Today is the anniversary of the release date of the Eddie Cantor movie Whoopee! (1930).
Cantor’s first talking feature, it was an adaptation of his hit 1928 Broadway stage show; both were produced by Flo Ziegfeld. (The movie was co-produced by Sam Goldwyn, hence the presence of his Goldwyn Girls). It’s most lasting legacy is of course the title song, covered by so many, perhaps most famously by Frank Sinatra. This film is also notable for having been shot in two-strip Technicolor. Star crossed lover plots across ethnic lines were very popular in the twenties; this concerns a young white girl (Eleanor Hunt) and her Native American lover Wanenis (Paul Gregory). And of course their nervous hypochondriac friend (Cantor). This is the first Eddie Cantor movie I ever saw — it was always have a special place in my heart.
To learn more about comedy film history please check out my new book: Chain of Fools: Silent Comedy and Its Legacies from Nickelodeons to Youtube, just released by Bear Manor Media, also available from amazon.com etc etc etc. To learn about the history of vaudeville, consult No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous, available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and wherever nutty books are sold.