Jolson Sings Again (1949) Movie Script

A million baby kisses I'll deliver
If you will only sing the Swanee River
Rock-a-bye your rock-a-bye baby
With a Dixie melody
- Julie?
- She has left, sir.
- When? Where to? Was she packed?
- Yes, sir.
- How long ago?
- About half an hour ago.
- Do you know where, Henry?
- All I know is the airport.
- New York.
- She wouldn't let me take her...
Thanks. Steve, see what you can get me
on the next plane out of here.
Do it, will you?
Henry, get me some stuff in a bag.
I don't get it.
If something was on her mind,
why not wait and talk?
You don't just get up and go.
It does not make sense.
And my pal Steve lets me stand out there
and sing my brains out for another hour.
Why doesn't he tell me?
Haven't I got a right to know
when she gets a crazy notion like this?
- Do you think it was so sudden?
- What else?
I am thinking of the questions
she asked tonight.
- What questions?
- Were you happy?
Did you think of singing anymore?
I have told her a thousand times.
You told her,
and tonight she heard you sing.
So what?
You saw it coming, Papa.
And Steve, everybody but me.
All right, so I sang.
The crowd was yelling,
she told me to go ahead.
So I got wound up a little.
I told her, it does not mean
a thing to me anymore.
I was happy this way, the way we were.
- Steve, how about it?
- Give me time, will you?
It is going to be all right, Mamma.
I hate to run away like this
on your anniversary party.
If not for my party,
if I did not have to see a night club...
Fine! Now we got tears,
everything is solved.
- Congratulations, Mamma.
- Mamma, don't be silly.
Don't you see,
whether we'd had the party or not...
You're all set. If you're going to make it,
you better get going.
It's ready, sir.
Goodbye, Mamma.
I do not know how long I will be gone.
If I do not get back soon...
anytime you want to go home,
Steve will take care of everything.
And I will see you in Washington, maybe.
Take care of yourself, Mamma.
You, too, Papa.
So long, Tom, Steve.
Wait a second,
I am driving you to the airport.
You may think you mean it, Al...
but you will never be happy
away from show business.
And someday, if I ever feel
you quit just for my sake...
if I am ever sure you want to sing,
more than you want me...
No, I am telling you, Steve,
there is not a trace of her.
She got here all right,
but didn't check in anyplace.
I have turned the town upside down.
She hopped in a car, I guess,
and just disappeared.
Steve, I need you.
How about you coming here?
- I will be there tomorrow.
- Good, I am waiting for you.
- So long, Al.
- So long.
Maybe I don't know my own mind,
but she was what I wanted.
The only thing I ever got for myself
outside of show racket.
But I guess I've just been kidding myself.
Love, a girl, a couple of words
I must have picked up out of a song.
If she says so,
I've been dying to sing all the time.
All I ever wanted was a cheering mob.
I will say this about the cheering mob:
That was love, brother.
For 20 years,
nobody ever walked out on me.
Okay, if she says so, I am back where I was.
Singing for a living.
And it ain't a bad feeling.
The only question now is:
How fast can I get back to work?
Tom, that script of yours
I read the other day back home, it's good.
That's the show I'd like to do, if you'll
take a chance with a character like me.
- I'll consider it.
- I want to start right away.
- First thing tomorrow.
- Why not tonight?
Why don't we kick it around?
Where's the script?
- I don't walk around with it.
- Let us get it.
Why didn't I bring the one
we had in California?
You mean this one?
You dog. Come to papa.
Is it true what they say about Dixie?
Does the sun really shine all the time?
Do the sweet magnolias blossom
at everybody's door?
And do folks keep eating possum
till they can't eat no more?
Is it true what they say about Swanee?
Is a dream by that stream so sublime?
Do they laugh, do they love
like they do in every song?
If it's true, that is where I belong
I said do they laugh
Do they love
like they do in every song?
That's pretty.
If it's true, that is where I belong
Al, you're on.
The bells are ringing for me and my gal
The birds are singing for me and my gal
Everybody's been knowing
to a wedding they are going
And for weeks they've been sewing
every Susie and Sal
They are congregating for me and my gal
The parson is waiting for me and my gal
And sometime, I am going to build
a little home for two
for three or four or more
In Loveland, for me and my gal
The bells are ringing for me and my gal
The birds are singing for me and my gal
And sometime, I am going to build
a little home for two
or three or four or more
In Loveland, for me and my gal
If you do not mind, that's all tonight.
What's the matter, Al?
Go on with the show.
Leave me out of the finale.
I tell you, nothing is the matter.
Just comes a night that...
How long can you go on
knocking yourself out?
For what? Their $4 and their applause?
Holy smoke! Don't know what hit me.
- I never walked off like that in my life.
- What's the matter, Al?
I just can't take it anymore.
I used to live for this.
The kick is gone. It is just hard work now.
So what am I killing myself for?
What am I getting out of it?
You were always telling me,
how about something for myself?
How about it? That's what I want now,
some laughs, fun.
Just for me.
What happened to you?
Sit down, Tom.
I think we got some news for you.
The boy is sick, Papa.
This he tries to hide from us.
- Papa, you agree or not?
- I agree.
So why do you sit?
Because it is a sickness not for doctors.
Please, no riddles.
Mamma, just go on pasting
in Asa's scrapbook.
You will understand.
Where will he get
a good Jewish meal over there, Papa?
Mamma, without Jewish meals,
Gentiles are surviving year after year.
Monte Carlo.
Before they take your money away,
they make you dress up yet.
I saw a dozen bluebirds today
in the back yard. And he is looking.
A girl with Asa. Who is it?
And if you knew, Mamma,
what would you know?
- Again a new girl.
- Mamma, with a man it's only natural.
- This is soup.
- Eat. You'll have another plate.
You don't know, Steve,
how we appreciate your visits.
I just come for the food.
For what it costs to come from New York...
you could buy a better meal than this.
So, this winter,
it's again Florida for Asa.
