Jailhouse Blues

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Jailhouse Blues (1929) is a motion picture released by Columbia Pictures. This musical short film features Mamie Smith, who was a top star in Black Vaudeville and a recording artist with Okeh Records, although by the time Jailhouse Blues was made her contract with Okeh had ended.


Mamie is missing her man, and finds him in jail. She pleads through her singing for his release.

Related history and preservation status[edit]

Two songs were prerecorded by Victor Records, "Jailhouse Blues" and "You Can't Do It!" as custom recordings, evidently used for synchronization purposes.

Jailhouse Blues is often referred to as a "lost film," though technically it is not; the visual element has been held at the Library of Congress for a long time, but no soundtrack disc was known. At one point a disc was located, but was destroyed accidentally in shipping. An intact disc was discovered in Australia in 2009 and, as of this writing (March 2011) the short is slated for preservation. Two short clips from Jailhouse Blues was shown on a 1961 DuPont Show of the Week broadcast, and this has served as the source of the widely circulated clips and audio from the film since.

External links[edit]