven Spielberg, Woody Allen, George Lucas, Sam Peckinpah, Arthur Penn and others. In 1968, the Production Code of 1934 was replaced by a multipart ratings system, which gave directors a greater freedom in the making of their films.24 This trend of a rejuvenated cinematic approach lasted until circa 1980, and the epoch is elaborately analyzed in Peter Biskind’s book Easy Riders, Raging Bulls – How the Sex, Drugs And Rock’n’Roll Generation Changed Hollywood.

Unlike what happened with rock’n’roll in the mid-fifties, the genre of the film musical and its producers seemed hopelessly unable and/or unwilling to incorporate or to adjust to these cultural, musical and cinematic changes. Whereas most other genres, like drama, science fiction, western, horror and the gangster movie, responded to these changes of American society (including, to some extent, changes in musical expression) and cinematic stylistic approaches, the musical continued to be a source of light and pleasant entertainment. This development, or rather lack thereof, becomes evident in 1969, a year from which the cinema highlights include the masterpieces Butch Cassidy And the Sundance Kid, Midnight Cowboy, The Wild Bunch, They Shoot Horses, Don’t They? and Easy Rider. In the same year, the major film musicals were the somewhat anachronistic Hello, Dolly!, Paint Your Wagon and Sweet Charity. Not only did they receive almost unanimously poor reviews, these films also performed poorly – even lost money – at the box office.25 It became clear that the film musical had lost its status as a major Hollywood genre and was no longer capable of attracting a mass audience, particularly a young audience. It is telling that the only major film musical dealing with and taking its plot and songs from the counterculture period, Hair, was not released until 1979. The stage musical, upon which the film was based, premiered in 1968, and had the film version been made in 1969, others might have followed in its wake. This is just hypothetical speculation, however, and in reality, the heyday of the film musical was effectively over by the early 1970s.26

In the three decades that followed the counterculture movement, the musical eventually became a peripheral and not particularly significant film genre in American culture. None of the musical genres that evolved – punk rock, disco, new wave, grunge, heavy metal and others – seemed to be easily and credibly adaptable to the medium of feature film musicals. Some mildly successful hip hop musicals (like Krush Groove and House Party) were made, but they were seemingly only singular efforts. The popular music of this period, to a large degree, found its audiovisual expression in the medium of the music video and specialized television channels like MTV.27 The majority of the few musicals that were made in the ‘70s, ‘80s and ‘90s were either based on older popular music genres and/or adapted from stage musicals (and most of them were made in the ‘70s). This does not mean that inventive, popular and critically acclaimed musicals were not made at all. Among the most important examples of noteworthy musicals from this period are Fiddler On the Roof (1971), Cabaret (1972), Jesus Christ Superstar (1973), Grease (1978), All That Jazz (1979), Fame (1980), Pennies From Heaven (1981), A Chorus Line (1985) and Evita (1996). Furthermore, music continued to play an important part in films (as background music), and in dance films like Saturday Night Fever (1977), Flashdance (1983) and Footloose (1984), the musical soundtrack was just as important as the plot. A not insignificant niche of the film world was filled by animated films, predominantly made by Walt Disney Productions. After the Disney renaissance of the eighties, the studio produced hit after hit of animated musicals in the nineties. Beauty And the Beast, Aladdin and The Lion King were all extremely popular with both audiences and critics, and were eventually transformed into highly successful Broadway musicals.28

The beginning of the 21st century indicated that the genre of the film musical was perhaps not dead after all. The highly inventive Moulin Rouge, directed by Baz Luhrmann and released in 2001, utilized almost every musical genre of the 20th century, including songs by Nirvana, Dolly Parton and Rodgers and Hammerstein, in its depiction of a 19th century love story. It was a smash hit with audiences, and received mostly very favorable reviews. Its success paved the way for 2002’s Chicago, which was an adaptation of the seventies’ stage musical of the same name. Starring Catherine Zeta-Jones, Richard Gere and Renée Zellweger, it was an enormous success, and won the Academy Award for Best Picture. Not many musicals have followed in the wake of these two, however, and the future of the Hollywood musical remains uncertain, at best.

In this essay, I have shown how the Hollywood film musical was born when the two traditions of live musical shows and motion pictures came together in The Jazz Singer in 1927, and how musicals became incredibly popular with the American movie-goers. Both the contents and the fortunes of the Hollywood musical were influenced by elements of, and changes in, American culture and society, like the Depression, World War II and the teenage culture of the fifties. The genre’s decline and downfall were, to a large degree, caused by its reluctance and/or incapability to respond to the musical and cultural changes of the counterculture of the sixties, and it has therefore been confined to operate in the periphery of American culture for the past 35 years.



1 The development of this tradition of live musical shows is described in Blokhus, pp 63-67 and 106-109; Larkin (editor), pp 17, 1152-1153, 1986 and 5998-5999


2 The development of the motion picture industry and the history of sound experimentation are described in Corey (editor), pp 17-50; Karney (editor), pp 14-213; Sklar, pp 3-157


3 Shindler, p 4


4 Behlmer, p 7


5 The development of a unique film musical language and the importance and influence of Busby Berkeley are discussed by Gene Kelly, narrator, That’s Dancing!; Behlmer, p 8; Larkin (editor), p 491


6 Green, pp 39-40


7 Blokhus, pp 109-120


8 Blokhus, p 109


9 Ronald Bergan, in Karney (editor), p 212


10 Shindler, p 161


11 Music by Harold Arlen, lyrics by E. Y. “Yip” Harburg, sung by Judy Garland in The Wizard Of Oz


12 Larkin (editor), p 5899


13 Fricke, p 3


14 Corey (editor), p 539


15 Robin Cross, in Karney (editor), p 306


16 Barry ZeVan, narrator, Hollywood Musicals of the 40’s


17 The Great Ziegfeld won the Academy Award for Best Picture, Best Actress and Best Dance Direction, and was nominated for many more; Yankee Doodle Dandy won the Academy Award for Best Actor, Best Score and Best Sound, and was nominated for Best Picture and others


