Sunday, March 10, 2013

Jan Savitt

TCM is airing the short Jan Savitt and His Orchestra overnight at about 3:35 AM, just after the TCM Import Made in USA. Warner Bros. made quite a few of these one-reelers through the 1940s looking at various musical talent, much of which is B-level and not known to anybody today. I know that I for one had never heard of Savitt before the first time I saw this short.

It tells the story of Savitt, or at least "a" story about him; I have no idea how accurate it is: Savitt was working in a big-city orchestra, but wanted to do his own thing, since he was clearly too talented for the orchestra. So he came up with his own band that has its own sound. At this point we get a tune or two; one with singing, and one where the accompaniment is an acrobatic act that would be more suited to the circus. The suits at Warner Bros. must really have been trying to shoehorn talent into their short films.

This is a fairly pedestrian short from 1956, and what I found most interesting came about after I watched the short. I looked for more info on Savitt, and it turns out the poor guy died in his early 40s after suffering a massive hemmorhage while on tour with his band. The poor folks at Warner Bros. who has been promoting him obviously could have had no way of knowing what was going to happen to Savitt.

There's a lot of Savitt's audio available on Youtube, but the short doesn't seem to have made it in its entirety to Youtube.

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