1926-1927 1927-1928 1928-1929 1929-1930 1930-1931 1931-1932 1932-1933 1933-1934 1934-1935 1935-1936 1936-1937 1937-1938 1938-1939
12 Colortone Revues (2rl) 8 Colortone Revues (2rl) 12 Broadway Brevities (2rl) 26 Broadway Brevities (2rl) 32 Broadway Brevities (2rl) 4 Bing Crosby Shorts (2rl) 32 Broadway Brevities (2rl) 36 Broadway Brevities (2rl) 36 Broadway Brevities (2rl) 24 Broadway Brevities (2rl)
6 Melody Comedies (2rl) 6 Melody Comedies (2rl) 6 MGM Musical Revue (2rl) 6 Crosby-Gillstrom Musicals (2rl) 32 Broadway Brevities (2rl) 12 Mentone Musical Comedies (2rl) 13 Mentone Musical Comedies (1rl) 3 Condor Musicals (1rl) 13 Mentone Musical Comedies (2rl)
30 musicals (27x1rl, 3x2rl) 15 musicals (7x1rl, 8x2rl) 11 Mentone Musical Comedies (2rl) 2 Doane Musical Comedies (2rl) 4 MGM Musical Revues (3x1rl, 1x2rl) 5 MGM Musical Comedies (2rl) 13 Mentone Musical Comedies (2rl) 5 MGM Musicals (2rl)
13 Record Breakers (2rl) 6 MGM Musical Revues (2rl) 16 Mentone Musical Comedies (2rl) 5 Musical Comedies (2rl) 2 MGM Musical Revues (1rl) 7 MGM Musicals (2rl) 11 Nu-Atlas Musicals (1rl)
7 United Artists Featurettes (1rl) 8 Musical Comedies (2rl) 6 MGM Musical Revues (2rl) 6 Radio Musical Comedies (2rl) 6 Musical Romances (1rl) 13 Nu-Atlas Musicals (2rl)
3 Musical Comedies (2x2rl; 1x3rl) 12 Musical Comedies (2rl) 3 Young Romance (2rl) 6 Radio Musical Comedies (2rl) 2 Radio Musical Comedies (2rl)
6 Musical Comedies-Roach Comedies (2rl) 3 Radio Musical Comedies (2rl) 8 Tabloid Musicals (1rl)
9 Musical Novelties (1rl) 4 Ruth Etting Musicomedies (2rl)
4 Ruth Etting Musicomedies (2rl) 6 Young Romance (2rl)

As film historian Donald Crafton notes, “it was the rare movie [in the early sound period] that was not a musical in some sense” (The Talkies, 315-316). The category of musical and musical comedy shorts was, in consequence, a particularly capacious one whose borders opened onto other short-subject categories of the time. In some of these shorts, for instance, the musical performance was clearly the primary attraction, as in the case of what film historian Katherine Spring dubs “star-song attractions” featuring some of the era’s favorite singers performing hit songs within lightly comic narratives (e.g., RKO’s Ruth Etting Musicomedies). Such shorts can at times be distinguished from presentation acts and song shorts only by virtue of their loose narrative frames. Other musical comedies, however, placed the emphasis rather on full-bore physical slapstick with a few musical numbers scattered among the mayhem (e.g., MGM’s Musical Revues featuring Ted Healy and His Stooges or Hal Roach’s “Schmaltz Brothers” films with Billy Gilbert and Billy Bletcher). Although it might make retrospective sense to include the latter type in the category of “live-action comedies,” I have chosen to respect industry discourse of the time in maintaining the distinction.