29¢ Al Jolson
Issue Date: September 1, 1994
City: New York, NY
Printed By: Stamp Venturers
Printing Method: Photogravure
Perforations: 10.1 x 10.2
Born Asa Yoelson in Srednike, Lithuania, Al Jolson emigrated with his family to the United States when he was seven. The family settled in Washington D.C., where his father, a rabbi and cantor, hoped his son would follow in his footsteps. But religious music was not for Jolson, who began appearing in burlesque and vaudeville shows at age 13.
His exuberant singing style and personal magnetism made him a favorite with audiences and in 1911 he made his Broadway debut in La Belle Paree. It was during the production of Sinbad in 1918 that he made the Gershwin tune “Swanee” his trademark number. Other Jolson classics include “My Mammy,” “California, Here I Come,” “April Showers,” and “Toot, Toot, Tootsie.”
In 1927, the “king of pop” made film history when he starred in The Jazz Singer. The first feature film with synchronized speech, music, and sound effects, this picture revolutionized the motion picture industry and marked the end of the silent film era. Throughout the 1920s and ’30s Jolson continued to appear in films, and in 1946 the story of his life was filmed in The Jolson Story. A sequel, Jolson Sings Again, was filmed in 1949.