In the little-known 1955 prison film Unchained, American actor and opera singer Todd Duncan introduced the widely-known standard Unchained Melody. Duncan earned the song a Oscar nomination for Best Song that year. From 1930-1945, Duncan taught voice at Howard University in Washington DC. In 1935, he found instant fame when George Gershwin personally selected him for the role of Porgy in the premiere of Porgy & Bess. The shown opened in Boston before it's run on Broadway at the Alvin Theatre - now the Neil Simon Theatre. In 1936 the show made it's way to Washington DC's segregated National Theatre. In Washington DC, Duncan led the cast in a protest that persuaded the theatre to allow an intergrated audience for the first time. In 1945, trailblazing Duncan was the first black person in America to sing with a major opera company at The New York City Opera. In 1955, when Duncan's small film role in Unchained scripted him the first recording of Unchained Melody the significance was unapparent. The song would become one of the most recorded songs ever - recorded by several hundred artists around the world. The song was an instant hit, with three different versions of the song appearing on the Billboard Top 10 in 1955.
"If you like to lounge