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The Black Network (1936)

 |  Musical, Short  |  4 April 1936 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.7/10 from 59 users  
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The owner of a shoe polish company sponsors a radio show that showcases black performers. Since his wife's father put up the money to be the sponsor, she insists on singing on the show. She... See full summary »



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Cast overview:
Nina Mae - Radio Singer
The Nicholas Brothers ...
Dance Team
The Washboard Serenaders ...
Washboard Serenaders
Emmett 'Babe' Wallace ...
Babe (as Babe Wallace)
Amanda Randolph ...
Mezzanine Johnson
Bill 'Basement' Brown ...
Brutus Johnson


The owner of a shoe polish company sponsors a radio show that showcases black performers. Since his wife's father put up the money to be the sponsor, she insists on singing on the show. She goes on after the main star, singer Nina Mae McKinney. The wife sings so badly that the sponsor's customers abandon him. He is forced to shine shoes on street corners, while Nina Mae and her boyfriend win a bet on a daily number and end up on easy street. Written by David Glagovsky <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Musical | Short






Release Date:

4 April 1936 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Broadway Brevities (1935-1936 season) #20: The Black Network  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The film's title is a satirical reference to radio's National Broadcasting Company (NBC), which divided its programming between two networks, "The Red Network" and "The Blue Network." See more »


Featured in Added Attractions: The Hollywood Shorts Story (2002) See more »


St. Louis Blues
Written by W.C. Handy
Performed by The Washboard Serenaders
See more »

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User Reviews

Historically interesting...and occasionally very impressive.
26 August 2010 | by (Bradenton, Florida) – See all my reviews

This is one of the DVD extras included with "Hallelujah". And, like "Hallelujah", the films feature all-black casts. Considering that these films were made by mainstream Hollywood studios (MGM and Warner Brothers), seeing such films today might surprise audiences. They also serve as nice historical records of this bygone era.

This film is set at a fictional black-run radio station and consists of various musical acts of the day. Some are amazing and great when seen today--such as the Nicholas Brothers (tap dancers on a radio show?!) and Nina Mae McKinney (who also starred in "Hallelujah") and some are not so hot (like the opening number and one that was supposed to be bad--the sponsor's wife!). My favorite was the band's scat version of "Ochi Chornya (Dark Eyes)"--it really hummed and was better than other versions I've heard--speeding it up helped and the band was amazing.

So is this great viewing? Probably not for the average viewer. But for historical reasons or if you like 1930s music, this might be right up your alley.

By the way, you might find reading McKinney's biography on IMDb. It's incredibly sad but interesting as well when you read about how this talented lady was almost totally forgotten when she died a very early death.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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