Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Sony Hack Reveals the Insufferable Whiteness of Hollywood Sony Hack Reveals the Insufferable Whiteness of Hollywood '106 & PARK' Says Goodbye Today, Dec 19 at 6pm, w/ Live, 2-hour, Star-Studded Finale! '106 & PARK' Says Goodbye Today, Dec 19 at 6pm, w/ Live, 2-hour, Star-Studded Finale! First Image of Queen Latifah as Bessie Smith in Upcoming HBO Biopic First Image of Queen Latifah as Bessie Smith in Upcoming HBO Biopic Review: Chris Rock's 'Top Five' Took Me Places I Wouldn't Expect a Chris Rock Film to Go Review: Chris Rock's 'Top Five' Took Me Places I Wouldn't Expect a Chris Rock Film to Go The Gift That Keeps on Giving - Leaked Sony Email Challenges Denzel Washington's Overseas Box Office Appeal The Gift That Keeps on Giving - Leaked Sony Email Challenges Denzel Washington's Overseas Box Office Appeal Backlash Against New VH1 Series 'Sorority Sisters' Backlash Against New VH1 Series 'Sorority Sisters' Tessa Thompson Books Female Lead Role in Ryan Coogler's 'Creed' Opposite Michael B. Jordan Tessa Thompson Books Female Lead Role in Ryan Coogler's 'Creed' Opposite Michael B. Jordan Samuel L. Jackson Has His Own Challenge for Other Celebrites in Reaction to "Racist Police" (Watch) Samuel L. Jackson Has His Own Challenge for Other Celebrites in Reaction to "Racist Police" (Watch) Why Aren’t We Talking About the Sexual Assault in 'Beyond the Lights'? Why Aren’t We Talking About the Sexual Assault in 'Beyond the Lights'? Page to Screen Possibilities for Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's 'Americanah' (Lupita Nyong'o, David Oyelowo Starring) Page to Screen Possibilities for Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's 'Americanah' (Lupita Nyong'o, David Oyelowo Starring) David Oyelowo Joins Lupita Nyong’o in 'Americanah' Film Adaptation David Oyelowo Joins Lupita Nyong’o in 'Americanah' Film Adaptation Leaked Sony Emails Reveal Interest in Destiny's Child Biopic + Immersive Kanye West Feature Film Experience Leaked Sony Emails Reveal Interest in Destiny's Child Biopic + Immersive Kanye West Feature Film Experience What Sony Pictures Chief Amy Pascal Should Do if She Sincerely Wants to Make Amends What Sony Pictures Chief Amy Pascal Should Do if She Sincerely Wants to Make Amends Woody Allen Says He Won’t Hire a Black Actor Unless the Role Calls for One... Whatever That Means Woody Allen Says He Won’t Hire a Black Actor Unless the Role Calls for One... Whatever That Means My MoviePass Experience - What Works & What Could Be Improved (The Movie Theater Subscription Service) My MoviePass Experience - What Works & What Could Be Improved (The Movie Theater Subscription Service) Co-Screenwriter of 'Noah' Explains Why There Are No Black People Or POC In The Film Co-Screenwriter of 'Noah' Explains Why There Are No Black People Or POC In The Film Aaron McGruder Finally Explains Why He Left 'The Boondocks' Aaron McGruder Finally Explains Why He Left 'The Boondocks' Lifetime Launches New Series Set In Elite World Of Hip-Hop Majorette Competitions (Watch Preview) Lifetime Launches New Series Set In Elite World Of Hip-Hop Majorette Competitions (Watch Preview) Netflix Explains Why It Doesn't Always Have That Film Or TV Show You Really Want To See (Video) Netflix Explains Why It Doesn't Always Have That Film Or TV Show You Really Want To See (Video) Tichina Arnold Says She Talked To Martin Lawrence About Doing A 'Martin' Movie... Tichina Arnold Says She Talked To Martin Lawrence About Doing A 'Martin' Movie...

From 1943, Watch Melvin C. Bryant Earn His Way to a Horn in MGM Short 'Shoe Shine Boy'

Photo of Tambay A. Obenson By Tambay A. Obenson | Shadow and Act July 1, 2014 at 1:19PM

It comes courtesy of Turner Classic Movies - a wartime period film made at MGM with some flag-waving and racism that was of its time
1
Melvin C Bryant

Now that I finally gave in an ordered cable TV for my apartment (I'd been using Aereo for some time, refusing to pay what I feel are unreasonable costs for cable; but Aereo has been temporarily halted by the courts), I can watch TCM (Turner Classic Movies) again, affording me the opportunity to see rarely-screened (and in some cases, commercially unavailable) films from the early half of the 20th century, when the medium was still in its relative infancy, like the one below. Although it's a short, not a feature.

This 15-minute 1943 MGM film tells the story of a shoe shine boy (played by Melvin C. Bryant), trying desperately to earn money in order to purchase a trumpet for his first day in the U.S. Army. It’s very much a film of its time… for better and for worse.

It comes courtesy of Turner Classic Movies - a wartime period film made at MGM with some flag-waving and racism that was of its time as I said previously. But it is notable for the earnestness of its leading man, Melvin C. Bryant (1924–2001), and his talent on the trumpet, which, in a way, separates this short from others of the period.

He needs $2 so that he can buy a horn from a pawn shop, deciding to work for the money by shining shoes for men played by Walter Catlett & Sam Levene, character actors of their day portraying 2 competitive, but down-on-their-luck show biz agents. They hear the young black man play, and are instantly smitten, as is everyone else within ear-shot, and offer him a contract, arguing over which of them has "claims" on the young "boy."

Melvin C. Bryant's acting career comprised of mostly TV gigs, like appearances on "Good Times," "Sanford and Son," "All in the Family," and "Archie Bunker's Place." He died on May 15, 2001 in Las Vegas.

"Shoe Shine Boy" was his very first onscreen performance.

Watch:


Shoe Shine Boy-1943 by redhotjazz

This article is related to: Melvin C. Bryant, Shorts


Shadow & ActNewsletter