Friday 14th June 2013
Friday14th was the second time that I had visited the delightful village of Capel-le-Ferne in Folkestone to talk about the Worlds Greatest Entertainer - Al Jolson.
It gives me great pleasure to be able to introduce the magic of Al Jolson to non Jolson people and to see the look of surprise on their faces when they hear some of the non Jolson tracks such as Lazy, I Got Lucky In The Rain, I'll See You In My Dreams etc.
The evening was in two halves, with the first half being all about Jolson the man and his achievements. The second half was all about the voice that thrilled the world during the late 1940s, and it gave me the opportunity to "chat" non scripted about Jolson and play some more of his songs.
I finished off the first half of the evening with two audio visuals. The first showed the Jolson Memorial being built with a mixture of old photographs and the new ones I took while in LA for the recent Jolson Festival. The accompanying song was When I Leave The World Behind, the Kraft Music Hall version. This was followed by another Kraft song, Let Me Sing And I'm Happy with pictures of Jolson throughout his career. A couple of people admitted that they had tears in their eyes when they watched the presentation on the Jolson memorial, and one person said that she wanted that recording to be played at her own funeral.
The second half looked briefly at Jolson's life with 4th wife Erle and then about the two actresses that played his wives on screen. I of course spoke about Barbara Hale and her delightful appearance at the Palm Springs Festival. To finish the evening off I played a 30 minute compilation of musical highlights from the two biographical films.
Jolson Society member and event Organiser John Oliver had given me a nice introduction and at the end of the evening he thanked me and told the audience that I seem to find something new every time he sees one of my presentations.
The Folkestone Evening was a pure delight. The attendees were appreciative of the chance to hear and learn about Jolson. I was also asked if I would be interested in talking to other groups about Jolson, and several people took my contact details. These local Jolson shows are proving popular with this being the second one this year. I currently have two more Jolson evenings in the pipeline, one towards the end of this year and the other has yet to set a date.