Sonny Boy’s Bear Story

The November 15 1929 edition of the Toronto Daily Star contained this ad for a children’s record:


Davey Lee (1924-2008) was a child actor who appeared as Sonny Boy in The Singing Fool (1928), Al Jolson’s followup to The Jazz Singer. This movie was a huge hit, becoming the most financially successful film in movie history until Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs passed it in 1937. Jolson’s recording of “Sonny Boy” became the first million-selling record in the United States.

Young Davey – who was three when the movie came out and not quite five when this ad was printed – appeared in some other films, but was pulled out of the movie business in 1930 so that he could have a normal childhood.

As for “Sonny Boy’s Bear Story”, you can find it on YouTube. It’s six and a half minutes in total: the first four minutes is Davey Lee reciting a story about a bear, and the rest is him singing about a bear. Whether you want to listen to it or not depends on whether you want to hear a four-year-old tell a story and then sing – he’s really far too young to be judged by any kind of standards.

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