March 03, 2007

As part of its current pledge break programming, PBS is running a fine documentary called Soundies: A Musical History. "Soundies" were three-minute filmed musical performances that could be viewed on video jukeboxes in bars and nightclubs in the early 1940s; they were precursors to modern music videos. The documentary features interviews with the musicians and producers who made the films, and with historians talking about their impact. Best of all, of course, is the restored footage of these performances, from (among many others) Count Basie, Louis Armstrong, Fats Waller, Doris Day, Yvonne DeCarlo, Kay Starr -- the list goes on, and the performances are a joy to see. Soundies aired in Los Angeles tonight, and will be popping up in other cities over the next week or two; you should definitely keep an eye out for it.

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