Sam Warner (Samuel Eichelbaum)
BiographyBaltimore, Maryland, USA
Sam Warner could rightly be called "The Father of Talking Pictures". Of the four Warner brothers, Sam was the most in favor of using synchronized sound with movies. He was the driving force behind the studio's partnership with Western Electric to create Vitaphone. At first, he only wanted to use Vitaphone to provide music and sound effects. (This was intended as a cost-saving device, allowing local theaters to dismiss their house musicians.) When Don Juan (1926) -- the first Vitaphone feature -- debuted, it was not nearly as well received as two of the Vitaphone shorts that immediately preceded it. Read more... of MPPDA president Will Hays giving a short introductory speech, the other was of an opera tenor singing a selection from "Il Pagliacci." Realizing that people wanted to hear movie actors' voices, Sam pushed his brothers to the next level: talkies. The result was The Jazz Singer (1927). Originally, Al Jolson was only supposed to sing. There was to be no dialogue. Jolson insisted on ad-libbing between songs. Sam convinced his brothers to include the ad-libbed scenes and, in fact, it is those few talking scenes that made the movie the sensation it was. Ironically, Sam never saw the revolution he started. He died the day before The Jazz Singer (1927) had its world debut in New York City.