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The song

April Showers

published in 1921, music written by Louis Silvers and lyrics by B. G. De Sylva-

was a favoured tune of a past generation.

First performed in the Broadway musical Bombo by

legendary vaudeville, jazz, blues singer Al Jolson-

the song became a Jolson signature.

Al Jolson was an American stage/cinema actor and singer.

At the height of his career, he was called

“The World’s Greatest Entertainer”.

In the 1930s he was America’s most famous and highest-paid performer.

Widely remembered as starring in the first talking motion picture

The Jazz Singer, 1927-

he was first in other circumstances as well.

During World War II, he was the first celebrity

to entertain American soldiers overseas.

In 1950, he would repeat this generous action

as the first entertainer to perform for

military personnel during the Korean War.

His show schedule was ardurous, 42 performances in just 16 days.

He died a few weeks after returning to the United States

from the Korean War tour.

Al Jolson was later honored with the Medal of Merit,

which was given to his family by then Secretary of Defense George Marshall.

(image from newsday.com):

al jolson, classic pose, singer

Al Jolson (1886 – 1950)

strikes his classic pose

He often performed in ‘blackface’ makeup-

a controversial theatrical tradition dating back to the mid-19th century.

Yet, from early on in his career, he was known to

actively champion the rights of Black performers on the Broadway stage

and for speaking out against discriminatory practices against

Black actors.

Al Jolson

sings April Showers

Chicago Soldiers Field concert, 1949