First released in 1941, shortly after Hal ("Prince Hal") Kemp's death in 1940. This short was filmed (and completed) the day before Kemp was killed in a fatal automobile accident, and re-released in 1953. The music includes "The Joke's On You," sung by band vocalist Maxine Grey (and not by 'unidentified female vocalist), and "Trade Winds," sung by band vocalist Robert Allen (XIV) (and not by 'unidentified male vocalist'). The band also plays "I'll Be Missing You", and concludes with "Begin the Beguine," which was danced to by "an unidentified rhumba team." Just in case: This is not the same short as the 1938 Paramount short with the same title. Written by
Les Adams <email@example.com>
This is one of the later Vitaphone shorts--known as a "Melody Master". These later musical shorts generally were more straight forward and had simpler sets and no real story to tie it all together--just a famous band of the day doing their stuff.
As for my summary, I am talking about the popular tune "Begin the Beguine". While it's a nice tune, it was apparently beaten to death in these shorts, as Hal Kemp is something like the eighth performer to have done a cover of this song in the 63 shorts included on the "Warner Brothers Big Band, Jazz & Swing Short Subject Collection"! I really wish they'd picked a different tune! Apart from THE song, there are three other numbers. None of them are especially outstanding, though the fourth number was quite zippy and I liked the change of pace. Also, in "Tradewinds" I was a bit confused by the use of strange modified megaphones used over top of the clarinets in the song. It gave it an unusual warble but it sure looked tough to play that way! Still, the music itself and the film's style was about average.
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