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“Chattanooga Choo Choo” February 10, 2008

Posted by Jeff in 1929 through WWII, Dance, Jazz, Movies, Music, Nicholas Brothers, Swing.
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From Sun Valley Serenade (1941), an intro by the Glenn Miller Orchestra segues into …


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“I Got A Gal In Kalamazoo” February 9, 2008

Posted by Jeff in 1929 through WWII, Dance, Jazz, Movies, Music, Nicholas Brothers, Swing.
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A year after Sun Valley Serenade, Glenn Miller, the Nicholas Brothers and Harry Warren and Max Gordon continue their survey of songs about American cities with funny names …

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“Lucky Numbers” February 8, 2008

Posted by Jeff in 1929 through WWII, Dance, Jazz, Movies, Music, Nicholas Brothers, Swing.
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From The Black Network, a 1936 short, fifteen-year-old Harold and twenty-two-year-old Fayard Nicholas perform “Lucky Numbers” by Cliff Hess.


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Adelaide Hall and the Nicholas Brothers February 7, 2008

Posted by Jeff in 1929 through WWII, Dance, Movies, Music, Nicholas Brothers, Swing, Theater, Vaudeville.
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From 1935, the VitaPhone short “An All-Colored Vaudeville Show” …

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“Jumpin’ Jive” February 5, 2008

Posted by Jeff in 1929 through WWII, Cab Calloway, Dance, Jazz, Movies, Music, Nicholas Brothers, Swing.
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This clip from Stormy Weather (1943) features Calloway and his orchestra, and the amazing Nicholas Brothers (Harold and Fayard).


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“Did you ever meet that funny reefer man …” January 24, 2008

Posted by Jeff in 1929 through WWII, Cab Calloway, Jazz, Movies, Music, Swing.
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In this clip from International House (1933), the strangest film W. C. Fields ever made (and that’s saying a lot), Cab Calloway And His Orchestra, featuring the legendary Al Morgan on bass, perform “Reefer Man” on television.

No, I’m not making that up.

And shut up with the reefer jokes.

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“Mr. Strauss Takes a Walk” January 16, 2008

Posted by Jeff in 1929 through WWII, Cartoons, Classical, Movies, Music, Puppetoons.
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Here’s a goodie from George Pal with the music of Johann Strauß* …

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“That’s the song of Paris” January 10, 2008

Posted by Jeff in 1929 through WWII, Movies, Musicals, Richard Rodgers.
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“Love Me Tonight” opening title card

I celebrated Valentine’s Day by posting “Isn’t It Romantic” from Love Me Tonight (1932).

Here we see the remarkable opening sequence from this bubbly and innovative Rodgers and Hart movie musical directed by Rouben Mamoulian.

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Dinner at Eight January 3, 2008

Posted by Jeff in 1929 through WWII, Labor, Legit, Movies, Theater.
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Marie Dressler

Marie Dressler, as Carlotta Vance, gives what may be the greatest doubletake in the history of American cinema.

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Duck Soup, part 4 January 1, 2008

Posted by Jeff in 1929 through WWII, Duck Soup, Movies, Musicals, Weirdness.
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Bert Kalmar and Harry Ruby, who receive story credit on Duck Soup as well as Animal Crackers and Horse Feathers, were best known as a songwriting team responsible for such songs as “Who’s Sorry Now?”, “I Wanna Be Loved by You”, “I Love You So Much”, “Nevertheless” and “A Kiss to Build a Dream On”. They were portrayed by Fred Astaire and Red Skelton in the 1950 musical biography named after their biggest hit song, Three Little Words.
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Duck Soup, part 3 December 31, 2007

Posted by Jeff in 1929 through WWII, Duck Soup, Movies, Musicals, Weirdness.
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The mirror sequence (seen in the second of today’s clips) may be the most famous routine in Duck Soup, but it wasn’t original.

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Duck Soup, part 2 December 30, 2007

Posted by Jeff in 1929 through WWII, Duck Soup, Movies, Musicals, Weirdness.
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Herbert “Zeppo” MarxDuck Soup was the last movie made by Herbert (“Zeppo”) Marx (1901-1979), the youngest of the Marx Brothers. Contrary to conventional wisdom Zeppo did not leave acting because he was any less talented than Groucho, Harpo or Chico; offstage he was known as being every bit as funny as his brothers, who tended to be very businesslike and deadpan about their humor. He had understudied all three on Broadway and was said to have done Groucho so well that even the backstage crew mistook him for the real thing.

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Duck Soup, part 1 December 29, 2007

Posted by Jeff in 1929 through WWII, Duck Soup, Movies, Musicals, Weirdness.
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duck_soup.jpg

From 1933, the Marx Brothers’ masterpiece.

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Show Boat, part 4 December 23, 2007

Posted by Jeff in 1929 through WWII, Jerome Kern, Movies, Musicals, Oscar Hammerstein II, Show Boat, Theater.
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Helen MorganHelen Morgan (1902-1941), the original Julie LaVerne, is credited as the original “torch singer,” who perfected the style of leaning on the piano while she sang bluesy songs. In fact, she had to lean on the piano to stay vertical, as she was she was an alcoholic who was frequently drunk on stage. She died after collapsing on stage during a performance of George White’s Scandals. Ann Blyth portrayed her in a biographical movie in 1957.

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