Since Mother goes to the movie shows

Since Mother goes to the movie shows (Victor 1916), performed by the Peerless Quartet, from the Library of Congress’ National Jukebox

The National Jukebox has recently been unveiled by the Library of Congress. It is a collection of thousands of historical sound recordings that are being made available online to the public free of charge. The collection includes 10,000 78rpm disc sides issued by the Victor Talking Machine Company between 1900 and 1925, and many more titles are promised in the months ahead.

The National Jukebox comes with all sorts of background materials and links on historical sound recordings, playlists, and special features on artist and genres. The Bioscope took up the Library of Congress’ invotiation to users to create playlists, and has produced one on motion pictures. There are recordings about going to see films, songs written to promote films, songs from stage shows that exploited the popularity of films (such as Queen of the Movies and The Girl in the Film), and songs and tunes about film stars. Though the number available isn’t huge, it is nevertheless useful evidence of the popularity and pervasiveness of motion pictures. Popular song communicated popular understanding. Listen, for example, to the Peerless Quartet complaining in 1916 in ‘Since Mother Goes to the Movie Shows’ on how homelife has changed since Mother picked up the moviegoing habit, or see the lyrics to ‘McGinty at the Living Pictures’ from 1902 which tells us how excited some could be at what they saw on the screen [Note: See comments – this song refers to tableaux vivants, not motion pictures]:

Dan McGinty went into the opera show
With his old wife Mary Ann,
And he took a front seat, near the middle aisle.
Amongst the bald-headed clan;
But he wasn’t prepared for the sights he saw.
And he laughed with might and main
When the living pictures came to view.
Why he nearly went insane.

When he saw the Sleeping Beauty, why he got such a shock
You could hear his heart a-ticking like an eight-day clock.
Then he danced and he pranced, and says he, “I’ve been to France, But that’s the finest sight I ever saw”;
Then his eyes bulged out, he began for to shout;
The gallery boys they hollered, “Put that Zulu out”.
Then his wife grabbed his feet, pulled him under the seat.
So he couldn’t gaze upon the living pictures.

The Library of Congress supplies embed code to let you place the player for any individual track on your website, but unfortunately these don’t work with pernickety WordPress. So here are the recordings Bioscope has found, with recording details (title, duration, artist, label and number, take, and date) and link to the recording. Or just follow this link to the playlist on National Jukebox itself.

