The Jolson Story

Synopsis: This movie shows the idealized career of the singer Al Jolson, a little Jewish boy who goes against the will of his father in order to be in showbiz. He becomes a star, falls in love with a non-Jewish dancer, and marries her. In the end he chooses success on the stage.
Director(s): Alfred E. Green
Production: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  Won 2 Oscars. Another 1 win & 5 nominations.
128 min

Over here.

Steve Martin's the name.

It grew.

Thank you. Tell you what I'll do.

You call out a tune, and I'll play it.

Stay in Your Own Backyard.

Too dirty back there.

- Any other tune?

- Banks of the Wabash.

Banks of the Wabash. All right.

Now I'll tell you what I'll do.

I'll play it if you folks will sing it. Right?

The key of C, Professor.

So you won't sing?

Am I asking you to do me a favor?

I'm doing you a favor.

When you sing, what happens?

Your lungs get full of oxygen.

It puts roses on your cheeks.

As a matter of fact, you either sing out,

or you get out.

Now that we understand each other,

let's go, Professor.

The breath of new-mown hay

Through the sycamores

the candle lights are gleaming

on the banks of the Wabash, far away

Fine. Stand up and let the folks see you.

Don't be bashful. Come on, stand right up.

Come on, folks, let's make him stand up.

Attaboy! Let's have it again.

Give that boy a spotlight!

Professor, let's have the chorus again.

Oh, the moonlight's fair tonight

along the Wabash

From the fields there comes the breath

of new-mown hay

Through the sycamores

the candle lights are gleaming

on the banks of the Wabash

far away

- What's your name?

- Asa Yoelson.

Are you in show business?

No, sir, I'm not.

Where'd you learn to sing like that?

I sing with my father at the synagogue.

- Where?

- At the...

The synagogue!

Wait a minute!

Sonny, wait a minute!

Answer me, Asa.

Where were you all that time?

You came like someone

who is running a race.

It's not good to run a race with God, Asa.

Where were you, Asa?

I was... singing.

You mean you stayed home?

- Practicing, is that what you mean?

- No.

Then where were you singing?

Stop cracking your knuckles.

In the street, maybe?

That's not exactly where I was singing.

Singing prayers in the street.

- No, not exactly.

- Exactly?

You must have been exactly somewhere...

singing exactly something...

- and for some exact reason.

- Yes, Papa.

My name is Martin.

I'd like to talk to you for a minute.

Hello, Asa.

You're Cantor Yoelson. I'm Steve Martin.

- How do you do?

- I'm glad to know you.

Your son has a real voice.

You were at the synagogue today

for the service?

Me? No. I just went by there to find out

where you lived.

Then where did you hear my son sing?

- At Kernan's.

- Kernan's?

Yeah. The burlesque house

a few blocks from here.

The burlesque theater?

- Don't you ever go there?

- No, I do not.

That boy's got a future in show business.

I've looked for something like him

for a long time.

I'd like to make him a regular part of the act.

You've nothing to worry about.

I'm booked solid for the season.

I move on to Baltimore tonight.

- Baltimore.

- I know he's pretty young...

but when a boy's got a voice like that,

he ought to let people hear it.

You're right, Mr. Martin. Asa will sing.

But where his people have always sung.

I know how you feel.

It's a beautiful thing to sing in church,

but there's a lot to say for the theater, too.

If you're worried

about my taking care of him...

Excuse me, Mr. Martin.

I think I know what's best for my son.

I was afraid that's how you'd feel about it.

Sorry, Asa.

- Good night.

- Good night.

I want your promise

that you'll never go to that place again.

I can't.

- I can't promise.

- Go to your room.

Ann, go downstairs and get a ladder.

Put it here.

- Why?

- Hurry up. Get the ladder.

What'd you bring me here for?

Why don't you let me find Steve Martin?

What kind of a car was that

you jumped out of?

A cattle car.

What difference does that make?

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Stephen Longstreet

Stephen Longstreet (April 18, 1907 – February 20, 2002) was an American author. Born Chauncey (later Henri) Weiner (sometimes Wiener), he was known as Stephen Longstreet from 1939. He wrote as Paul Haggard, David Ormsbee and Thomas Burton, and Longstreet, as well as his birth name. The 1948 Broadway musical High Button Shoes was based on Longstreet's semi-autobiographical 1946 novel, The Sisters Liked Them Handsome. Under contract at Warner Bros. in the 1940s, Longstreet wrote The Jolson Story and Stallion Road, based on his novel of the same name and starring Ronald Reagan. He later wrote The Helen Morgan Story, and as a television writer in the 1950s and 1960s he wrote for Playhouse 90. Longstreet's nonfiction works include San Francisco, '49 to '06 and Chicago: 1860 to 1920, as well as A Century on Wheels, The Story of Studebaker and a Jewish cookbook, The Joys of Jewish Cooking, that he wrote with his wife and occasional collaborator, Ethel. The world of jazz was a constant theme throughout Longstreet's life. A number of his books dealt with jazz, Including Jazz From A to Z: A Graphic Dictionary, his 100th book, published in 1989. He died on February 20, 2002. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018


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"The Jolson Story" STANDS4 LLC, 2020. Web. 13 Aug. 2020. <>.

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