Full page view
HISTORY

The 11 May 1928 and 5 Jun 1928 editions of Film Daily announced actor-singer George Jessel’s next picture for Tiffany-Stahl Productions, Inc., as The Ghetto, based on the short story, “The Schlemiehl” by Viola Brothers Shore. A news item in the 28 May 1928 Film Daily noted that Jessel had taken a brief vacation after finishing the picture in Hollywood, CA. The 28 Jul 1928 Motion Picture News listed the release date as 1 Aug 1928, and the film was reviewed in the 30 Jul 1928 Exhibitors Daily Review.
       One month later, a scheduled re-release date of 1 Feb 1929 appeared in the 1 Sep 1928 Motion Picture News. The 12 Sep 1928 Var claimed that Jessel had just completed a musical version of the picture, although the 15 Oct 1928 Exhibitors Daily Review reported that the songs had not yet been recorded.
       On 3 Nov 1928, Motion Picture News announced Jessel’s first talking film as Lucky Boy, with production scheduled to begin immediately. The 24 Nov 1928 issue stated that photography had begun on 16 Nov 1928 at RCA Studios in New York City, under the supervision of Rudolph Flothow. Location shooting was planned for various parts of the city. The 23 Nov 1928 Exhibitors Daily Review reported on a press luncheon the previous day, sponsored by Tiffany-Stahl to publicize the film. The article also noted that the scenes currently in production were intended as revisions for The Ghetto, which had been completed ...

More Less

The 11 May 1928 and 5 Jun 1928 editions of Film Daily announced actor-singer George Jessel’s next picture for Tiffany-Stahl Productions, Inc., as The Ghetto, based on the short story, “The Schlemiehl” by Viola Brothers Shore. A news item in the 28 May 1928 Film Daily noted that Jessel had taken a brief vacation after finishing the picture in Hollywood, CA. The 28 Jul 1928 Motion Picture News listed the release date as 1 Aug 1928, and the film was reviewed in the 30 Jul 1928 Exhibitors Daily Review.
       One month later, a scheduled re-release date of 1 Feb 1929 appeared in the 1 Sep 1928 Motion Picture News. The 12 Sep 1928 Var claimed that Jessel had just completed a musical version of the picture, although the 15 Oct 1928 Exhibitors Daily Review reported that the songs had not yet been recorded.
       On 3 Nov 1928, Motion Picture News announced Jessel’s first talking film as Lucky Boy, with production scheduled to begin immediately. The 24 Nov 1928 issue stated that photography had begun on 16 Nov 1928 at RCA Studios in New York City, under the supervision of Rudolph Flothow. Location shooting was planned for various parts of the city. The 23 Nov 1928 Exhibitors Daily Review reported on a press luncheon the previous day, sponsored by Tiffany-Stahl to publicize the film. The article also noted that the scenes currently in production were intended as revisions for The Ghetto, which had been completed seven months earlier. The 2 Mar 1929 Exhibitors Herald-World credited Charles C. Wilson with directing the New York City sequences.
       According to the 14 Nov 1928 Var, Jessel hired agent Abe Meyer to secure the two worst vaudeville acts in New York City for an amateur show sequence. Meyer chose Joe Sevely and a sister act known as Patty and Fields. The 9 Jan 1929 edition stated that the mother of the two sisters objected to their appearance in the scene, fearing that it might damage their professional reputation. However, she relented after learning that Jessel was the star. Filming of the scene was recounted in the 1 Dec 1928 Exhibitors Herald and Moving Picture World. Almost the entire morning was spent setting the stage and rehearsing the actors. The amateur show performers included a thirty-year vaudeville veteran who could smoke a cigarette and drink water while standing on his head. Audience sounds were pre-recorded. The entire process was interrupted at noon when bells sounded from the nearby Brick Presbyterian Church at Fifth Avenue and 37th Street. Songwriter Abel Baer made a brief screen appearance (19 Dec 1928 Var), and theatrical stage manager Ted Athey assisted with dialogue sequences (25 Aug 1929 Film Daily).
       The completion of filming was reported in the 15 Dec 1928 Motion Picture News. The 29 Dec 1928 issue quoted Tiffany-Stahl executives, who anticipated $2 million in gross profits from the film, duplicating the success of the first talking feature, The Jazz Singer (1927, see entry). On 20 Jan 1929, Film Daily announced that Tiffany-Stahl branch manager Phil Meyer had secured engagements at all Loew’s theaters in the Greater New York City area, beginning with the Capitol Theatre in mid-Feb 1929. The 12 Jan 1929 Exhibitors Herald-World reported a preview screening held eight days earlier at the Embassy Theatre on Broadway. The highly publicized event was well attended, and audience response was said to be positive.
       As stated in the 29 Jan 1929 Film Daily,Tiffany-Stahl director of advertising and publicity Al Selig arranged a cross promotion with Lucky Strike cigarettes through the Lord & Thomas and Logan advertising agency. In addition to newspapers and magazines, the campaign included a radio promotion featuring George Jessel, to be broadcast weekly on The Lucky Strike Hour, originating from WEAF in New York City (later known as WNBC).
       Lucky Boy opened on 2 Feb 1929 in fifty-two theaters across the U.S., as reported in the 5 Feb 1929 Film Daily. An article in the 18 May 1929 Motion Picture News stated that Shagnin Brothers Road Show Co. was exhibiting the film throughout the state of Utah using a portable device designed for theaters that were not wired for sound.
       Reviews were mixed, with several critics noting similarities between the Jessel’s character and Al Jolson in The Jazz Singer. However, the 12 Jan 1929 Harrison’s Reports asserted that Jessel lacked Jolson’s “warmth” and “depths of emotion.” The musical score featured what would become Jessel’s signature song, “My Mother’s Eyes,” described in the Mar 1929 Photoplay as a “tear-oozer.”
       Shortly after the film was released, articles appeared in the 9 Feb 1929 and 23 Feb 1929 editions of Harrison’s Reports, accusing Tiffany-Stahl of not honoring its contractual obligations to exhibitors who purchased The Ghetto. The studio allegedly claimed that those sales were cancelled because the picture was never completed. The articles proved otherwise and urged exhibitors to demand satisfaction from Tiffany-Stahl.

Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Educational Screen
Mar 1929
p. 82
Exhibitors Daily Review
30 Jul 1928
p. 2
Exhibitors Daily Review
15 Oct 1928
p. 4
Exhibitors Daily Review
23 Nov 1928
p. 2
Exhibitors Herald and Moving Picture World
1 Dec 1928
p. 22
Exhibitors Herald-World
12 Jan 1929
p. 54
Exhibitors Herald-World
2 Mar 1929
p. 40
Film Daily
11 May 1928
p. 4
Film Daily
28 May 1928
p. 4
Film Daily
5 Jun 1928
p. 4
Film Daily
6 Jan 1929
p. 10
Film Daily
20 Jan 1929
p. 1
Film Daily
29 Jan 1929
p. 6
Film Daily
5 Feb 1929
p. 2
Film Daily
25 Aug 1929
p. 6
Harrison's Reports
12 Jan 1929
p. 6
Harrison's Reports
9 Feb 1929
p. 24
Harrison's Reports
23 Feb 1929
p. 32
Motion Picture News
27 Jul 1928
p. 309
Motion Picture News
28 Jul 1928
p. 309
Motion Picture News
1 Sep 1928
p. 754
Motion Picture News
3 Nov 1928
p. 1387
Motion Picture News
24 Nov 1928
p. 1586
Motion Picture News
15 Dec 1928
p. 1810
Motion Picture News
29 Dec 1928
p. 1918
Motion Picture News
13 Jul 1929
p. 232
Motion Picture News
18 May 1929
p. 1698
New York Times
25 Feb 1929
p. 16
Photoplay
Mar 1929
p. 49
Picture Play
Jun 1929
p. 71
Screenland
Apr 1929
p. 76
Variety
12 Sep 1928
p. 5
Variety
14 Nov 1928
p. 34
Variety
19 Dec 1928
p. 49
Variety
9 Jan 1929
p. 11
Variety
23 Jan 1929
p. 26
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Charles C. Wilson
Dir
Dir sd seq
WRITERS
Dial and titles
Titles
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Addl photog
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITORS
Film ed
Film ed
SET DECORATOR
Set dresser
MUSIC
Mus score
Mus cond
SOUND
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the short story, "The Schlemiehl" by Viola Brothers Shore (publication date unkown).
LITERARY SOURCE AUTHOR
SONGS
"Lucky Boy" and "My Mother's Eyes," by L. Wolfe Gilbert and Abel Baer; "Old Man Sunshine," "My Real Sweetheart" and "Bouquet of Memories," by Lewis Young and William Axt; "My Blackbirds Are Bluebirds Now," by Irving Caesar and Cliff Friend; "California Here I Come," by Al Jolson, B. G. DeSylva and Joseph Meyer.
SONGWRITERS/COMPOSERS
+
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
The Ghetto
The Schlemiehl
Release Date:
2 February 1929
Premiere Information:
silent version initially released on 1 Aug 1928; New York opening: mid-Feb 1929
Production Date:
silent version completed in Apr 1928; sound sequences filmed 16 Nov--early Dec 1928
Copyright Info
Claimant
Date
Copyright Number
Tiffany-Stahl Productions, Inc.
4 February 1929
LP100
Physical Properties:
Silent with sound sequences
Talking seq and mus score by RCA Photophone
Black and White
Length(in feet):
8,708
Length(in reels):
10
Country:
United States
Language:
English
SYNOPSIS

Georgie Jessel, a jeweler's son from the Bronx, New York, wants to break into show business, despite his father’s disapproval. After being rejected by several theatrical managers, he decides to put on a show of his own by renting a neighborhood theater for one night. Georgie sells tickets to friends and neighbors, but is still unable to afford the rent and has to cancel the show. The humiliated Georgie goes to San Francisco, California, where he becomes a success singing in a nightclub, and finds love with Eleanor Ellis. When his mother falls ill, Georgie returns to New York City and wins the starring role in a Broadway musical. After performing a special kindness for Eleanor's mother, Georgie finally receives permission to marry her daughter, thereby making his happiness ...

More Less

Georgie Jessel, a jeweler's son from the Bronx, New York, wants to break into show business, despite his father’s disapproval. After being rejected by several theatrical managers, he decides to put on a show of his own by renting a neighborhood theater for one night. Georgie sells tickets to friends and neighbors, but is still unable to afford the rent and has to cancel the show. The humiliated Georgie goes to San Francisco, California, where he becomes a success singing in a nightclub, and finds love with Eleanor Ellis. When his mother falls ill, Georgie returns to New York City and wins the starring role in a Broadway musical. After performing a special kindness for Eleanor's mother, Georgie finally receives permission to marry her daughter, thereby making his happiness complete.

Less

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

TOP SEARCHES

I Love Trouble

The working title of this film was The Double Take ... >>

Citizen Kane

This film's end credits begin with the statement, “Most of the principal actors in Citizen Kane are new to motion pictures. The Mercury Theatre is proud ... >>

Star Wars

The film’s title card is preceded by the statement: “A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away....” Afterward, a prologue reads: “It is a period of ... >>

Her Man

The 23 Mar 1930 FD reported that writer Thomas Buckingham was currently working on an original story to be directed by Tay Garnett for Pathé Exchange, Inc. ... >>

The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.