Wednesday, August 12, 2009

A little info on Winnie Lightner

Winnie Lighter was a top rate comedic and musical star. She got her start in vaudeville and then moved on to brodway in the early 1920s. She introduced the Gershwin songs Somebody Loves Me and I'll Build a Satircase to Paradise. From the stage to she moved on to the screen and in 1928 made a short film for Vitaphone that featured her rendtion of songs like God Help a Sailor on a Night Like This and We've Got Alot to Learn. The songs were so racy and her performace so saucy that she has the distinction of being the first movie actor censored for her vocals.

In 1929, she starred in the film that would make her a sensation, Warner Brother's Gold Diggers of Broadway. The film, about three gold digging broadway showgirls, was the second talkie produced in techincolor and became Hollywood's biggest grossing picture, a record it held until 1939.

As a result of the success of Gold Diggers, Lightner was often type cast as the wisecracking gold digger. Sadly, no complete print of Gold Diggers of Broadway exist. However, the soundtrack, recorded on Vitaphone sound discs, has survived. Lightner made more musicals and comedies at Warner's but by the mid-1930s the flapper image had become outdated as the Great Depression set in.

In 1928, she made a Vitaphone short which featured her singing a trio of racy songs was banned. She has the distinction of being the first movie actor censored for vocals. Several of her musicals were turned into comedies after filming when Warner executives cut out her musical numbers because they felt the mood of audiences had shifted.

Winnie Lightner retired from the movies in 1934. In 1940, she married her Gold Diggers director Roy Del Ruth. She died in 1971.

1 comment:

  1. Hi, I just discovered your fun blog.

    This is a great post on Ms. Lightner. I didn't know much about her at all. Thanks for sharing this.