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Dick Rich and His Synco-Symphonists (1928)

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Title: Dick Rich and His Synco-Symphonists (1928)

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Credited cast:
Dick Rich ...
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Sid Austin ...
The Dean Twins ...
Cheri Rich ...


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Release Date:

July 1928 (USA)  »

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Did You Know?


Vitaphone production reel #2594. See more »


Chlo-e (Song of the Swamp)
Music by Neil Moret
Lyrics by Gus Kahn
Performed by Dick Rich (vocal) and His Synco-Symphonists during the opening credits
Also sung by Cheri Rich with Dick Rich and His Synco-Symphonists
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It's best when the focus is solely on Rich and his orchestra.
10 July 2014 | by (Bradenton, Florida) – See all my reviews

Dick Rich and his orchestra are featured in this early sound short from Vitaphone. Recently, several sets of Vitaphone shorts have been assembled by scouring the world for both the film prints and accompanying sound discs used in the shorts during the 1920s (by the 30s, they'd switched to the far superior method of putting the sound on the film strip's edges). Because of this project, many completely forgotten vaudevillians and musicians are now available to see for the first time in many decades.

It's funny, but at the beginning of the film, Rich made a comment about Paul Whiteman--a much more famous band-leader of the era. In fact, Rich is the spitting image of Whiteman--like his long lost twin! As for the content, when it's just Rich and his orchestra, they are marvelous. The opening tune is probably the best but their 'whitified'* version of "St. Louis Blues" is also quite pleasing...if played a bit too fast. However, when dancers and the lady singer arrive...the short bogs down and you really are left wanting more of the band. Still, compared to most of the Vitaphone shorts of the 20s, this is among the best and is worth seeing.

*Whitified is a word of my own invention. It refers to when great tunes created by black performers were later remade and cleaned up to appeal to wider audiences. Often this meant slowing down the songs and occasionally cleaning up racy lyrics. This did NOT just begin in the rock 'n roll era when the likes of Pat Boone remade songs like "Tuti Fruiti" but long, long ago.

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