Lloyd Bacon , in full Lloyd Francis Bacon (born December 4, 1889, San Jose, California, U.S.—died November 15, 1955, Burbank, California), American director who made some 100 films and was known for his efficiency and businesslike approach; his popular movies included 42nd Street (1933) and It Happens Every Spring (1949).
In 1911 Bacon became a member of David Belasco’s Los Angeles stock company of actors. He broke into films four years later as a heavy in comedy shorts. He worked with Charlie Chaplin in the mid-1910s before entering the military as a photographer for the U.S. Navy. After completing his service, Bacon returned to bit roles in Chaplin movies; between 1919 and 1921 he acted in more than 15 films. In 1922 Bacon began directing short films, and three years later he made the first of more than 10 shorts for Mack Sennett.
In 1926 Bacon joined Warner Brothers, where he would stay for nearly 18 years, during which time he became one of its top directors. His first feature for the studio was the cautionary melodrama Broken Hearts of Hollywood (1926). In 1928 he directed Women They Talk About and The Lion and the Mouse, both of which featured some spoken dialogue. Bacon then helmed The Singing Fool (1928), the follow-up to Al Jolson’s The Jazz Singer (1927), which was the first feature-length movie with synchronized dialogue and marked the ascendancy of “talkies.” In Bacon’s production, Jolson again regaled audiences with his singing, and the film was enormously popular.
In 1929 Bacon released five films, including Honky Tonk, with Sophie Tucker, and So Long Letty, a musical comedy via Broadway that included the standard “Am I Blue?” Moby Dick was the most enduring of Bacon’s efforts in 1930, with John Barrymore in the role of Captain Ahab. Over the next two years, Bacon helmed 11 films, ranging from the largely forgettable productions 50 Million Frenchmen and Gold Dust Gertie (both 1931), a pair of Ole Olsen and Chic Johnson comedies, to Crooner (1932), a dissection of the rise and fall of a radio