- He's having a great time.
- Yeah, so he always says.
Wait, do you hear? The radio.
All day long, a Mr. Bing Crosby.
Yes, he's doing all right.
- Very good.
- That's also singing.
And the name "Bing." Go explain people.
- But he's got something.
- Yes.
He's got something.
There was a time they played Asa's records.
That was a joy.
But for years now,
you would think Asa isn't alive anymore.
All right, Mamma.
We're eating, not singing. Give him the fish.
This week it's very good, Steve.
And a little horseradish?
There. But be careful.
Don't worry. This stuff got me once.
But I take it easy now.
Very easy.
I am afraid this week it was extra strong.
On his back, Papa. I'll bring the chicken.
Buying a horse, that I understand.
But buying a fighter, a human being.
How is this, Papa?
Foolishness, a tragedy, that's how it is.
A whole world is on fire,
a Hitler swallows nations...
millions of our people driven, tortured,
killed like flies.
You do not want to sing, all right.
But horses, fighters!
Hello, Cantor. This is Steve.
Tell me first, is Mamma any better?
I am afraid not.
The pneumonia came so fast.
Did you reach Asa?
No. I called Havana twice.
He is off cruising on somebody's boat.
They are getting in touch with him by radio.
I don't know how long it'll take him
to sail back to Havana and catch a plane.
- You will keep trying, please.
- Sure I will.
Thank you very much, Steve.
You all right, Papa?
I wish I had been here.
She understood, Asa.
No sense to feel sorry.
That was a prayer for Mamma.
For Mamma, and all our people.
For their suffering, like millions today.
I know.
You do?
Come, Asa.
Sit down, Asa.
I'll get you something, something to eat,
or maybe a cold drink.
No, thanks, Papa, I don't want anything.
- Who looks after you here now?
- Someone comes in.
It is all arranged.
I think I have to lie down for a few minutes.
- Just on the couch.
- Sure, go ahead.
- Just a few minutes. You'll stay?
- Of course I will.
- I am going to call Steve in New York.
- Fine.
How about coming away with me
for a while?
- Take a little trip somewhere.
- We are in the war now.
- This is no time for trips.
- A week or so, just for a change.
Thank you.
But prize fights, racetracks,
that change I wouldn't need.
- Why do you say that, Papa?
- I merely said a fact.
- You hate everything I've been doing.
- It's your life to throw away.
What do you want me to do?
Who can tell another man?
You want me to get in the war
and fight at my age?
A man finds ways to do everything.
But if he is so busy fighting himself...
We will talk later.
Oh, he's not? Will he... Come in.
Leave word for Mr. Martin
to call Washington, this number...
anytime before 11:00.
- That's right. Thanks.
- I'll do that.
Why, you...
Hello, Al.
- How are you?
- Fine.
- When did you get in?
- About an hour ago.
- How is Papa doing?
- Pretty good, Steve.
He is taking a nap in there, right now.
Yeah, he is fine.
Sit down, tell me the news.
- What are you doing around here?
- I got a date in 15 minutes.
This time of night?
I flew down to see a bunch of generals
at the war department.
- Who?
- Son, I have enlisted.
Enlisted! Why you're four times
older than I am!
- Don't tell me you're going to fight.
- Sure, from behind a desk.
- Quit kidding. What is this about?
- Entertainment for the kids overseas.
- Getting shows together?
- A little more than that.
You see, lots of entertainers
are over there now. Good talent.
But they got to have more, and the best.
Those kids are stuck away in
Pacific jungles, Aleutians, Africa, Iceland.
It'd be a terrific boost to morale
if they could get the top names to go over.
The biggest performers in the country.
That is the job they want me to tackle.
I guess they figured
if I could manage Jolson for 20 years...
I can lick anything.
Yeah, they're right.
You won't have any trouble, Steve.
Big name stars will go
once they know what's needed.
It's just a question of getting
a few of them to lead the way.
Sure. Darned big job, Steve.
I am proud of you.
Save it, pal.
You know, seven or eight years ago...
I could've been the guy
to start this thing off.
- What's the matter with now?
- Don't be silly.
These kids are hep.
They want the stuff they heard back home.
The top guys they know.
How many of them know me now?
But everybody in show business does.
And they have followed you before.
I'm thinking of the kids.
You know, I better get going.
- See you here later?
- Yeah.
So long, Al.
Maybe I'll walk over with you.
All right, boys, hold it. Hold it.
We are going to have a lot of fun tonight.
They've been telling us we're gonna
get some big entertainers up here.
And believe it or not,
we've got one of them with us right now.
In fact, when I heard this man was coming,
I said:
"They are making good in a big way."
I don't know what the name means to you...
but when I was your age,
it meant the world's greatest entertainer.
Al Jolson.
Thanks, Colonel.
If I am half as good as that send-off...
I may leave here a second lieutenant.
Hello, gang. I sing.
If you don't believe me,
write and ask your grandmothers.
It is wonderful working for guys like you...
'cause if you don't like it,
where can you go? It is me or nothing.
All kidding aside, fellows...
my stuff isn't what you were hearing
back home when you left...
but you might like an old one,
the way they used to do them.
We leave home expecting to find a bluebird
Hoping every cloud will be silver-lined
But we all return
And as we live, we learn
That we left our happiness behind
The bird with
feathers of blue
Is waiting for you
Back in your own backyard
You'll see your castle in Spain
Through your windowpane
Back in your own backyard
Oh, you can go to the east
Go to the west
Someday you'll come
Weary at heart
Back where you started from
You'll find your happiness lies
Right under your eyes
Back in your own backyard
Big boot singing to those kids tonight.
I guess they thought I was a little old-timey.
They loved it. You heard them yell.
Yeah, I guess, it was just the idea
of something from home.
- Is that my plane?
- They'll call you.
- You ought to relax.
- How do you do that, Colonel?
It is kind of tough doing this,
after laying off a long time...
and not sure you're getting over,
that's what kills you.
