We Want Ice-Cream! We Want Ice-Cream!

For today's post, due to the heat over the 4th of July weekend and my craving ice-cream of ice-cream all day, I've decided to present you this clip for our 3rd issue: Kid Millions (1934).

This is the finale from the movie, which stars Ethel Merman & Eddie Cantor.

For those that know me and have come over to my place before to watch clips, I'm SURE you've probably seen this real nutjob of a gem. I mean this clip is crazy - you have tons of children pounding down the doors of an ice-cream factory, chorus girls ice-skating around making ice-cream flavors, and children eating so much of that good stuff that they have to waddle home with stomachs that remind you of Violet Beauregarde from Willy Wonka (perhaps this clip served as a later inspiration for the Gene Wilder film??).


And while we're at it, here's a little bit about Ethel Merman (from Wikipedia):
Ethel Merman (January 16, 1908 – February 15, 1984) was an American actress and singer of the musical theatre. Known for her powerful voice, she was often referred to as "The Grande Dame of the Broadway stage".

Merman was known for her powerful, belting mezzo-soprano/alto voice, precise enunciation and pitch. Because stage singers performed without microphones when she began singing professionally, she had great advantages in show business, despite the fact that she never received any singing lessons. In fact, Broadway lore holds that George Gershwin warned her never to take a singing lesson after seeing her opening reviews for Girl Crazy.

Merman began singing while working as a secretary for the B-K Booster (automobile) Vacuum Brake Company in Queens. She eventually became a full time vaudeville performer and played the pinnacle of vaudeville, the Palace Theatre in New York City. She had already been engaged for Girl Crazy, a musical with songs by George and Ira Gershwin, which also starred a very young Ginger Rogers (19 years old) in 1930. Although third billed, her rendition of "I Got Rhythm" in the show was a breakthrough, and by the late 1930s, she had become the first lady of the Broadway musical stage. Many consider her the leading Broadway musical performer of the Twentieth century, with her signature song being "There's No Business Like Show Business".


While I admit that this clip in itself doesn't have any real dance scenes in it, it does have lots of lovely chorus girls, which appear in the clip for the first time at just after 2:00 minutes. But then again, that is probably sort of the beauty of the chorus girl, herself... she can be an amazing blackbottom dancer, tap dancer, singer, contortionist.... or she could just walk around on stage in complete unison with 49 other ladies while wearing a gown dripping in satin and silk looking beatiful, which is exactly what Berkeley often went for....

The girls are wearing totally sweet jumpsuits as they carry the different ingredients up a staircase to throw into the giant ice-cream vats... the girls are lovely, and hey, who doesn't love ice-skating ladies singing and making sweet dessert?

This clip is just fun, and you really have to watch the whole thing to get the full experience. So now, for your viewing pleasure (and for your weird-ing out pleasure as well), I'd like to present, the finale of Kid Millions from 1934. Enjoy and Bon Appetit!

Kick Up Those Skirts & Show Those Knickers! Oui! Oui!

Seattle is super sunny today and it's Pride weekend, so I've decided to share a very high energy and colorful clip with you all today.

I'd like to present, for your viewing pleasure, the final scene from the film French Cancan (1954).

A little history about the can-can, from the book The Natural History of the Chorus Girl by Derek & Julia Parker (available on ABEbooks.com):

The can-can, danced by a soloist or a chorus, was an even less artistic variant of the polka-piquee, in which the whole intention was to display the legs in a series of leaps and kicks and 'splits' - again, often without knickers: the can-can sans culottes was a dance which originally owed much more to the brothel ante-room than to the stage, and its intention was outright titillation, prostitutes being in attendance to satisfy the itches aroused in the customer. It was perhaps a dance more notorious than evident, though there is no doubt it was performed, and that stories of its aphrodisiac delights came back to convince potential tourists of the advantages of Paris.

This clip presents what may be a very historically accurate portrayal of the can-can at the Moulin Rouge. From ladies flying down from ropes in the balcony, to girls bursting through paper in the walls, this scene is FULL of energy and excitement.

In between moments of exciting formations and ridiculous splits tricks, we are presented with utter energetic chaos of girls spinning, dong cartwheels across the floors, screaming in excitement, legs kicking up in the air (as well as knickers!), and bodies generally flying all over the place.

Enjoy the French Cancan!

A Little Taste of Busby in the Beginning....

For the first post, one of my personal favorites:

"Who's Your Little Who Zis?" from 1932, starring Mae Clarke and chorus girls.
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A little bit about Mae Clarke from Wikipedia:
Mae Clarke (August 16, 1910 – April 29, 1992) was an American film actress.


Mae Clarke was born Violet Mary Klotz in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.[1] She started her career as a dancer and subsequently starred in many films for Universal Studios, including the original screen version of The Front Page (1931) and the first sound version of Frankenstein (1931) with Boris Karloff. Clarke played the role of Dr. Frankenstein's fiancee in Frankenstein, who was attacked by the Monster (Karloff) on her wedding day. The Public Enemy, released that same year, contained one of cinema's most famous (and frequently parodied) scenes, in which James Cagney pushed a half grapefruit into Clarke's face, then went out and picked up Jean Harlow. The film was so popular that it ran 24 hours a day at a theatre in Times Square upon its initial release, and Clarke's ex-husband had the grapefruit scene timed and would frequently buy a ticket, enter the theatre to enjoy that sequence, then leave the theatre.[2]

She may be best known for her leading role as, "Myra Deauville," in the 1931 pre-Code version of, Waterloo Bridge. In the film, she portrays a young American woman who is forced by circumstance into a life of prostitution in World War I London. Both the film and Clarke's performance were well received by the critics.

She also appeared in the modest pre-code Universal film Night World (1932), with Lew Ayres, Boris Karloff, and Hedda Hopper.

By the mid-1930s though, Clarke was no longer a leading lady and was only featured in small or bit parts through the 1960s.

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This is an early Busby Berkeley number, before he joined Warner Bros. and later created such classics as "Footlight Parade" and "42nd Street".

One of the things I admire about this piece so much are the simple but very art deco style leotards w/ the silver applique touches. The formation transitions are great... these girls truly shine! For such an early Berkeley number, this routine is fairly simple in it's own right, compared to later pieces by Berkeley featuring dozens more ladies on stage, elaborate waterfall sets, giant & elaborate costumes.... yet to me, this routine shines for its simplicity and precision and I love it for all that it is.

Don't miss the ending exit off stage by the girls - it's fairly creative!

Enjoy!