I don’t know what viewers will see in this clip from the 1936 Bing Crosby musical PENNIES FROM HEAVEN, which gave Louis his first starring role in a full-length motion picture. Some may find it offensive, demeaning. After all, the premise of this dramatization of “The Skeleton in the Closet” is racist. Colored folks, everyone knew back then, were frightened to death of spooks.
But I see Louis the peerless actor, storyteller, comedian, also the man who was a great dancer. And that masked drummer, young Lionel Hampton, is swinging heroically.
But when Louis blows his mighty horn and chases that skeleton back to the graveyard, I see a man vanquishing death. Not only for himself, but for all of us. What we love and what we create lives on.
Posted in "Thanks A Million", Irreplaceable, Jazz Titans, Pay Attention!, Swing You Cats!, The Real Thing, The Things We Love
Tagged 1936, Bing Crosby, Dailymotion, jazz blog, Jazz Lives, Lionel Hampton, Louis Armstrong, Michael Steinman, Pennies From Heaven, racist stereotypes, The Skeleton in the Closet
But sweeten it . . . !
If you need something to cheer you up, or you are already cheerful, watch the Silver Shadows, male and female, strut and wiggle. It’s not hard to see how much fun they are having, is it?
I first met Naomi Uyama at Banjo Jim’s, when she had come up from her Washington, D.C. home to be one of Tamar Korn’s Boswell Sisters. (I didn’t ask whether she aspired to be Vet or Martha, but perhaps that question would have been impudent.) And now I find out that she is a champion Lindy Hop dancer as well.
Visit www.naomiuyama.com for more delightful information.
Posted in "Thanks A Million", Pay Attention!, Swing You Cats!, The Heroes Among Us, The Real Thing, The Things We Love
Tagged Banjo Jim's, Boswell Sisters, Connee Boswell, Dinah, jazz blog, Jazz Lives, Lindy Hop, Martha Boswell, Michael Steinman, Naomi Uyama, Silver Shadows, Sweet and Hot, swing dancing, Tamar Korn, Vet Boswell