You did not get over any better in Duluth,
20 years ago.
- Minnesota, that's where I first heard you.
- Well, I'll be darned.
- The old Lyceum Theatre.
- That's right.
It gets a little chilly in Duluth.
I played hooky from high school once
to see Robinson Crusoe.
Oh, boy. That's going way back.
To me, you were the greatest thing
that ever lived.
Did you sneak in
that afternoon or did you pay?
- Pay.
- Then that's all right.
First time I hit New York, the only thing
I wanted to do was go to the theatre...
to see you.
Now I understand about tonight.
You're just an old fan.
I could've knocked you over
reciting Little Bo Peep.
Yeah, you could.
- Ready to take off, sir.
- Thank you.
Well, here we go.
Look, Colonel,
tell the boys I'll try to get back.
Tell them a lot of big stars
will be along soon, but not to forget me.
They'll never forget
you were one of the early ones.
That is something.
Colonel Bryant, you've been wonderful.
- Hope we meet up someday back home.
- I hope we do.
In fact, if you are ever in Hollywood...
- Hollywood? Movies?
- I produced a few.
That's a funny one.
- I played in a few of them in my time.
- I remember every one of them.
I'm afraid I do, too.
So long, Duluth. Good luck.
So long, Mr. Jolson. Good luck to you.
I'm looking over a four-leaf clover
That I overlooked before
One leaf is sunshine, the second is rain
Third is the roses that grow in the lane
No need explaining, the one remaining
Is someone that I adore
I'm looking over a four-leaf clover
That I overlooked before
When the red, red robin
Comes bob, bob, bobbing along
There'll be no more sobbing
When he starts throbbing
His own sweet song
Oh, wake up, you sleepy head, get up
Get out of bed, cheer up
The sun is red
Live, love, laugh, and be happy
What if I'd been blue?
Now I am walking through fields of flowers
Rain may glisten
but still I listen for hours and hours
I'm just a kid again
Doing what I did again
singing a song
When the red, red robin
Comes bob, bob, bobbing along
When the red, red robin
Comes bobbing along
Give my regards to Broadway
Remember me to Herald Square
Tell all the gang at 42nd Street
That I will soon be there
Whisper of how I'm yearning
To mingle with the old-time throng
Give my regards to old Broadway
and say that I'll be there e'er long
Chinatown, my Chinatown
Where the lights are low
Hearts that know no other land
Drifting to and fro
Dreamy, dreamy Chinatown
Almond eyes of brown
Hearts seem light, and life seems bright
In dreamy, dreamy China
Dreamy, dreamy China
China, Chinatown
I'm just wild about Harry
Harry's wild about me
The heavenly blisses of his kisses
fill me with ecstasy
He's sweet just like chocolate candy
and like honey from the bee
I'm just wild about Harry
Harry's wild about, I can't live without
Harry's wild about me
And like honey from the bee
Say, I'm just wild about Harry
Harry's wild about, I can't live without
Harry's wild about me
Tie everything down.
We are coming in to New York.
Come on, let's wake up.
That's right.
Baby face, you got the cutest little
I'd say he was going to be just fine.
- When did they bring me back?
- Night before last.
Let's get some more of this down
before we talk.
- What was it that hit me?
- A little fever you picked up way back.
- You know, I have seen you someplace.
- You certainly have.
- Where?
- Right here.
- When?
- This morning.
- This morning?
- When you woke up.
I wouldn't forget you. You're pretty.
Just a baby face.
- How do you know?
- You told me.
- Me? When?
- This morning.
- I said that?
- My friend, you sang it.
- Do you have to keep doing that?
- Do you have to keep talking?
- I sang it?
- More or less.
- How was I, in good voice?
- You can do better, I imagine.
You wouldn't know yourself.
You never heard me sing.
Well, to be honest with you.
- That was before your time, honey.
- A little bit.
Of course, you might have come across me
in the history books.
Now, I wouldn't say that.
I remember my folks talking about you.
I'd like to meet them.
But I don't imagine
I would be finding them up north.
No, you wouldn't,
you would be finding them in Arkansas.
Their name is Clark.
Their daughter's name is Ellen. Ellen Clark.
It saves a lot more questions, doesn't it?
Sure does.
Now we're going to lie back
and take a nice, long rest.
- Honey, there's somebody I got to talk to.
- Tomorrow.
Look, I just want to let Steve Martin
know I am all right.
Mr. Martin knows. So does Papa.
- Papa? He is here, too?
- He is positively darling.
- Where are they? I want to see them.
- Tomorrow.
Now look, baby, as far as I'm concerned,
tomorrow's always the middle of next year.
Rushing around like that
is just about the worst thing for anybody.
You don't say.
You are bound to do
most everything wrong.
Thanks, honey. Arkansas may feel that way...
Now, you take animals back on the farm,
pigs for instance, never rushing around...
except, of course, if they see a sudden
big shadow, an airplane or a hawk...
that scares them
and gets them all confused.
I've always believed people who
rush around get confused the same way.
You were going to say something?
Yeah. I wouldn't care to see anybody today.
Just as you say, Mr. Jolson.
My, we'll soon be smart as pigs.
- Hello, Papa.
- Asa.
- Steve.
- Jolson, loafing in bed.
He looks fine.
I would positively know him anyplace.
What gets me is how they tell a fever
from his normal condition.
- How do you feel, Asa?
- Okay.
- You had quite a tour for yourself?
- I gave it a whirl.
Too big a whirl maybe.
Tell them I'll be okay in a couple of weeks
and ready to hop off again.
That is not wise, Asa.
In fact, it sounds positively silly to me.
Boys as sick as he's been are sent away
someplace for six months to rest.
- Now, look...
- See? Ellen thinks so, too.
- So it is Ellen already.
- Papa doesn't lose a minute.
And, just what do you call him?
- Cantor, mostly.
- So far, that is.
That fever is going to be
in his system a long while.
If he goes hopping around,
he's apt to come down bad.
Where do you get
all those big answers, honey?
By just relaxing, which is what
you ought to do for a change.
Oh, brother!
You mean like back home, maybe?
First thing my folks do almost anytime,
we just sit down and take off our shoes.
Sister, his socks are even off
and that ain't helping.
If he'd just forget how important he is
for once, he might do a sensible thing.
- What do you mean by that?
- Just what I said.
Now listen, sweetheart...
whenever I've had a job to do,
I've always done it, see.
That's what I mean.
However, I just came in to say goodbye.
- Goodbye?
- Where are you going?
I'm transferred to an army hospital
in Arkansas. I'm leaving in the morning.
- Walking out on me?
- You'll be just fine.
You mean I won't be seeing you again?
I go off duty in a few minutes,
and I'll have to pack the rest of the night.
- Goodbye, Mr. Martin.
- Good luck, Ellen.
You can't make cracks at me
and walk out. I want to talk to you.
- I really won't have time.
- That is too bad...
because I thought on your last evening,
how nice if we could have dinner together.
- Now, I will have to have dinner, won't I?
- Delightful.
- At 7:00, shall we say?
- That'll be just fine.
- And for dessert, Ellen?
- No dessert, just coffee, Papa.
- Thank you.
- How will your daughter have her steak?
Not my daughter, a friend.
- I beg your pardon.
- "Papa," you see...
- is a certain kind of modern term.
- I understand, sir.
He understands.
- Is this the kind of place you wanted?
- Exactly. Why not?
- A little swanky.
- That's me tonight, swanky.
You know, a waltz is my speciality.
Of course, mine is not exactly
a cheek-to-cheek style...
- but if you would honour me?
- I'd love it.
But wouldn't you like to say
what you wanted to say to me first?
Remarkable girl.
As a matter of fact,
I only wanted to thank you.
- For what?
- The things you said to my son today.
- A little brutal, wasn't I?
- But delightful.
You know, he's a very nice boy.
Of course, that's a father's opinion.
- You could be right.
- Thank you.
The only thing, he never learned how to live.
You know, there was a look in his eyes
when you spoke to him that way...
that I had never seen before.
To me, it was like the first step
when a baby learns to walk.
- Powerful baby, isn't he?
- Powerful.
And he'll go right on singing
when he shouldn't.
I'm afraid so.
You know, in his condition
that could be bad.
A baby doesn't walk in a day.
But the important thing, I have a feeling
he won't forget what you said.
In fact, if I know my boy,
he will have to see you again.
And if he does...
I do not think I'd mind that at all.
- And now?
- Delighted.
- Is there something wrong?
- Just getting back into my shoes.
You know, Ellen is right,
and I am through arguing with you.
You're not going overseas again,
and that's all there is to it.
You hear me?
You don't know what a kick it was
to be singing again.
- Sure, I do...
- Listen, I found out something.
I have missed it every day since I quit.
I realise now, I've only been half alive.
All of a sudden I've got a terrific yen...
What do you say, Steve, what if
I want to get back on Broadway again?
- Do you think it is too late?
- What do you mean "too late"?
Don't kid me, pal.
Listen, the parade may pass some guys...
but anytime you want to get back
at the business...
- I wish I could believe it.
- You are crazy.
All right, see what you can dig up
for me, Steve.
A Broadway show, anything.
- Will you go to work on it?
- Sure.
- Right away?
- Yeah, right away.
But meanwhile, you got to promise me
you're not going overseas again.
- Now we're getting someplace.
- All right.
I'll stay home, and make a little tour
of these GI hospitals around the country.
Now, wait. Ellen said to knock off everything
for at least six months.
- Ellen did.
- Yeah, Ellen did.
You know, Baby Face could be wrong
about something.
Baby face, you got the cutest little
Oh, you've got a pretty face
There's not another one
could take your place
Ah, baby face
My poor heart is jumping
You sure have started something
Ah, baby face
I'm up in heaven
when I'm in your fond embrace
I didn't need a shove
'Cause I just fell in love
With your pretty, ah, you baby face
Baby face
You got the cutest
Ah, you got a baby face
There is not another one
could take your place
Ah, baby face
My poor heart is jumping, you sure have
Ah, baby face
I'm up in heaven
when I'm in your fond embrace
You're like a breath of spring
When Jolie sings
about your baby face
I don't know why
I'd want to see anybody like you again...
but I couldn't wait to hit this place.
Now, isn't that daffy?
Haven't you been singing too much lately?
That's what I missed about you:
Nobody to boss me around
and give me the answers.
I am glad to see you.
In fact, I've been thinking about you.
And, now and then, this is really daffy...
I found myself thinking,
I could even get romantic about that pest.
You know how your mind
runs away with you at times.
Sure, mine does
with every other man I meet.
It is fun.
- But not exactly fun when I do it.
- Why not?
For instance,
if the gal happens to be young, like you...
I suddenly remember I am not so young.
I don't see what difference years make.
I knew a couple once, same age.
- It was terrible.
- It was?
Then I remember something else.
- I was married once.
- I know.
- I made an awful flop of it.
- Why?
It seems all I cared about was singing.
That didn't give marriage much of a chance.
You're afraid you might do
the same thing again?
- I guess I do not have to worry about that.
- No?
Because I walked out
on all the singing a long time ago.
But you still want to.
- Don't you?
- Yeah.
But the point is, the world
ain't exactly clamouring for me anymore.
Well, now, I am just sure
the world would again, if you wanted it to.
I like you.
And if it does, just see
that you get more out of life than singing.
I will try and remember that, baby,
if it ever happens.
I am afraid I would
need a little help, though.
I might have to ask somebody like you
where to start.
Now, if I am not around,
you just try relaxing.
Take off my shoes?
Anything you get fun out of,
you just go right ahead and do it.
Right now, it would be terrific fun
to kiss you.
Then I would.
