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Textbook Site for:
The American Pageant: A History of the Republic, Twelfth Edition
David M. Kennedy, Stanford University
Lizabeth Cohen, Harvard University
Thomas A. Bailey
Examining the Evidence Activites
Chapter 32: American Life in the "Roaring Twenties," 1919-1929

Examining Related Evidence: The Jazz Singer, 1927
This internet activity is based on the Examining the Evidence feature found on page 747 of The American Pageant, Twelfth Edition. Or you can view the feature here.

Most historians know that the Jazz Singer was the first "talkie", but few know what it was actually about! To investigate further read this review of the movie.

  1. What was the basic plot line in the movie?
  2. Is this a typical Hollywood story? Explain how the plot might have affected the movieís popularity.
  3. What was Jolsonís first line?
  4. Why did that line seem "prophetic?"
  5. What ethnic groups might feel insulted by this movie?
    You can also read a very detailed plot summary and see copies of posters advertising the movie.
  6. How were the artists who created these posters trying to sell the movie? Does anything about these posters surprise you?




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