O'Voutie O'Rooney (1947)

Run Time - 16 min.  |   Countries - USA  |  
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O'Voutie O'Rooney is a rarity of its time period -- an extended live performance film of a popular music artist. It features Slim Gaillard and his trio in 1947 performing live at Billy Berg's Nightclub in Los Angeles. It was made by Poverty Row director Jack Rieger, who numbered among his other credits Yiddish musicals and sporting events such as boxing matches. O'Voutie O'Rooney was marketed as a short film by indie distributor Astor Pictures, who tagged it along with feature films made for all-black cinemas. In a simple, almost television-type style, it captures the bizarre songs and performance style of Gaillard, who was then one of the most popular performers in black entertainment. It also preserves the huge bassist Bam Brown's equally interesting and zany support of Gaillard; while it is less known, Brown's work is more complimentary to the star than Gaillard's more famous collaboration with Slam Stewart. Finally, Scatman Crothers, today renowned mostly for other things, was exercising only one of his many talents on this date as Gaillard's energetic and charismatic drummer. This is the Scatman's second earliest appearance on film and predates his studio recordings, though his career as an entertainer began on radio in 1932.