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Between the Acts at the Opera (1926)

Credited as "The Howard Brothers", these two famous vaudevillians perform a signature stage routine.


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Cast overview:
Willie Howard ... Willie Howard (as The Howard Brothers)
Eugene Howard ... Eugene Howard (as The Howard Brothers)


Two friends step out between the acts of an opera. They initially discuss their take on this opera, and opera and music in general. But the discussion quickly degenerates into a comedy routine with each topic discussed ending in a one liner. They skewer such topics as schooling, friendship, wedding parties and marriage, college education, finances and the stock market, missing money, and life on the stage. It concludes with an impromptu operatic performance of their own. Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Comedy | Short







Release Date:

5 October 1926 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Howard Brothers in Between the Acts of the Opera See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Warner Bros. See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


(TCM print)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Vitaphone) (Western Electric Apparatus)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Vitaphone Production Reel #349 See more »


Willie Howard: The girl I marry must be beautiful, must come from a fine family, plus be well educated, plus have plenty of money, and so on and so on.
Eugene Howard: And so on and so on what?
Willie Howard: Sew on a couple of buttons once in awhile.
See more »


Featured in The Dawn of Sound: How Movies Learned to Talk (2007) See more »

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User Reviews

Despite being very old fashioned, it made me laugh a few times--and that's what 's important.
30 January 2012 | by MartinHaferSee all my reviews

Willie and Eugene Howard were a couple vaudeville comedians from the 1920s. Fortunately, Vitaphone was experimenting with their early sound system (with a recorded disc playing in sync with the film) and so we have a preserved copy of their musical-comedy routine.

The film is very stage-bound--like so many of the Vitaphone shorts. It comes off like seeing the brothers on stage with no audience--no laughs and like another reviewer astutely pointed out, the film lacks a little something because of this. But it still has some very funny moments. Oddly, however, after some very nice humor, the pair break into song--rather operatic music. I was actually pretty impressed by the singing--while it's not the style I like, they had very impressive voices. Because of this, they must have been very much in demand in their day--having a variety of talents.

As far as a rating goes, it's very hard to give this a score. Historically, it is mega-important and preceded "The Jazz Singer" by a year. I think comparing it to other comedy shorts of the day (and there are not many), it is very good and worth your time if, like me, you are a big fan of early sound films.

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