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Al Jolson has, by some, been considered the greatest entertainer of all time, and those who do not consider him to be close. He was born as Asa Yoelson in 1866 in Russia (some sources say Washington D.C.) to a very religious Jewish family. Sing was in his family, as his father was a cantor at the local synagogue. Asa did not share the deep religious faith of his family, and as a young child he enjoyed singing "ragtime" songs in bars and saloons. He ran away from home several times to be in show business. His debut came when he was thirteen when he performed in "Children of the Ghetto." He then worked in Cafes and circuses singing.

Soon after, he began doing shows on a constant basis. These included "Robinson Crusoe Jr.", "Sinbad," and "Big Boy." His success on Broadway gave him the role as Jakie Robin in "The Jazz Signer," based on his childhood. The Film was a tremendous success! Jolson made it famous and continued his great (and lengthy) career beyond the 1920's into the 1940's! This ended when he died in 1950.

Cited Works

"An introduction to the John Scopes (Monkey) Trial" UMKC Law
      17 May 1998.

"Monkeying with the Scopes 'Monkey' Tiral" Essays on Origins
      17 May 1998.