Description

Screen Songs is the name of a series of animated cartoons produced by the Fleischer Studios and distributed by Paramount Pictures between 1929 and 1938. They were revived by Famous Studios in 1945.

The Screen Songs are a continuation of the earlier Fleischer series Song Car-Tunes. They are sing-along shorts featuring the famous "bouncing ball", a sort of precursor to modern karaoke videos. They often featured popular melodies of the day. The early Song Car-Tunes were among the earliest sound films, produced two years before The Jazz Singer. They were largely unknown at the time because their release was limited to the chain of 36 theaters operated by The Red Seal Pictures Company, which was equipped with the early Lee DeForest Phonofilm sound reproduction equipment. The Red Seal theater chain—formed by the Fleischers, DeForest, Edwin Miles Fadiman, and Hugo Riesenfeld—went from the East Coast to Columbus, Ohio.

Between May 1924 and September 1926, the Fleischers released 36 Song Car-Tunes series, with 19 using the Phonofilm sound-on-film process. The films included Oh Mabel, Come Take a Trip in My Airship, Darling Nelly Gray, Has Anybody Here Seen Kelly?, and By the Light of the Silvery Moon. Beginning with My Old Kentucky Home (1926), the cartoons featured the "follow the bouncing ball" gimmick, that lead the audience singing along with the film. The other 17 films in the Song Car-Tunes series were silent, designed to be shown with live music in movie theaters.



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