In 1926 Sam Warner took his car to a garage to have its tires pumped up. He was watching the tires inflate when suddenly the mechanic started dancing with the air pump while singing the Appalachian song ‘Cumberland Gap’. Warner went into such shock that he had to be admitted to the nearest hospital. For two days he remained in a catatonic state, and when he finally got over the trauma, he called his brother Jack and told him what he had witnessed. Jack laughed about it and said that the mechanic must be a crackpot. But his brother said he thought that he had had a profound revelation. And began to tell him his idea of ​​shooting a movie in which the protagonist suddenly began to sing without prior notice. “At that time I thought he was still under the shock”, Jack would recognise years later. Until then, when a Hollywood producer wanted to shoot a musical, he had to figure out how to put the musical and dance numbers on a stage. It was an unwritten rule of Hollywood that the public wouldn’t understand that an actor suddenly bursted to sing without any rational justification. (Many years before, Jack Warner had broken up with a woman that he loved because he thought she was crazy owing to her habit of singing ‘Swanee River’ every time they had sex.) However, on his return to the studio, Sam was still obsessed with that ridiculous idea. His brothers tried to talk him out of it, but all they got was that Sam hired the mechanic to teach Warner Bros. actors how to start singing all of a sudden every time they felt like it. Which was the beginning of musical film as it is today.

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