This week in 1927, on the eve of releasing the first “talkie” feature, a tooth infection rendered studio chief Sam Warner forever silent. But don’t let the story get you down: here’s a spin on a classic cocktail that raises the dead:
The History Lesson
The movie The Jazz Singer premiere. Your dinner party guests may know it was the first feature film with actual dialogue but they might not know that The Jazz Singer saved a movie studio and killed its CEO.
His name was Sam Warner. One of the four brothers behind Warner Brothers. Back then, it was a struggling studio. And its biggest star was a dog: Rin Tin Tin. Sam wanted to change that with something called “Vitaphone.”
It was a process that synched sound from a record with images on a screen. No one thought it was a big deal. Even Sam’s brothers. Especially after they released the first Vitaphone feature: “Don Juan.” It had sound effects, a music score, and it raked in tons of cash — just not as much as it cost to make. The studio was nearly broke.
But not for long! “The Jazz Singer” opened on October 6th 1927. And the audience went nuts when star singer Al Jolson uttered the first line of dialogue. It was a blockbuster — Warner Brothers hit the big time.
Sam didn’t live to see it, though. He’d been so busy with the movie? He hadn’t cared for his abcessed teeth. Which infected his brain and killed him — the night before The Jazz Singer’s debut.
The Corpse Reviver Royale
As exhumed and reanimated by Maxwell Britten, bartender at Freeman’s Restaurant in NYC… where “The Jazz Singer” is set and where the movie debuted:
Then, in a chilled coupe glass, add:
- 3/4 oz. gin
- 3/4 oz. Cointreau
- 3/4 oz. Lillet Blanc
- 3/4 oz. fresh lemon juice
- dash absinthe
Stir. Top off with champagne. Silently toast your companions. Drink and speak stirring words. Call your dentist and schedule a checkup.