Yacht Club Boys

The Yacht Club Boys were a quartet of American comic singers, popular in the 1920s and 1930s: Charles Adler, George Kelly, Billy Mann, and Jimmie Kern, later known professionally as James V. Kern. They made recordings from the 1920s and appeared as a specialty act in several feature films of the 1930s. The Yacht Club Boys' screen career and on-screen behavior paralleled those of The Ritz Brothers, a musical-comedy trio doing the same type of musical burlesques.

The Yacht Club Boys began as a "collegiate" group, dressing in varsity-styled sweaters and slacks, and singing novelty tunes in breezy fashion ("I'm Wild About Horns on an Automobile", "Nasty Nancy, the Meanest Gal in Town"). They later expanded their act to include sharper, broader humor, satirizing current events and trends. They composed much of their own material, credited in alphabetical order to "Adler, Kelly, Kern, and Mann." They brought great energy to their performances, with brash songs like "You're Broke, You Dope" and "The Super-Special Picture of the Year." Perhaps their most familiar screen appearance is in Al Jolson's The Singing Kid, in which the four outspoken comics persistently try to keep Jolson from singing outdated "mammy songs."[1]

The group also starred in musical short subjects, first for Paramount Pictures in 1929-30, then for Vitaphone in 1936, with titles emphasizing their wacky approach: Dough-Nuts, The Vodka Boatmen, etc. The group disbanded in 1939; Jimmie Kern became a screenwriter and later a director.



  1. Knight, Arthur "Disintegrating the musical: Black performance and American musical film," Duke University Press, 2002, page 74. ISBN 978-0822329633. Retrieved 31 Jan 2014
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