The Smithsonian Institution, established in 1846 for the increase and diffusion of knowledge, is a group of museums and research centers administered by the Government of the United States. Originally organized as the United States National Museum, that ceased to exist as an administrative entity in 1967. Additional facilities are located in Arizona, Massachusetts, New York City, Virginia, more than 200 institutions and museums in 45 states, Puerto Rico, and Panama are Smithsonian Affiliates. The Institutions thirty million annual visitors are admitted without charge and its annual budget is around $1.2 billion with 2/3 coming from annual federal appropriations. Other funding comes from the Institutions endowment and corporate contributions, membership dues, and earned retail, Institution publications include Smithsonian and Air & Space magazines. The British scientist James Smithson left most of his wealth to his nephew Henry James Hungerford, Congress officially accepted the legacy bequeathed to the nation, and pledged the faith of the United States to the charitable trust on July 1,1836.
The American diplomat Richard Rush was dispatched to England by President Andrew Jackson to collect the bequest, Rush returned in August 1838 with 105 sacks containing 104,960 gold sovereigns. Once the money was in hand, eight years of Congressional haggling ensued over how to interpret Smithsons rather vague mandate for the increase, the money was invested by the US Treasury in bonds issued by the state of Arkansas which soon defaulted. The United States Exploring Expedition by the U. S. Navy circumnavigated the globe between 1838 and 1842, in 1846, the regents developed a plan for weather observation, in 1847, money was appropriated for meteorological research. The Institution became a magnet for young scientists from 1857 to 1866, the Smithsonian played a critical role as the U. S. partner institution in early bilateral scientific exchanges with the Academy of Sciences of Cuba. The Smithsonian Institution Building began construction in 1849, designed by architect James Renwick Jr. its interiors were completed by general contract Gilbert Cameron and the building opened in 1855.
The Smithsonians first expansion came with construction of the Arts and Industries Building in 1881, Congress had promised to build a new structure for the museum if the 1876 Philadelphia Centennial Exposition generated enough income. It did, and the building was designed by architects Adolf Cluss and Paul Schulze, meigs of the United States Army Corps of Engineers. The National Zoological Park opened in 1889 to accommodate the Smithsonians Department of Living Animals and this structure was designed by the D. C. architectural firm of Hornblower & Marshall. More than 40 years would pass before the museum, the Museum of History. It was designed by the firm of McKim, Mead & White. That same year, the Smithsonian signed an agreement to take over the Cooper Union Museum for the Arts of Decoration, the National Portrait Gallery and the Smithsonian American Art Museum opened in the Old Patent Office Building on October 7,1968. The first new building to open since the National Museum of Natural History was the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden
Anita Bush was an American stage actress and playwright. Anita Bush was born on September 1,1883, in Brooklyn and her first experience with theater was with her father who is described as, “a theatrical costumer whose clients included many New York actors and performers”. She spent hours working alongside her father, gaining exposer to many white theater actors, while working with her father she had a sister whom she acted alongside in a play, called Antony and Cleopatra which inspired her to pursue a career in the theater realm. While working with her father at the Bijou Theater, she saw the Williams and Walker company performing a piece on stage titled and it was during this time that she asked her father for permission to audition for the group, in hopes to gain a career in acting. At the age of 17, she was cast with the company and it allowed her to tour the world, with the Bijou Theater Company, she “traveled to England with the musical and performed in the Chorus of four other Williams and Walker shows”.
After performing in her final play titled, Mr. Lode of Koal with the troop, the dance group was called the “Anita Bush and her 8 Shimmy Babies”. Unfortunately, at the break of her career she had to stop dancing due to a back injury, in the early part of the 20th Century, Bush worked extensively as a dancer in musical theatre and vaudeville performing with the likes of Bert Williams and George Walker. Downs she put on vaudeville acts and plays, with a signed contract with Elmore, Bush went to Billie Burke, a Harlem-based white director/playwright to stage his play, The Girl at the Fort, a light comedy with five characters. Bush assembled the cast which included Carlotta Freeman, Dooley Wilson, the play opened at the Lincoln Theatre in November 1915. For the next six weeks, Bushs company presented a different play every two weeks to much success, the Anita Bush Stock Company presented a one-act play titled The Girl at the Fort. Downs and Bush’s team allowed them to generate revenue and popularity.
Downs asked Bush to change the name of her company from the Anita Bush Stock Company to the Lincoln Players, the owner of the theatre, insisted that the name of her company be changed to the Lincoln Players. Bush’s response to the request was, “… moved her company to the Lafayette Theater to open with a sketch entitled Over the Footlights”, Anita Bush and The Lafayette Players The Lafayette Players Stock Company was owned by Anita Bush in the early 1900s. Although her company had not yet established, she convinced Elmore that she could mount a production in just two weeks. In March 1916, the Lafayette Theatre purchased the rights to her company, Bush organized four additional companies of the Lafayette Players which toured throughout the United States. At the Lafayette Theatre, the Anita Bush Stock Company would mount a new play on a weekly basis, throughout the Lafayette Players lifetime with Bush, she reached a point where she could no longer afford the group and sold her right to her “comanager”.
