Coda
bamboozled?
I think the idea of a musical really struck a positive note
with Columbia [Pictures]. I guess they know singing and
dancing Negroes sell.—spike lee (on School Daze) (1988)
You know, when we did the preview of our movie Hooray
for Love, which was sixty years ago, people came out of
the audience and hugged and kissed us and said, ‘‘Oh,
how wonderful,’’ and blah blah blah, and I thought to my-
self, ‘‘How wonderful if it could be like this forever’’ . . .
but it’s sixty years later and I really haven’t seen too many
changes.—jeni legon (Bill Robinson’s Dance Partner in
Hooray for Love) (1998)
As we have seen, the aesthetic and commercial successes—qualified in
each instance—of Stormy Weather and Jammin’ the Blues did not spur ex-
pansion or imitation, or even particularly redirect the black-cast musical
or musical short. Whether considered in the short term, which usually
characterized the Hollywood studios’ cyclical method of product (and
genre) development, or in the relative long term, there followed from
these films neither a series of reflections on black entertainers and enter-
tainment in America nor further attempts at the respectfully inventive
depiction of black musical performance. The wedges these films drove
into thinking about apt depictions of black musical performance, both
in the film industry and in the largest segment of its audience, were
apparently too thin to create openings for anything more innovative
than a Nat ‘‘King’’ Cole Musical Story ‘‘featurette’’ (1955), St. Louis Blues,
or the interracial numbers in, for instance, A Song is Born (1948) and
High Society (1956). Still, as studio-era, industrially integrated Holly-
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