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Show Boat, part 2 December 21, 2007

Posted by Jeff in 1929 through WWII, Jerome Kern, Movies, Musicals, Oscar Hammerstein II, Show Boat, Theater.

Show Boat has an unjustified association with financial ruin, and not just for Julie and Steve. The original production was blamed for Florenz Ziegfeld’s bankruptcy, although in fact it was a smash success. And the financial and critical success of this version wasn’t enough to prevent the founder of Universal Pictures, Carl Laemmle, from being forced out as studio head later that year.

Show Boat is very much a work of its time, especially in its racial attitudes. I’m not going to even try to defend the characters portrayed by Hattie McDaniel or even Paul Robeson, but I will point out that the scene in which Julie and Steve escape the charge of miscegenation (i.e. interracial marriage) was, with good reason, considered groundbreaking for its day.

(NOTE: today’s section runs 29:22)


The “miscegenation scene”

Julie & Steve leave; Ravenal is hired

Ravenal sings “I Have The Room Above Her”

Nola, Gay and Frank perform “The Drunkard”

Hillbillies disrupt the performance


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1. V.E.G. - January 11, 2010

Queenie Smith was born in England to Austrian Parents Henry and Sadie Smith. I found it in the census records.

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