For today's blog, I would love to talk about an very cute, extremely strange, and seemingly scandalous clip for it's time - Turn on the Heat, from the 1929 film, Sunnyside Up.
This scene stars Sharon Lynn as an adorable eskimo, with great 1920's makeup and an adorable little flapper singing voice to match.
Sharon Lynn (1901-1963), born D'Auvergne Sharon Lindsay, was featured in 32 films between 1924 and 1938. There's really not too much information on her online, other than she was married twice in her life, and died of multiple sclerosis in 1963. In face, all websites I found seem to agree that she died in 1963, but I've found multiple websites with different birth years given for her (1901, 1904, 1907, 1908, 1910), so I'm not 100% sure how old she was when she passed.
Interesting tidbit: One of her husbands, Benjamin Glazer, was a 2 time oscar winner, and one of the 36 founders of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS).
According to one website, on top of singing and acting, Sharon also composed songs. Multiple websites mention Sharon as being best remembered for her major supporting role as Lola Marcelin the 1937 Laurel and Hardy film 'Way Out West'.
Turner Classic Movies' website had this mini bio on Sharon's life (note the number of films she apparently appeared in differs from what is quoted by IMDB above):
She entered films as an extra, appeard in silent films and then later in "talkies". She was both and actress and a songwriter. On Broadway she appeared in C. B. Dillingham's musical Sunny Side Up before making her movie debut in Clancy's Kosher Wedding. In 1941 she appeared in her last film, "West Point Widow". Sharon was married twice, to screen writer Barney Glazer and then to Beverly Hills resident John Sershen. On May 26, 1963 at the Hollywood Presperterian Hospital, Sharon died from multiple sclerosis. During her career, Sharon appeared in 36 films.
So now let's talk about her role in this clip from the film Sunnyside Up. She truly is adorable in this fun and weird clip. She's a great Betty Boop look-a-like with her makeup, hair and adorable little voice. She does this thing that I like to call the "Flapper Singing Arms." This is where many singers from the 1920's will place their arms in a frame in front of them, as if they're holding a basket, and then as they sing, will bend the wrists to and fro to the rhythm of the music. You'll see exactly what I mean when you watch it.
After about 2 minutes of lyrics, Sharon exits stage right, and out pop the Eskimo chorus girls. Here's where things start to get weird....
I'm not exactly sure what choreographer Seymour Felix was thinking here. The girls appear as Eskimos from behind the igloos, but many of the dance motions are just strange. I mean, we DO see some very good examples of blackbottom dancing, but one must wonder at times if Seymour isn't trying to create some odd form of "native" dancing by the way the girls wiggle and swish their hips. Quickly we see that what they are doing is some sort of a strange native "heat" dance, to melt away the igloos. Why on earth Eskimos would want to melt away their homes, I have no idea.
Watching the dancing in this clip, many images come to mind - flappers completely high on weed or alcohol dancing sloppily, some sexual sirens of the sea trying to hypnotize sailors, and more.
At around 3:50 into the clip, the girls quickly change formation to remove their eskimo costumes... and well, it just gets more and more WEIRD from there on out. I won't go into details, I think this crazy LSD clip will speak for itself...
So now, please enjoy Sharon Lynn and some very strange blackbottom dancing from the clip Turn on the Heat, from the 1929 film, Sunnyside Up.