The Jeanette Hackett Girls Swing It Southland Style...

Today's blog post focuses on a a group that was led by famous vaudevillian dancer, Jeanette Hackett.
According to IMDB.com, the dance group appeared in film three times in the 1940s:
  • Cowgirl Polka (1946)
  • Hawkeye Hoedown (1946)
  • Southland Swing (1944)
*Note - upon further research, I discovered another clip not mentioned on IMDB - from a 1945 film called The Sparkle Strut, where the Janette Hackett Girls appear in "skimpy burlesque queen outfits" in a wild west saloon type setting.
The following information comes from The Encyclopedia of Vaudeville, which you can purchased on Amazon.com:

Janette Hackett, most likely in the early 1920s 
 Janette Hackett (sometimes billed as Jeanette), was born into a theatrical family in 1898. Her brothers were also stage performers, and her mother was a silent film actress. She danced in the chorus line of The Passing Show, as well as dancing as a solo act.

Janette eventually teamed up with (who would later become her husband) Harry Delmar, to form the vaudeville act Hackett & Delmar.
Together, they formed a dance revue in the early 1920s, although it's believed it was primarily the creative child of Janette, who had the better dancing skills. Janette had a chorus girl group that would dance, and she was known for performing in scantily clad costumes.

In the late twenties, she and Delmar split, and she eventually married another Vaudeville star, in 1930.

Upon further research, I couldn't find any information on who the individual chorus girls are in this clip, and it seems that the other soundies they appeared in are not online.

* Reasons this clip rocks:
1) It features an all female band, The Swing Sirens. What a great name!
2) I love the outfits - the tall feather head pieces, the black sparkly spanks, the cute little corsets. I won't deny though, that the fact that all the women physically (hair color and everything) look the same is a little creepy, though.
3) Even though the dancing is nothing complicated, I love how the drapery on the costumes really compliments the movements, which is particularly noticeable around 1:08-1:15.

Once the music picks up at around 1:20, the movements get a bit more jazzy. I love the cute way they do their Boogie Backs, and the SUPER high kicks at 2:30. Seriously, when you pause on the high kicks, they are kicking higher than their heads!

At first I wondered if it isn't Jeanette Hackett dancing front and center in this clip, as you can see moments when the girl on the left side of the screen is clearly kind of watching her for tips out of the corner of her eye... But then I realized that by the time this soundie was made, in 1944, Jeanette would have been 46 years old. Not an impossibility, but DAMN would she be a good looking woman at that age if it WAS her...

One thing that does seem evident, however, is that the studio that produced this soundie just placed random clips they liked together, and didn't actually play the dance routine in order. They repeat the same movement (you'll notice when you see it), multiple times, but I don't think that was purposeful or in the original choreography. The girls will be in one formation one second, and the cut to a frame where they are in a completely different location/formation. Such a shame really. It would be a fun routine to re-create.

So now... for your viewing pleasure, please enjoy, from 1944, Southland Swing: