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"An Early Race Talkie (1929)"


Written by Octavus Roy Cohen and Alfred A. Cohn and starring Roberta Hyson and Spencer Williams, this early black "Talkie" was produced by Al Christie and directed by Walter Graham for Paramount in 1929.


Spencer Williams - as Roscoe Griggers
Roberta Hyson - as Zenia Sprawl
Harry Tracy - as Florian Slappey
Nathan Curry - as Prof. Aleck Champagne
Leon Hereford - as Sam Ginn
Harry Porter - as Willie Trout
"Curtis Mosby & His Blues Blowers" - as "The Band"

Based on an original story by Octavus Roy Cohn the screenplay for this 1929 two reel comedy short is credited to Spencer Williams. In an on-screen performance brimming with stereotypical dialect Roberta Hyson plays Zenia Sprawl a young woman whose dreams of owning her own beauty shop have been recently shattered. Spencer Williams on the other hand, portrays Roscoe Griggers a highly recognized orchestra leader who is offered $500 to play two cornet solos at a benefit concert. Unbeknownst to the church organization that hired him however, Roscoe can't really play at all so he hires a cornetist to play under the stage while he pretends. Unfortunately with his cornetist indisposed and another loyal musician filling in at the last minuet, when Roscoe begins to play the sound produced by his cornet is that of a saxophone instead. Fortunately everything works out in the end, Roscoe and Zenia get married and with the money she finally gets to open her brand new "Glory of Beauty" shop.

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