To anyone born between 1935 and 1949, Mr. Rock and Roll can mean only one person: Visionary disc-jockey and concert producer Alan Freed. Made a few years before Freed ran into deep doo-doo during the Payola investigations, this ramshackle film purports to show how Freed brought R&R to the masses in the mid- to late 1950s. While the legendary deejay sits before a microphone taking requests from his faithful audience, the film cuts away to such musical artists as Lionel Hampton, Ferlin Husky, The Moonglows, Brook Benton, LaVern Baker, Little Richard, Clyde McPhatter, Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers, Chuck Berry and Shaye Cogan. A few cheap laughs are provided by ex-boxer Rocky Graziano and the nightclub comedy team of Fisher & Marks. Though it hardly advances the art of cinema, Mr. Rock and Roll is a must-see cultural time capsule.
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