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Monday, July 13th. Most movie buffs know the first film with a partial soundtrack was “The Jazz Singer,” starring Al Jolson.

But not many can name the first movie with a full-length soundtrack that opened this month in New York in 1928.

It was “The Lights of New York,” about the murder of a crime boss, a film which has faded into obscurity.

After “The Jazz Singer” thrilled the country, movie studios scrambled to drop silent films in favor of what were then called the “talkies.” The technical revolution completely changed the making and viewing of movies, as soundtracks grew increasingly important.

In 1928, Americans went to the movies an average of about twice a week. More recently, we average around four films a year in the nation’s 4,400 theaters.

You can find more facts about America’s people, places and economy, from the American Community Survey, at

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