Even though she no longer managed the Players, she is credited with the responsibility of their reputation, as a faithful member she remained with them until 1920. During this year she left the company to pursue a career in motion pictures, in 1921, she appeared in The Bull-Dogger, the first of two Norman Film Company productions starring Bill Pickett
Lena Mary Calhoun Horne was an American jazz and pop music singer, dancer and civil rights activist. Hornes career spanned over 70 years appearing in film, because of the Red Scare and her political activism, Horne found herself blacklisted and unable to get work in Hollywood. She announced her retirement in March 1980, but the year starred in a one-woman show, Lena Horne, The Lady and Her Music. She toured the country in the show, earning numerous awards, Horne continued recording and performing sporadically into the 1990s, disappearing from the public eye in 2000. Horne died of heart failure on May 9,2010. Lena Horne was born in Bedford–Stuyvesant and her mother, Edna Louise Scottron, was a granddaughter of inventor Samuel R. Scottron, she was an actress with a black theatre troupe and traveled extensively. Ednas maternal grandmother, Amelie Louise Ashton, was a Senegalese slave, Horne was mainly raised by her grandparents, Cora Calhoun and Edwin Horne. When Horne was five, she was sent to live in Georgia, for several years, she traveled with her mother.
From Fort Valley, southwest of Macon, Horne briefly moved to Atlanta with her mother and she attended Girls High School, an all-girls public high school in Brooklyn that has since become Boys and Girls High School, she dropped out without earning a diploma. Aged 18, she moved in with her father in Pittsburgh, staying in the citys Little Harlem for almost five years and learning from native Pittsburghers Billy Strayhorn and Billy Eckstine, among others. In the fall of 1933, Horne joined the line of the Cotton Club in New York City. In the spring of 1934, she had a role in the Cotton Club Parade starring Adelaide Hall. A few years later, Horne joined Noble Sissles Orchestra, with which she toured and with whom she made her first records, issued by Decca. After she separated from her first husband, Horne toured with bandleader Charlie Barnet in 1940–41 and she replaced Dinah Shore as the featured vocalist on NBCs popular jazz series The Chamber Music Society of Lower Basin Street. The shows resident maestros, Henry Levine and Paul Laval, recorded with Horne in June 1941 for RCA Victor, Hornes songs from Boogie Woogie Dream were released individually as soundies.
Horne made her Hollywood nightclub debut at Felix Youngs Little Troc on the Sunset Strip in January 1942, a few weeks later, she was signed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. In November 1944, she was featured in an episode of the radio series Suspense, as a fictional nightclub singer. In 1945 and 1946, she sang with Billy Eckstines Orchestra, as a result, most of Hornes film appearances were stand-alone sequences that had no bearing on the rest of the film, so editing caused no disruption to the storyline
Beulah (radio and TV series)
The Beulah Show is an American situation-comedy series that ran on CBS Radio from 1945 to 1954, and on ABC Television from 1950 to 1952. The show is notable for being the first sitcom to star an African American actress, the show was controversial for its caricatures of African Americans. In 1943, Beulah moved over to Thats Life and became a character on the popular Fibber McGee. In 1945, Beulah was spun off into her own show, The Marlin Hurt and Beulah Show. Beulah was employed as a housekeeper and cook for the Henderson family, father Harry, mother Alice, after Hurt died of a heart attack in 1946, he was replaced by another white actor, Bob Corley, and the series was retitled The Beulah Show. McDaniel continued in the role until she became ill in 1952 and was replaced by Lillian Randolph, for most of the radio shows run, the series ran as a 15-minute daily sitcom, a format popular among daytime serials. Most of the comedy in the derived from the fact that Beulah. Other characters included Beulahs boyfriend Bill Jackson, a handyman who is constantly proposing marriage, and Oriole, for at least the first season, Beulah was filmed at Biograph Studios in the Bronx while Ethel Waters was simultaneously appearing on Broadway in The Member of the Wedding.
Ethel Waters starred as Beulah for the first year of the TV series before quitting in 1951, when production moved to Hollywood, Hattie McDaniel, star of radios Beulah, was cast in the title role in Summer 1951, but only filmed six shows before falling ill. She was quickly replaced by Louise Beavers in 1951, the McDaniel episodes were shelved pending an improvement of her health, and so the second season began in April 1952 starting with the Beavers episodes. The six McDaniel episodes were tagged onto the end of the season, starting July 1952. It was around this time that McDaniel learned that she had advanced breast cancer, Beavers returned in the role of Beulah for the first part of the third Beulah season, which aired from September to December 1952. Butterfly McQueen, starred as Oriole for the first season, percy Bud Harris originally portrayed Bill, but he walked out on the part during the first season, accusing the producers of forcing him to portray an Uncle Tom character. He was succeeded in the role by Casablanca pianist Dooley Wilson until Ernest Whitman followed radio co-stars McDaniel, the show was directed at various times by future sitcom veterans as Richard Bare and Abby Berlin. A total of 87 episodes were filmed and produced of the television program, all 87 episodes were included in syndication packages throughout the latter half of the 1950s for local stations across the country.