18 This historical period of development within American cinema is described in Corey (editor), pp 61-79; Karney (editor), pp 391-449; Sklar, pp 249-305


19 Blokhus, pp 146-160; Larkin (editor), p 1085


20 Blokhus, p 165


21 Various Internet sites verify this:




22 This musical and cultural development is described in Blokhus, pp 166-204 and 219-245; Larkin (editor), pp 22-23


23 Larkin (editor), p 5917


24 This cinematic development is described in Ronald Bergan, “The New Wave,” in Karney (editor), pp 492-493; Corey (editor), pp 85-86; Sklar, pp 321-338


25 Hello Dolly! cost $24 million to produce, but only made $15.2 million at the box office; Paint Your Wagon cost between $17 and $20 million to produce, but only made $14.5 million at the box office; Sweet Charity made so little money that its loss almost ruined Universal Pictures (source: http://www.allmovie.com)


26 Corey (editor), p 539


27 The rise of the music video and MTV is described in Blokhus, pp 352-354


28 The Disney studio and the individual films are described in Larkin (editor), pp 440-441, 1543-1545, 3256-3257



Hollywood Musicals of the 40’s. Executive producer Dante J. Pugliese. Written by Robert Weaver. Narrated by Barry ZeVan. Passport International Productions, 1998.


Hollywood Musicals of the 50’s. Production controller Jeanette Pugliese. Narrated by Mark Allen Bollinger. Passport International Productions, 1997.


Hollywood Musicals of the 60’s. Producer Dante J. Pugliese. Directed by Everette Jbob Webber. Written by Chris Case. Narrated by Greg O’Niel. Passport International Productions, 1999.


That’s Dancing! Directed, produced and written by Jack Haley Jr. Executive producer Gene Kelly. Hosted by Gene Kelly, Sammy Davis Jr., Liza Minnelli and others. MGM/United Artists, 1985.


That’s Entertainment! Directed, produced and written by Jack Haley Jr. Executive producer Daniel Melnick. Hosted and narrated by Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby, James Stewart, Gene Kelly, Fred Astaire, Liza Minnelli, Mickey Rooney, Elizabeth Taylor and others. MGM/United Artists, 1974.


That’s Entertainment, Part 2. Directed by Jack Haley Jr. and Gene Kelly. Produced by Daniel Melnick and Saul Chaplin. Hosted and narrated by Gene Kelly and Fred Astaire. MGM/United Artists, 1976.


That’s Entertainment! III. Directed, produced, edited and written by Bud Friedgen and Michael J. Sheridan. Hosted by Gene Kelly, Lena Horne, June Allyson, Cyd Charisse, Mickey Rooney and others. MGM, 1994.


The Wizard of Oz. Directed by Victor Fleming. Produced by Mervyn LeRoy. Performed by Judy Garland (Dorothy Gale), Frank Morgan (The Wizard), Ray Bolger (The Scarecrow), Bert Lahr (The Cowardly Lion) and Jack Haley (Tin Tin Woodsman). MGM, 1939.


Approximately 130-160 other individual musicals.



Behlmer, Rudy. 1998. “Come On Along And Listen To...,” in Atkins, Vanessa (editor). 1998. Warner Bros. 75 Years Of Film Music. Rhino Entertainment Company. pp 4-35.


Blokhus, Yngve and Molde, Audun. 1996. WOW! Populærmusikkens historie. Universitetsforlaget AS.


Burlingame, Jon. 1998. “Changing Times, Changing Tunes,” in Atkins, Vanessa (editor). 1998. Warner Bros. 75 Years Of Film Music. Rhino Entertainment Company. pp 38-69.


Corey, Melinda and Ochoa, George (editors). 2002. The American Film Institute Desk Reference. Dorling Kindersley Publishing, Inc.


Felteinstein, George. 1995. “Celebrating the MGM Dream Factory” and “Thirty Years Of MGM Magic,” in Bradford, Marilee; Flanagan, Bradley and Feltenstein, George (producers). 1995. That’s Entertainment! The Ultimate Anthology Of MGM Musicals. Turner Entertainment Co. pp 8-36 and 37-71.


Fricke, John. 1995. The Wizard of Oz. Turner Entertainment Co.


Green, Benny. 1993. “Of Porter, Rodgers and Hart, Ellington, Berlin, the Gershwins, Arlen, Kern, and Mercer....,” in Pullman, Peter (editor). 1993. The Complete Ella Fitzgerald Song Books. Verve, 1993. pp 32-69.


Karney, Robyn (editor). 2002. Cinema Year by Year 1894-2000. Dorling Kindersley Publishing, Inc.


Larkin, Colin (editor). 1998. The Encyclopedia Of Popular Music. Muze Inc.


Shindler, Colin. 1996. Hollywood in Crisis: Cinema and American Society 1929-1939. Routledge.


Sklar, Robert. 1994. Movie-Made America. Vintage Books.



Various artists. George And Ira Gershwin In Hollywood 2-CD set. Turner Entertainment Co., 1997.


Various artists. Irving Berlin In Hollywood. Turner Entertainment Co., 1999.


Various artists. That’s Entertainment! The Ultimate Anthology Of MGM Musicals 6-CD set. Turner Entertainment Co., 1995.


Various artists. Warner Bros. 75 Years Of Film Music 4-CD set. Rhino Entertainment Company, 1998.


Various artists. The Wizard of Oz The Deluxe Edition 2-CD set. Turner Entertainment Co., 1995.