On this Day in Movie History, July 6, 1928: the First All-Talking Feature Film Debuts

On this day, July 6, 1928, the New York Strand Theatre was the scene of a sneak, midnight preview of the film, “The Lights of New York” the first true sound picture. Released by Warner Brothers (who had introduced the first feature-length part-talkie The Jazz Singer in the previous year) this movie was directed by Bryan Foy.

The film’s transitions were still a little bumpy, so 24 titles were used to explain them. The 6,000 feet of film in “Lights of New York” told a gangster tale and introduced the phrase, “Take him for a ride.”

The plot of the film centers around Eddie (Cullen Landis), a young kid from upstate New York who is conned into fronting for a speakeasy on Broadway. With the cops closing in on him, Hawk needs a fall guy. Planting contraband in poor Eddie’s shop, the gang leader then instructs his henchmen to “take him for a ride” But Eddie escapes his “ride,” and there is a final confrontation.

Just as all hope seems lost, Hawk is killed by persons unknown. The murder weapon, however, belongs to the chorus girl and she is about to be arrested by Detective Crosby (Robert Elliott), when the real murderer—Miller’s downtrodden ex-girlfriend—gives herself up.

The film, which cost only $23,000 to produce, grossed over $1,000,000. It was also the first film to define the crime genre. The enthusiasm with which audiences greeted the talkies was so great that by the end of 1929, Hollywood was producing sound films exclusively.

1918 – Sebastian Cabot (actor: Family Affair, Family Jewels, Johnny Tremain & the Sons of Liberty, The Time Machine, Twice-Told Tales, Omar Khayyam, Romeo and Juliet, Westward-Ho, the Wagons; died Aug 22, 1977)

1921 – Nancy Reagan (Anne Robbins-Davis) (actress: Hellcats of the Navy, East Side, West Side; former First Lady: married to 40th U.S. President Ronald Reagan)

1922 – William Schallert (actor: Dobie Gillis, The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries, The Patty Duke Show, The Grace Kelly Story)

1927 – Janet Leigh (Jeanette Morrison Reames) (actress: Psycho, The Manchurian Candidate, Bye, Bye, Birdie, Houdini, Pete Kelly�s Blues, That Forsyte Woman; actress, Jamie Lee Curtis� mother; died Oct 3, 2004)

1931 – Donal Donnelly (actor: Godfather: Part III, The Dead, The Knack; died Jan 4, 2010)

1937 – Ned Beatty (actor: Deliverance, Homicide, Hear My Song, Friendly Fire, The Guyana Tragedy, Superman, Rudy, The Toy, The Silver Streak, Radioland Murders, Network, Gray Lady Down)

1945 – Burt Ward (Gervais) (actor: Batman, Beach Babes from Beyond Infinity, Robo-chic, Smooth Talker, Virgin High, Killcrazy)

1946 – Fred Dryer (actor: Hunter, Death Before Dishonor, The Fantastic World of D.C. Collins; football: NY Giants, LA Rams defensive end: Super Bowl XIV)

1946 – Sylvester Stallone (actor: Rocky series, Rambo series, Cliffhanger, Cobra, Demolition Man, Nighthawks, Oscar, Tango and Cash, The Specialist, Judge Dredd, Assassins, Cop Land)

1947 – Shelley Hack (actress: Charlie’s Angels, King of Comedy, Annie Hall, A Casualty of War, The Stepfather)

1952 – Grant Goodeve (actor: Dynasty, Eight is Enough, Northern Exposure; TV host: Solid Gold Hits)

1954 – Allyce Beasley (Alice Tannenbaum) (actress: Stephen King�s The Tommyknockers, Motorama, Moonlighting, Rumpelstiltskin, Dream with the Fishes, Stuart Little)

1961 – Kimberly Foster (actress: Dallas, One Crazy Summer, It Takes Two, Deadline, Love Bites, Broken Trust)

1968 – Glenn Scarpelli (actor: One Day at a Time, Jennifer Slept Here)

1978 – Tamera Mowry (actress: Sister, Sister, Detention, Seventeen Again, Hollywood Horror; twin sister of Tia Mowry)

1978 – Tia Mowry (actress: Sister, Sister, Detention, Seventeen Again, Hollywood Horror; twin sister of Tamera Mowry)

1983 – Gregory Smith (actor: Leaping Leprechauns, Spellbreaker, The Adventures of Captain Zoom in Outer Space, The Patriot)


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