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Our holdings include hundreds of glass and film negatives/transparencies that we've scanned ourselves; in addition, many other photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs) in the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) They are adjusted, restored and reworked by your webmaster in accordance with his aesthetic sensibilities before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here. All of these images (including "derivative works") are protected by copyright laws of the United States and other jurisdictions and may not be sold, reproduced or otherwise used for commercial purposes without permission.

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[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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The Jazz Driver: 1927

The Jazz Driver: 1927

"Al Jolson and Cadillac touring car at St. Francis Hotel, San Francisco, 1927." The year he made talkie history in "The Jazz Singer." 5x7 glassneg. View full size.

On Shorpy:
Today's Top 5

Part # H-125

That hood ornament is "The Cadillac Herald" (also known as the "Trumpet Tooter"), designed in 1926 by the sculptor Edward Everett Burr. It was available as an aftermarket item through a Canadian accessory house. In 1929 it became an official Cadillac part when the division put it in its accessory catalog - leading many to believe that it stood for heralding in the new 1929 models.

Jewelry designer Hans Brassler made a display version that featured real gems in the Cadillac crest on the herald's tunic. The original ornament was nickel-plated and a chrome reproduction was made in the 1970s (the reproduction is seen in the previous post).

Today the image is recreated in pewter by the Cadillac & LaSalle Club in the form of an award given to a person or group that has "promoted or generated conspicuous recognition for the Cadillac marque or important activities of the Cadillac & LaSalle Club."

Trumpeter hood ornament

I shared Baxado's impression of the hood ornament, but apparently Cadillac used this symbol during this period. It's a great design.

[Indeed. -tterrace]

Hood Ornament

That hood ornament is a riot. Never seen one on any car from that era (or any other for that matter).

I wonder if that was specially made for Al?

[Thanks everyone. That's why I love Shorpy, because you learn so much about things you never knew]

Odd twist of fate

Mr. Jolson died at this very hotel 23 years later, uttering these prescient final words "Boys, I'm going!"

Not the Dreaded Golf?

The other chap's plus fours and Jolson's rather louche attire (for a city as self-consciously formal as San Francisco used to fancy itself) suggest that the insidiously seductive pastime has either recently taken place or is soon to do so.

Not just big in pictures

Al came from the projection era, not the microphone era.

He had to project to the back of the room when he was on stage.

I've read that he was quite the character on and off the stage. He also entertained for the troops quite often.

I think he was a hit with the ladies, too-his fourth and final wife was considerably younger than him, and quite the looker.

From Vaudeville to burlesque, Al did it all.

Swanee Shoes

Those shoes Al is wearing looks like something freshly re-purposed from the Swanee River.

Socks, pro and con

The plus-fours look pretty silly.

On the other hand, I'd like to see socks make a comeback in baseball. They would be a big improvement over the current pajama-bottom pants, long enough for a player to trip on.

Big in Pictures

I never really thought about how tall Al Jolson was. While the cars were probably higher than ours today, I'd still say he's not basketball player material.

No disrespect intended, from 78's and film it seems he exuded so much vitality he was the biggest thing wherever he appeared. His public persona was not a self-doubting one.


Something that should never *ever* come back in fashion.

Such clarity

Another courageous Shorpy posting of a vehicle without blurred/pixelated license plates! I'd personally love to see one of these San Francisco classics to cross the bridge to Oakland for an accident staged by Harry Whittier Frees.

SHORPY HISTORICAL PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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