Mantrap 1926

Source: Mantrap 1926


Radio in the Roaring 1920’s


Silent Movies didn’t start talking until 1927 when Warner Bros. released “The Jazz Singer.”  The film ran 89 minutes and grossed almost four million in the U.S. and another three million worldwide.



Radio, on the other hand, had been going strong for years.  By 1923, some three million Americans owned radios, although most of them were crystal sets with earphones.  Programming was mostly: baseball, news, music, and advertising.

Crystal Setscrysradio3



Pretty Girl

Sugar Foot

Five Foot Two

Henpecked Blues

[If you don’t have time to listen now, Bookmark this page on your Browser, and revisit sometime when you have fifteen minutes and a cup of coffee.]


Tube Radio Radio


In 1922, President Harding became the first President to be heard on radio.  It was not a political message but a dedication to the composer of the “Star Spangled Banner” Francis Scot Key.  The first political message came three years later from President Coolidge.


In 1927 radios started appearing in cars



The Marconi Transmitting Station, Marin County California

Marconi Bolinas Transmit Site 1913

In 1914, the stations in Bolinas (transmitting) and Marshall (receiving) could receive messages from New Jersey and retransmit them to Hawaii.

The novel Midnight Run 1932 fictitiously uses this facility in its bootlegging activities.


And last but not least, 



Al Capone’s 1928 Cadillac was equipped with a police band receiver.


Al Capones car

Clara Bow

Clara Bow

“We had individuality. We did as we pleased. We stayed up late. We dressed the way we wanted. I used to whiz down Sunset Boulevard in my open Kissel, with several red Chow dogs to match my hair. Today, they’re sensible and end up with better health. But we had more fun.”  Clara Bow 1905-1965

1920 Kissel

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The Silent Movie Era


The Silent Movie Era: 1895 to 1929. 

It was widely believed that this form of entertainment appealed mostly to the illiterate because stories were told without words.  Music played a major role in creating the story’s atmosphere and giving the audience emotional clues.

You have to think those “illiterate” moviegoers knew something.  Here’s one of the era’s most popular starsLouise Brooks.

Louise Brooks4

Louise Brooks


More on Louise Brooks

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