July 12, 1929:  First all-color “talkie” film aired in Duluth

On this day in Duluth in 1929, the Garrick Theatre presented the first all-color talking movie to be shown in Duluth. On with the Show, starring Betty Compson, Arthur Lake and Ethel Waters, was billed as “A new milestone of film progress! The first 100% natural color, talking, singing, and dancing picture, a Warner Bros. Vitaphone production” that also featured a “chorus of 100 dazzling beauties!” According to AllMovie.com, “This early talkie antique is a backstage musical from Warner Bros. The plot involves the out-of-town tryout of a new musical comedy, and the people who perform therein: a [mean] leading lady (Betty Compson), an arrogant comedy lead (Joe E. Brown), and a starstruck chorus kid (Sally O’Neil). At the very last moment, the leading lady refuses to go on, forcing the producer to put the chorus girl in her place. It turns out that the star’s seemingly rotten behavior was deliberately designed to give the chorine her big break. In between several Technicolor musical numbers (now only existing in black-and-white), we hear a lot of pedantic talk about ‘the show business.’ On with the Show’s sole virtue is the exquisite Ethel Waters, who introduces her hit song “Am I Blue?’” Ouch! Only a black-and-white print survives today; a 20-second color clip of the film was found in 2005.

A poster advertising the 1929 all-color movie “On With the Show.” (Image: Public Domain)