What complications, Steve? What is it?
A lung was infected. They had to operate.
Cut out the bad spot.
Now, he's gonna be fine.
He's in good hands.
- Cantor? Hello?
- Yes, Steve.
Believe me, will you?
There is no sense
your making a trip out here.
I'll phone you again tomorrow. Goodbye.
The doc says you got a constitution
like an ox.
You're gonna mend so fast,
nobody will believe it.
Do you know something else?
He says you are as much all there today
as you ever were in your life.
- Hello, Ellen.
- Hello, Steve.
I thought you might be needing
some answers right now.
Just a good lung, baby. Got one of those?
You are breathing, honey.
Now, who would want a man
to do more than that?
I don't believe it. Let me talk to him.
He doesn't believe it.
Hello, Papa. You know this gal
gets her way about everything.
But yesterday, out of the hospital,
today married. Is this wise?
Never mind. It's lovely. Let me talk to her.
- Hello, Papa.
- Ellen.
It's really "Papa" now.
Yes, it's wonderful.
You should see this ring.
I got some orchids. If they were any bigger,
I couldn't see around them.
I must see both of you.
I am coming out there.
After the high holidays, in two weeks.
Good. We'll have a nice place
waiting for you.
In fact, we are moving into a house today.
- You've got a house already?
- A beautiful one, out in the valley.
It's been rented up to a few months ago,
but we can get into it now.
It's Al's house.
- AI's house?
- Yes, the one Julie built.
Imagine looking for a place in these times.
And one sitting out there,
just as vacant and pretty as can be.
It doesn't make sense,
at least not in Arkansas.
You understand, don't you, Papa?
Yes. I think I do.
You get out here when you said,
in two weeks.
We'll be expecting you.
Yes. Goodbye.
Goodbye, Papa.
Let's get moving.
Now, isn't this a dill?
- Dill?
- Beautiful.
Don't you understand English?
I haven't had time to do much here.
But I'll get going in a couple of days.
First thing, we'll get a little fresh air.
A little dusting wouldn't do any harm.
Aren't you two in pretty poses?
How about getting
some of those bags upstairs?
Steve, you do it.
Mr. Jolson, you come over here
and sit down.
I've been hoping
somebody can play checkers here.
I can keep myself in pin money.
Al, honey...
it's cruel to bring you back to this house.
- No, baby.
- I know it is. I must be crazy.
- Fine time to tell me.
- I just didn't want any ghosts around.
I wanted you to wrestle with them here...
so you'd know
where you stood about the past...
and so I would know, too.
That's what I thought.
- That's right, baby.
- No, it isn't.
Look, if there are any ghosts around...
this is the place to make them
come out and fight.
That's what I'm getting to like about you.
- You're just saying that.
- And I'm meaning that.
Promise me, if this house gets you down...
when you can't take it anymore,
I want you to tell me straight out.
Like I could keep something from you
if I wanted to.
I also move pianos.
And my heavy cleaning
is in demand all over town.
Come on, you two.
You've got years to do that.
Here, I'll take a couple of those.
No arguments.
All right, you win.
Look when she lets me win.
Say, anybody thought about getting help?
How would you like to have
Henry and Alice back?
- Where would you find Henry and Alice?
- Already found them.
They'll be here tonight.
Quit their jobs and are flying back here
on broomsticks.
He could go on listening to the radio
like that forever.
- Likes music I guess.
- I wouldn't be surprised.
He looks to me like a man about ready
to go back to work.
You mean, sing?
- Don't you think he can, Steve?
- Sure.
- But he doesn't think so, does he?
- It's only natural.
- That lung's all healed.
- I suppose it is.
I can see why he'd be afraid.
Or is he afraid
that nobody wants to hear him?
In that case, he'd tell himself
it was his lung, wouldn't he?
Why worry about it, Ellen?
He's happy enough, isn't he?
Not if what he wants is to be back at work.
- Do you think he does?
- This is a laugh.
There was one woman once
who wanted him like this...
living a little and not singing his head off.
And here you are now...
- Not exactly a tactful guy, am I?
- Yes, you are, Steve.
I really want him to do both.
All I know...
it can't be good when the natural part
of a man is just moulding away.
You didn't answer me.
I asked you if you thought...
- he'd like to be back singing again.
- Of course he would.
He'd like to be right back
in the middle of show business again.
- He said so?
- Yes.
Just before he started that hospital tour.
Told me to go to work on it.
There is something I haven't told anybody,
and wouldn't tell him in a million years.
I did go to work, and the answer is:
Nobody wants him.
Broadway, radio,
nobody would risk a nickel on him.
A new crop of singers
has pushed Jolson right off the map.
If he tries for a comeback,
he'll take the beating of his life.
It would kill him
to have to face the truth about it.
So do you see what I mean, Ellen?
If he thinks he's through due to his lung,
even if he's lying to himself a little...
it's the kindest thing
that could have happened.
Do you understand what I'm saying?
See, as good as my word.
I tell you right now, you'll stay a long time.
If I like it here, I won't argue.
- Henry! I don't believe it.
- It's nice to see you again, Cantor.
- My goodness, it's a long time.
- Many years.
- You don't look a day older.
- Neither do you.
What a comfort we are to each other.
I don't have to ask if you are happy.
- I do not know.
- Miserable?
Husband out of work,
lazing around the house all day.
Not good.
Steve says he isn't wanted anymore...
and he'd take a beating
if he tried to sing again.
I am wondering, Papa,
which would be the worse beating:
Trying or just never singing again at all.
It's hard to say, Ellen.
You mean, if I were smart,
I'd mind my own business.
Women in love never do.
Is that bad?
Bad. Good.
It's history.
You know, it's nice you're here, Papa.
I've been sort of waiting for you.
Dinner must be ready.
We have to get some
special entertainment for Papa.
Me? Entertainment?
Don't you like to go dancing
in swanky restaurants?
That was in my younger days.
There's a benefit show
for the Community Chest next week.