  • And he’d say Oo-la-la! Wee-wee (03:07)
    Pietro [i.e., Pietro Deiro], performing
    Victor 18625
    Matrix/Take: B-23415 / 2
    Note: Instrumental medley, including Take Your Girlie to the Movies
  • Ching-a-ling’s jazz bazaar (04:04)
    Joseph C. Smith’s Orchestra, performing
    Victor 35695
    Matrix/Take: C-23859 / 4
    Note: Medley includes At the Moving Picture Ball
  • Come out of the kitchen, Mary Ann (02:43)
    M. J. O’Connell, performing
    Victor 18221
    Matrix/Take: B-18789 / 6
  • Gems from Queen of the movies (04:11)
    Victor Light Opera Company, performing
    Victor 35365
    Matrix/Take: C-14410 / 2
    Note: Songs from the 1914 show Queen of the Movies: Girls run along; Forgive and forget; In the night (When the moon slyly winks); Who is to know?; Oh Cecilia; In the night
  • Gems from The girl on the film (03:41)
    Victor Light Opera Company, performing
    Victor 35363
    Matrix/Take: C-14271 / 3
    Note: Songs from the operetta The Girl on the Film: We’re all going to the mill; Won’t you come and waltz with me?; Oh, oh, oh; Steady Freddy; Do be quiet; Won’t you come and waltz with me?
  • The girl on the film (04:02)
    Victor Military Band, performing
    Victor 35361
    Matrix/Take: C-14253 / 1
    Note: Tunes from the operetta The Girl on the Film: Hesitation waltz; Won’t you come and waltz with me; Steady Freddy; Typewriting girls
  • Hollywood (02:52)
    Joe Raymond Orchestra, performing
    Joe Raymond, performing
    Victor 19211
    Matrix/Take: B-28986 / 4
  • In the night (when the moon slyly winks) (02:52)
    Lyric Quartet, performing
    Victor 17546
    Matrix/Take: B-14406 / 2
    Note: song from Queen of the Movies
  • McGinty at the living pictures (02:31)
    Edward M. Favor, performing
    Victor 740
    Matrix/Take: [Pre-matrix B-]740 / 1
  • Mickey (03:14)
    Joseph C. Smith’s Trio, performing
    Victor 18532
    Matrix/Take: B-22365 / 3
    Note: Song written to accompany the 1919 Mabel Normand picture Mickey
  • Oh! Cecilia (02:46)
    Lyric Quartet, performing
    Victor 17546
    Matrix/Take: B-14405 / 2
    Note: song from the 1914 show Queen of the Movies
  • Poor Pauline (02:28)
    Billy Murray, performing
    Victor 17655
    Matrix/Take: B-15140 / 6
    Note: Song about Pauline White
  • Queen of the movies (03:50)
    Victor Military Band, performing
    Victor 35366
    Matrix/Take: C-14298 / 1
    Note: Three tunes from the 1914 show Queen of the Movies: In the night (When the moon slyly winks); Oh Cecilia; Girls run along
  • Since Mother goes to the movie shows (03:15)
    Peerless Quartet, performing
    Victor 17959
    Matrix/Take: B-17022 / 1
  • Smilin’ through (02:15)
    Reinald Werrenrath, performing
    Victor 45166
    Matrix/Take: B-22688 / 3
    Note: Song written to accompany the 1920 Norma Talmadge film
  • Take your girlie to the movies (02:43)
    Billy Murray, performing
    Victor 18592
    Matrix/Take: B-23020 / 2
  • That’s a real moving picture from life (03:01)
    Billy Watkins, performing
    Victor 17586
    Matrix/Take: B-14635 / 2
  • Those Charlie Chaplin feet (04:01)
    Victor Military Band, performing
    Victor 35469
    Matrix/Take: C-16047 / 2
  • Zudora (03:15)
    Harry Macdonough, performing
    Victor 17734
    Matrix/Take: B-15650 / 2
    Note: “created for Thanhouser’s greatest photoplay”

If there are other on the National Jukebox that I’ve missed, please let me know. Many of these recordings can be found scattered in many places across the Web, but it is very handy to find them in the once place, and so usefully categorised.

The Bioscope also recommends IN Harmony: Sheet Music from Indiana, previously the Indiana University Sheet Music Collection, which has sheet music for several of the songs and tunes about motion pictures featured on the National Jukebox.

4 responses

  1. A great joy to read about and listen to. My favourite is Zudora – another acquisition to my collection of titles starting with Z. The singer has a deep understanding of the effects of motion pictures.

  2. I agree – Zudora is particularly haunting, in theme, melody and performance. 1914 film, made by Thanhouser, Marguerite Snow played Zudora.

  3. “McGinty at the Living Pictures” doesn’t refer to motion pictures. The tune was first recorded in the late 1890’s and pretains to tableaux vivants. They could be quite racy, all in the name of classical imaagery, of course.

    Good article and I look forward to checking your playlist! Many of the people involved in setting up the jukebox are memebrs of Association for Recorded Sound Collections (ARSC). At our conference last week we enjoyed presentations related to the work that went into getting the jukebox up & running and also the Victor pre-matrix series, a highlight of the site. To hear the presentations, go to They should be posted soon.

    I’m waiting for “He’s Working In The Movies Now” a hilarious follow-up to “Everybody Works But Father” which refers to Dad finding a job in the movies, getting blown up, hung from balloons and all sorts of dire situations.

  4. Aha. You do always have to be careful when people at that time refer to ‘living pictures’, which can mean tableaux vivants as you say. You could argue that it might have been read in 1902 as referring to film, but I’ll add a note to the post. Thank you for the correction, and for the ARSC information.

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