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Musicals on Tap


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Miles--as usual you've come up with a correct answer--but as our friend Fi would say--"That's not what I was thinking of!"


I was thinking of Ellie's mentor, the legendary Bill "Bojangles" Robinson dancing with the youthful Nicholas Bros in Paramount's *The Big Broadcast of 1936* to a song called "Miss Brown To You".


Ironically we both came up with numbers from a 1936 glossy big studio musical series.



As my Great-Grandmother from County Cork would have said,

"You're a man after me own heart."


Miles is on Tap!

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Well, cujas, that's something else we have in common. Besides our love of musicals, we're both of Irish descent. As far as Buddy and Vilma are concerned, I had recently posted about them on one of the "Do You Know Me" threads. I always enjoyed the Broadway Melody series. I believe that Eleanor Powell was in all of them. So cujas, remember to

Sing before breakfast,

Help the birdies along.

Before you have your buttered toast,

Have a song!


For those of you who only remember Buddy Ebsen as Jed Clampett or Barnaby Jones, check out this clip:




As for Bojangles and the Nicholas Brothers, here's your clip, cujas. Their dance number is about five minutes in, so you may want to fast forward.




Now, the Nicholas Brothers used to be known as specialty dancers. They danced with some top stars like Gene Kelly in "The Pirate", but in another 40's musical they sang and danced with a then little known female performer who had made a few minor film appearances. She would go on to be Oscar nominated in the fifties. The 40's musical featured a big band of the day. Can you name the female performer, the movie, and the song? The song became a big hit.

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Now, Ellie was not in "The Broadway Melody of 1952" aka *Singin' in the Rain*, was she?


Years ago I was on my way to Portland, Oregon; to make a long story short, our plane's 2nd engine went out over Sun Valley. We landed, safely, in Boise. But I've never forgotten the incident.


The film you're referring to is *Sun Valley Serenade* starring Ice Skater Sonja Henie. The Nicholas Bros. danced and sang with Dorothy Dandridge to Chattanooga Choo Choo (won't you choo choo me home?).


Actually Dorothy did much more than that with Harold. She married him and had a disabled daughter. The unfortuante actress was nominated for an Oscar for her performance in *Carmen Jones*.


OK, Archer?


Edited by: cujas on Oct 31, 2011 3:08 PM

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Correct, dear cujas. It was the Glenn Miller orchestra that was featured in "Sun Valley Serenade". They played a beautiful song called "I Know Why And So Do You" early in the movie. They also played "At Last", a song that they had a hit with many years before Etta James did. So cujas, first you say I'm a man after your heart, and then you call me by my last name! What's the story here? By the way, lt's your turn.

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Miles--I'm afraid ice and snow without electrics may have made you a bit fretful and tired because with us--


"It's friendship, friendship, just a perfect blendship.

When other friendships have been forgot, ours will still be hot!"




This is an offbeat question but it is about a tap dancer.


Tap Dancer Dan Dailey co-starred with Broadway Diva Ethel Merman in *There's No Business Like Show Business*. In this movie, they play a showbiz man & wife couple who have serious problems with their youngest son.


In real life Dan and Ethel were married to others, but both had a serious and similar problem with one of their children.


What was it?


Edited by: cujas on Nov 4, 2011 4:30 PM

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Thanks and that was a good question. Life is strange. *There's No Business Like Show Business* is a fav. of mine. I've read about both Dan Dailey and Ethel Merman and always found it to be such a strange and tragic course of events for those two.


next one:


This talented song and dance gal was partnered with this multi talented song and dance guy at least 9X in films. Can you name them both??





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Thanks. "Gold Diggers Of 1935" was shown on TCM on Friday. It featured the "Lullaby Of Broadway" production number, one of the biggest tap dance numbers in movie history. When the movie was being shot, a star, who was not in the picture, was working on the Warner Bros. lot and heard the song. He went to the studio heads and strongly urged them to put that song into his movie, but they said no. Who was this star and what movie was he filming at the time? By the way, "Gold Diggers Of 1935" was set at the fictional "Hotel Wentworth". For extra credit, can you tell us where the hotel was supposed to be situated? And for double bonus points, can you tell us what city the Prentiss family (Alice Brady's family) was supposed to be from? A little minutiae here for you folks that notice small details.

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Yes, Al Jolson was filming "Go Into Your Dance" with then wife Ruby Keeler. He wanted "Lullaby Of Broadway" in his movie, but Warner Bros. had a lot of money invested in the big production number from "Gold Diggers Of 1935". They must have rounded up about every tap dancer in Hollywood for the big number, so they refused his request. When his contract was up the next year, Al left the studio. The answers to the bonus questions are : The hotel was supposed to be located in Waxapahachee, New Hampshire, a fictional place, I'm sure, and the Prentiss family was supposed to be from Pittsfield, Massachusetts, which is a real city located in the Berkshire hills. Ok, cujas, it's your turn now.

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Miles--the question was a no-brainer. Jolie was the guy with the big voice and the big ego to go with it. It was rare that he didn't get his way.


Ironically, He had started musical talking pictures in Hollywood at WB, but when he left in '36, his wife was a bigger star than him.


The next question is one that, as a tap dancer, I love--


Ginger Rogers looked good, very good in those RKO Astaire-Rogers musicals. But she never produced the taps that you see her dancing. With tap, half the virtousity is the sound.


OK, who recorded her taps for the soundtrack?

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Thanks. Donald O'Connor and Peggy Ryan were members of "The Jivin' Jacks And Jills" at Universal in the forties. Another member of that group went on to dance in several major musicals in the fifties, including movies that featured Howard Keel, Ann Miller, Gene Kelly, and a particular favorite of our miss cujas, Danny Kaye. Later in his career, he appeared in a movie with Barbra Steisand. Who is he?

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