A lot of big stars will be on the program.
Would you like to go?
- Nice. Very nice.
- I'll see that we're there.
- AI?
- Sure. Fine.
To give Papa a real thrill,
you ought to be on that stage that night.
- What doing, telling jokes?
- What you always did.
- Yeah?
- Just a song or two.
- Bet you one would be enough.
- I don't know.
If you sound as good as you do
when you sing in the bathroom.
Bathroom? You just hum a little.
With all that resonance in there,
you sound like Caruso.
Don't you know
that's why people sing in there?
- And you especially like it, don't you?
- Love it.
Why don't you try coming out
of the bathroom for a change?
The public might love it, too.
You're trying to get me back to work
or something?
I don't want a man lazing around the house
all the rest of his life.
You sound like you're only half kidding.
- About half.
- Only half?
In that case, tell you what to do, Steve.
You hop to New York
and get a show together for me.
Tell them not to worry
about my recent operation.
Of course, I haven't got the breath
for those high notes anymore...
Or radio. That'd be better.
They ought to be wild to have me.
A name like Jolson...
a name that bobbysoxers never heard of,
that's true...
and a style of singing
that went out with button shoes.
Or did you find that out already, Steve?
- Find out what?
- You know what.
I was gonna make a big comeback.
What did you find out?
Bet they were dying to have me back.
I really didn't get started,
but there was a lot of interest.
I see.
Of course, without your name in lights
on Broadway...
and making oodles of money,
I guess it wouldn't be singing.
What do you mean?
During the war,
you sang just to do something...
- for the fun of it.
- Sure. But that was then.
Even now, I can't see why you have
to be worried about a little old benefit.
There's gonna be 5,000 people
at that little old benefit...
in a big theatre. Not a thing to worry about.
Except if I can put two notes together...
and whether they can hear me
past the second row.
You can prove that to yourself.
Come on. What's the use talking about it?
Okay. If you're sure you can't.
What if I wasn't sure?
I don't see anybody breaking down doors
to get me on that benefit.
- Maybe if they knew you wanted to...
- Let's drop it, baby.
How about a game
of checkers tonight, Papa?
No thank you, Ellen.
I couldn't eat another thing.
- Pretty tune.
- That's the big one right now.
Made to order for these crooners.
They sure sing this stuff today
nice and easy, don't they?
Who says you need
all the voice in the world to put a song over.
'Cause I only have eyes
for you, dear
The moon may be high
But I can't see a thing in the sky
'Cause I only have eyes
for you
I don't know if we're in a garden
Or on a crowded avenue
You are here, so am I
Maybe millions of people pass by
But they all disappear
from view
And I
only have eyes
for you
Must be the resonance in here.
Resonance, of course.
Okay, Steve.
If they can use me on that benefit.
- You win.
- Another game, Papa?
Another game, Steve?
I'm glad he's in shape again, Steve.
But actually, I got too big a list of stars,
right now.
Every year, the program's too long.
You know how it is.
Yeah, I know.
If you could still get a big name,
you'd grab it.
You just don't want Jolson.
Ten years ago,
you'd be kissing his feet to get him.
Be reasonable. All I'm trying to do
is get a big turnout for a benefit.
I've got to have names that mean something.
I don't care what you got to have.
When Al Jolson says he'll appear...
the guy you and I remember when he was
bigger than your whole list put together...
I'm not going to that guy
with some lame excuse...
that adds up to only one thing:
He's not wanted.
I can't do it, Charlie.
And you're not gonna make me do it.
All right, Steve. He's on.
- Hi.
- Good morning, baby.
Today is the day. Is it in the paper?
Let me see it.
My name is a little hard to find, baby.
It is at the bottom there.
"And many others." That's me.
- Nice day?
- Yeah. Real nice.
This is going way over time.
- Look at the time, Ralph. Let's go.
- No, wait. Please.
There's one fellow I've got to hear.
It's great to go on near the finish,
except there won't be any audience.
Where is everybody?
Seriously, I guess I've got
a few old friends out there.
Who else would be
hanging around at this hour?
So I'm gonna sing you an old one,
just one and let you go home.
By the way, a nice quiet one...
so as we won't disturb the people
who sleep.
Just like we rehearsed it, pal.
Climb upon my knee, sonny boy
Though you are only three, sonny boy
You have no way of knowing
There's no way of showing
What you mean to me
sonny boy
When there are grey skies
I don't mind the grey skies
You make them blue
sonny boy
Friends, friends may forsake me
Let them, let them all forsake me
I still have you
sonny boy
You are sent from heaven
and I know your worth
You have made a heaven
for me here on earth
And the angels grew lonely
Took you, because they were lonely
I am lonely, too
sonny boy
Nothing like singing for a lot of old-timers.
- I liked it, and I am not an old-timer.
- But you happen to be very nice.
Better watch the road, honey.
Amazing how he can still get you
with a corny old song like that.
I think he can still get anybody,
singing anything.
Singing styles have changed a little, Ralph.
I don't know about that.
But I know one thing.
His voice is better now than it ever was,
warmer, more heart.
Oddly enough...
a certain newspaper columnist brought me
a picture idea a few weeks ago:
The Life of Jolson.
He had to bring that idea to me, an old fan.
Listening to that voice tonight,
I kept thinking...
if you could give people a real chance
to hear him again...
Bit of a tough one, though.
- It was a beating, wasn't it?
- What?
This whole thing tonight
that I plagued you into doing.
It wasn't anything, honey.
I just said to myself:
"Now in Arkansas, we'd look at it this way."
I know I'm not headlining this show.
I got a hunch they don't even want me on it.
I know half this crowd
didn't want to hear me sing.
The other half is only sticking around
for old times' sake. I know all that.
I didn't come here for glory.
I just came to do something I wanted to do.
I don't care.
You were absolutely marvellous tonight.
There you are.
And I got something out of my system.
In fact, a couple more jobs like tonight,
and I'm a pretty happy man.
So what are you talking about?
Yes, it is.
That's all right.
Oh, yes. How are you?
You really liked it, didn't you, pal?
It's nice of you to call and tell me.
No, that's okay. I hadn't gone to bed yet.
Thanks a lot.
Why, sure.
Anytime. I am generally home.
Thanks again. Goodnight.
How are you, Mr. Bryant?
You still don't know me, do you?
Colonel Bryant, the Aleutians.
- Duluth, Minnesota.
- That's right.
If it ain't old Duluth! It had to be an old fan.
I'm glad to see you.
Come on out and meet the family.
They will love you.
They are fans of mine, too.
And, brother, how many members
of that club are still around?
Meet Colonel Bryant. My wife, Mrs. Jolson.
- How do you do?
- How do you do?
- My father and Steve Martin.
- How are you, sir?
- Glad to know you, sir.
- How do you do?
This fellow phones in the middle
of the night to tell me I am terrific.
- Don't you love him?
- Mad about him.
See. Old homely.
- Sit down. Stay for lunch with us.
- Thanks. I'd like to.
You'll want him to stay for dinner, too,
'cause up in the Aleutians...
if it hadn't been for the pat on the back
he gave me...
I was worried and scared stiff.
He picked me right up off the floor.
In fact, you can bring your clothes
and move in, Colonel Bryant.
Let's forget the "Colonel."
I'm just a picture producer again.
I didn't tell you that.
Came from Hollywood all the time.
How does it feel to be back making movies?
They are always tough,
except when you get a really exciting idea.
- And I got one last night, listening to you.
- Yeah?
I didn't sleep much.
This morning I was still at it.
So I thought I'd come over
and talk to you about it.
- What's that?
- A motion picture.
You mean you want me
to play a part or something? Me?
No. A picture about you. Your whole career.
- Sound crazy?
- My friend, as goofy as can be.
- Why?
- Why?
- Last night should tell you why.
- Last night brought me out here.
Yeah, you and a few hundred others.
But you make pictures today
for a whole new generation.
They buy the tickets.
What's in this one for them?
The story of the biggest man
in entertainment for 30 years...
singing the biggest songs.
- That are deader than a doornail.
- Not when you sing them.
Amazing fellow.
Don't you love him? You would.
Look, pal, I'm going to forget
you ever mentioned an idea like this...
'cause if it ever got out you'd have
the whole town laughing at you.
That's the best thing this town does.
- Just begging for trouble, aren't you?
- Give me some reasons.
He wants reasons.
- That's only fair. Give him some.
- Reasons.
Look, I was singing in vaudeville at 15.
Let's say when I was really
getting underway in my 20s.
You expect me to play a 20-year-old
on the screen today?
I know, that one I wrestled with last night.
- But suppose somebody else played it?
- Somebody else?
- But me singing, of course.
- Of course.
You mean, put the songs through him
like he was singing.
I know a lot of the kick
is how you put the songs over.
I'm not talking about that.
I've seen a thousand guys imitate me,
and good, too.
But this would be my stuff
coming out of his mouth on the screen...
- just like I sang it?
- I think it could be done.
Let's say we found the guy and he is great,
but look, the songs?
Couldn't use the old recordings
I made years ago, right?
I'm afraid it is.
The sound quality of those old recordings
would be pretty bad today.
So I'd have to sing them all over again?
I guess you'd have to.
Just like I sang them back on Broadway...
where your picture is gonna show
how I used to knock them dead.
- I happen to think you can.
- Oh, brother!
I know I'm better
than I was in Duluth 20 years ago.
All that has happened since,
not hitting very well on one cylinder...
and sing four keys lower.
- Nobody would have known that last night.
- Because that was Sonny Boy.
- Why not anything else?
- Anything else, pal?
Those Mammies, those Rock-A-Byes,
you've got to give out.
- You think you couldn't do that?
- Think I couldn't do it?
- Have you tried?
- No, he hasn't.
Then why don't you?
Why not come in to the studio
and make a recording or two?
When could you do that?
- What do I say to this madman?
- That you are free almost anytime.
- What is the matter?
- Butterflies.
Like opening night on Broadway. Come on.
Let's have playback, voice and orchestra.
Let me out of here.
I'd rather spend a year in solitary.
How can a man sing
with the orchestra in Honolulu?
You looked great. Now we'll hear it.
- Maybe we ought to skip the whole thing.
- We'll see.
- I think you are going to like it.
- Ready.
One, two, three, four.
Yesterday, I heard a lover sigh
Goodbye, oh me, oh my
Seven times he got aboard his train
And seven times he hurried back
to kiss his love again, and tell her
Toot, Toot, Tootsie, goodbye
Toot, Toot, Tootsie, don't cry
The choo-choo train
that takes me away from you
No words can tell how sad it makes me
Kiss me, Tootie, and then
Do it over again
Watch for the mail, I'll never fail
If you don't get a letter
then you'll know I'm in jail
Don't cry, Tootie, don't cry
Goodbye, Tootsie, goodbye
What's all the mystery?
What are we gonna see?
- I told you, a little experiment, that's all.
- What's it got to do with me?
That's what we're gonna find out.
Okay, Bill. Let's go.
One, two, three, four.
Yesterday, I heard a lover sigh
Goodbye, oh me, oh my
Seven times he got aboard his train
And seven times he hurried back
to kiss his love again, and tell her
Toot, Toot, Tootsie, goodbye
What's going on here? Who is that?
The choo-choo train that takes me
- That's the recording I made.
- Of course it is.
Who's the guy there?
Kiss me, Tootie, and then
do it over again
Watch for the mail, I'll never fail
If you don't get a letter
then you'll know I'm in jail
Don't cry, Tootie, don't cry
Goodbye, Tootsie, goodbye!
Wonderful. Who was that?
Meet a young fellow named Larry Parks.
Let's agree on one thing at the start, boys.
