Throwback Thursday #3: A Song Is Born (1948)

Professor Hobart Frisbee proclaimed “Gentlemen, I am an Idiot, an absolute idiot… do you realize that since we’ve been cooped up here that music has changed, and changed considerably. I’ve been completely unaware of this situation. However, I tend to rectify it immediately… gentlemen, I’m going out… out into the world, out of this house, out to tap the major sources of this new music.” then the other men in the room, all white save one, spurt out, “boojie-woojie?” “toobie-dixie?” “jum?” “jive?” “swing?” “blues?” “rhe-bobbety-boobity-bip?” “rhebop?

The 1948 film, A Song Is Born was produced by Samuel Goldwyn (the ‘G’ in MGM) and directed by influential director, Howard Hawks whom also directed the original Scarface produced by Hollywood legend Howard Hughes. The film starring Danny Kaye and Virginia Mayo is a musical and Technicolor remake of the 1941 film, Ball of Fire with Gary Cooper. The plot focuses on a professor writing an encyclopedia about music with fellow scholars and are introduced to jazz by two black window washers Buck and Bubbles played by the performance group of the same name with Ford L. Buck and John W. ‘Bubbles’ Sublett (whom talent at dancing was the inspiration for Michael Jackson‘s naming of his famed pet chimpanzee.)

The movie also starred musical legends Tommy Dorsey, Benny Goodman, Louis Armstrong, Lionel Hampton and Benny Carter in addition to other other musical acts of the era. I haven’t actually seen the film yet, but I stumbled across it today on YouTube while researching Louis Armstrong. Anyone seriously into music definitely should see it. It’s available for viewing on YouTube and it can be purchased on DVD for relatively cheap on

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