A very small, very bad movie premiered on this date in 1928 – the only nice thing the critics had to say was that the three musical numbers weren’t too bad. Curiously, it was a crime film, so singing and dancing seemed a little out of place.
But the audience didn’t really care much about the plot or the acting or the directing – which were all panned – and they stood in lines around the block to see it.
What people cared about was the sound. Lights of New York was the very first all-talking picture. It cost about 25 grand to make and earned $1.3 million after it opened nationwide. And in a few short months, every set of a silent was shut down and studios made only talkies.
Here is what was reportedly one of the high points:
Many happy returns to the absolutely fabulous Jennifer Saunders and happy birthday wishes as well to His Holiness, the Dalai Lama, who celebrates his 76th today.