I don't think anybody cares
about the facts of my life...
about dates and places.
I'll give you a mess of them,
you juggle them any way you like.
What matters is the singing a man did,
and the difference that made.
The thing to tell is a kid
who ran away from home when he was 15...
'cause he was crazy to sing.
Never stopped once through years of show
business, singing thousands of songs.
A guy who ate, drank,
and slept nothing else.
And when you get to Julie Benson,
that's important.
'Cause then you find out
it's really the story of a wrong guy...
who only cared about being a big hit,
and always leading the parade.
He thought he was crazy about her,
and when she walked out...
Though, if you ask him today,
when she left, it was just his pride...
that was kicked around,
'cause in those days...
he really couldn't think of anything
but himself.
He had to get tossed on the shelf,
and take a beating...
before he began to learn there might be
something else in the world.
I'm scared of this picture.
If it ever went over,
I might get wound up like the old Jolson.
- I'd like to call the whole thing off.
- You would?
But my wife won't let me.
- Well, where are we?
- Still at the beginning.
I guess the place to start would be
back in Washington when I was a kid...
singing with my father in the synagogue.
But what I was really interested in
was the burlesque house...
a few blocks down the street.
California, here I come
Right back where I started from
Where bowers of flowers
bloom in the spring
Each morning at dawning
birdies sing at everything
You made me love you
I didn't wanna do it
You made me want to
And all the time you knew it
I guess you always knew it
You made me happy sometimes
Oh, you made me glad
But there were times, baby
you dog
You made me cry for
I didn't wanna tell you
I want some love that's true
You know I do, indeed, I do, yes, I do
Gimme, gimme, gimme, gimme what I cry for
You know you got the kind of kisses
that I'd die for
You know you made me love you
- Good evening, Mr. Bryant.
- Hello.
You better hurry,
you've got about five minutes, sir.
- What's that you keep taking all the time?
- Just something for my nerves.
- Anything wrong with you?
- No, I feel fine.
What are you stalling around for?
Come on, we'll be late.
The weather holds fair for the slalom...
but then the snow begins to fly again.
Jack Frost holds wintry court high
in a magic wonderland of whirling white.
The contestants, like the weather,
run both hot and cold...
and in all directions, from pole to pole.
But despite the heavy falls,
some collegians average...
almost a mile a minute.
- Can I help you?
- No, thanks.
What's the matter?
- I just can't take it in there.
- You're not going to see the picture?
I'll watch from back here.
I may be in later. You go on in.
- You look a little groggy to me.
- You're crazy. Go back in.
Rosie, you are my posie
You are my heart's bouquet
Come out here in the moonlight
There's something sweet, love
I'm gonna sing about my baby
Your honey, your boy, I'm waiting
Those ruby, those lips to greet
Don't be so aggravating
My blushing Rosie
My posie sweet
He's all right. The kid's great.
Me singing, you know.
my little Mammy
I'd walk a million miles
For one of your smiles
My Mammy
My little Mammy
The sun shines east, the sun shines west
I know where the sun shines best
It's on my Mammy
I'm talkin' about nobody else's
My little Mammy
My heartstrings are tangled around
Mammy, Mammy, I'm comin'
I hope I didn't make you wait
Mammy, Mammy, I'm comin'
I hope I'm not late
Mammy, look at me! Don't you know me?
I'm your little baby
I'd walk a million miles
for one of your smiles
my Mammy
Swanee, how I love you, how I love you
My dear old Swanee
The folks up north will see me no more
When I get to that Swanee shore
He shall die
He shall die
He shall die
For I'll raise a bunion on his Spanish onion
if I catch him bending tonight
California, here I come
Right back where I started from
Where bowers of flowers
bloom in the spring
Each morning at dawning
birdies sing at everything
Are you all right, Mr. Jolson?
Just a little tired.
Maybe you'd like to come back
and sit in my office for a while?
A minute or two maybe.
And then the world is gonna be mine
Mine, all mine
This evening around a quarter to nine
The world was in bloom
There were stars in the skies
Except for the few
that were there in your eyes
Dear, as I held you close in my arms
Angels were singing a hymn to your charms
Two hearts gently beating, murmuring low
Darling, I love you so
Watch them shuffling along
See them shuffling along
It's simply great, mate
They are in the nightclub now.
Waiting for the Robert E. Lee
Though April showers
I've got to see the finish of this.
They bring the flowers
Feel fine.
So if it's raining
Have no regrets
Because it isn't raining rain, you know
It's raining violets
And where you see clouds
upon the hills
You soon will see crowds of daffodils
So keep on looking for a bluebird
and listening for its song
Whenever April showers
come along
The house record
doubled in Cincy. Amazing!
- What town?
- Cincy.
Jolson records are on the radio all day long.
Mamma would be happy.
This radio offer: Your own program.
- You got to make up your mind.
- I say no, Steve.
I say yes.
But why, baby? What for?
It's your right
to hear those bobbysoxers squeal.
Nothing could be finer
than to be in Carolina
in the morning
No one could be sweeter
than my sweetie when I meet her
in the morning
Where the morning glories
twine around the door
Whispering pretty stories
I long to hear once more
Strolling with my girlie
Where the dew is pearly
early in the morning
Butterflies all flutter up
And kiss each little buttercup
at dawning
If I had Aladdin's lamp for only a day
I'd make a wish and here's what I'd say
Nothing could be finer
than to be in Carolina
in the morning
Rock-a-bye your baby
with a Dixie melody
When you croon
Croon a little tune
From the heart of Dixie
Hang that cradle, Mammy mine
Right on that Mason-Dixon line
And swing it from Virginia
to Tennessee with all the soul that's in you
Weep no more, my lady
Ah, sing it, ah, sing it, Mammy
Sing it for me
Old Black Joe, just as though
you had me on your knee
A million baby kisses I'll deliver
If you will only sing that Swanee River
Rock-a-bye, your rock-a-bye baby
with a Dixie melody