King of Jazz: Paul Whiteman’s Technicolor Revue tells the untold story of the making, release and restoration of Universal’s 1930 Technicolor musical extravaganza King of Jazz. This special limited edition hardcover book needs your help to get published!
King of Jazz was one of the most ambitious films ever to emerge from Hollywood. Just as movie musicals were being invented in 1929, Universal Pictures brought together Paul Whiteman, leader of the country’s top dance orchestra; John Murray Anderson, director of spectacular Broadway revues; a top ensemble of dancers and singers; early Technicolor; and a near unlimited budget.
The film’s highlights include a dazzling interpretation of George Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue,” which Whiteman had introduced to the public in 1924; Walter Lantz’s “A Fable in Jazz,” the first cartoon in Technicolor; and Anderson’s grand finale “The Melting Pot of Music,” a visualization of popular music’s many influences and styles.
The film is not only a unique document of Anderson’s theatrical vision and Whiteman’s band at its peak, but also of many of America’s leading performers of the late 1920s, including Bing Crosby in his first screen appearance, and the Russell Markert Dancers, who would soon become Radio City Music Hall’s famous Rockettes.
And that's not all. The film also includes the first screen appearance by the one and only Bing Crosby!
Authors James Layton and David Pierce have uncovered original artwork, studio production files, behind-the-scenes photographs, personal papers, unpublished interviews, and a host of other previously unseen documentation. The book will offer a richly illustrated narrative of the film’s origins, production and release, with broader context on its diverse musical and theatrical influences. The story will conclude with an in-depth look at the challenges Universal has faced in restoring the film in 2016, as told by the experts doing the work.
The 256-page book will be illustrated with over 200 color and black & white images, many of which will showcase the never-before-published Academy Award winning designs of Herman Rosse. Intricate behind-the-scenes stills will give insight into the scale of the film’s ambitions, while other full-color reproductions of original music arrangements, storyboards, posters, magazine ads, programs and frame enlargements will appear throughout.
The future of film history is in your hands. Find out more, watch the video below and visit the Kickstarter campaign page for this worthy project.