Only seven episodes are known to exist on 16mm format and circulate among collectors, all 87 episodes are housed in an archive in their original 35mm format. 21 episodes of the series have survived to the present day. As a daily sitcom, preserving the radio version of Beulah was not as high of a priority as it was for prime time programming, the following episodes and air dates can be found at YouTube and Archive. org. S. A
Harlem is a large neighborhood in the northern section of the New York City borough of Manhattan. Since the 1920s, Harlem has been known as a major African-American residential, originally a Dutch village, formally organized in 1658, it is named after the city of Haarlem in the Netherlands. Harlems history has been defined by a series of economic boom-and-bust cycles, African-American residents began to arrive by a lot in 1905, with numbers fed by the Great Migration. In the 1920s and 1930s, Central and West Harlem were the focus of the Harlem Renaissance, with job losses in the time of the Great Depression and the deindustrialization of New York City after World War II, rates of crime and poverty increased significantly. Harlems African-American population peaked in the 1950s, in the second half of the 20th century, Harlem became a major hub of African-American businesses. In 2008, the United States Census found that for the first time since the 1930s, less than half of residents were black, since New York Citys revival in the late 20th century, long-time residents of Harlem have been experiencing the effects of gentrification and new wealth.
Harlem is located in Upper Manhattan, often referred to as Uptown by locals. Central Harlem is bounded by Fifth Avenue on the east, Central Park on the south, Morningside Park, St. Nicholas Avenue and Edgecombe Avenue on the west, and the Harlem River on the north. A chain of three large linear parks—Morningside Park, St. Nicholas Park and Jackie Robinson Park—are situated on steeply rising banks, on the east, Fifth Avenue and Marcus Garvey Park, known as Mount Morris Park, separate this area from East Harlem. The bulk of the falls under Manhattan Community Board No.10. In the late 2000s, South Harlem, emerged from area redevelopment, the West Harlem neighborhoods of Manhattanville and Hamilton Heights comprise part of Manhattan Community Board No.9. The two neighborhoods area is bounded by Cathedral Parkway on the South, 155th Street on the North, nicholas/Bradhurst/Edgecome Avenues on the East, and Riverside Park/the Hudson River on the west. Morningside Heights is located in the southern most section of West Harlem, Manhattanville begins at roughly 123rd Street and extends northward to 135th Street.
The northern most section of West Harlem is Hamilton Heights, the New York City Police Department patrols six precincts located within Harlem. The New York City Fire Department operates 9 firehouses in Harlem, as many as several hundred farmed the Harlem flatlands. Between 1637 and 1639, a few settlements were established, during the American Revolution, the British burned Harlem to the ground. It took a time to rebuild, as Harlem grew more slowly than the rest of Manhattan during the late 18th century. After the American Civil War, Harlem experienced an economic boom starting in 1868, the neighborhood continued to serve as a refuge for New Yorkers, but increasingly those coming north were poor and Jewish or Italian
Eddie "Rochester" Anderson
Edmund Lincoln Anderson was an American comedian and actor. Anderson got his start in business as a teenager on the vaudeville circuit. In the early 1930s, he transitioned into films and radio, in 1937, he began his most famous role of Rochester van Jones, usually known simply as Rochester, the valet of Jack Benny, on his radio show The Jack Benny Program. Anderson became the first Black American to have a role on a nationwide radio program. When the series moved to television, Anderson continued in the role until the end in 1965. After the series ended, Anderson remained active with guest starring roles on television and he was an avid horse-racing fan who owned several race horses and worked as a horse trainer at the Hollywood Park Racetrack. Anderson was married twice and had four children and he died of heart disease in February 1977 at the age of 71. Anderson was born in Oakland and his father, Big Ed Anderson, was a minstrel performer, while his mother, Ella Mae, had been a tightrope walker until her career was ended by a fall.
He described himself as being a descendant of slaves who were able to leave the South during the Civil War through the Underground Railroad, at the age of ten and his family moved from Oakland to San Francisco. He left school when he was 14 to work as a boy to help his family. Stage-struck at an age, he spent much of his free time waiting at stage doors and cutting up on street corners with his friend and brother. Anderson briefly tried being a jockey, but had to give it up when he became too heavy, Anderson started in show business as part of an all African-American revue at age 14, he had previously won an amateur contest at a vaudeville theater in San Francisco. Anderson joined the cast of Struttin Along in 1923 and was part of Steppin High both as a dancer and as one of the Three Black Aces with his brother, Cornelius and he worked in vaudeville with Cornelius. Anderson began adding comedy to his song and dance act in 1926, during one of his vaudeville tours to the East Coast, Anderson first met Jack Benny, the men only exchanged greetings and shook hands.
Andersons vocal cords were ruptured when he was a youngster selling newspapers in San Francisco, the newsboys believed those who were able to shout the loudest sold the most papers. The permanent damage done to his vocal cords left him with the gravel voice familiar to radio listeners and television viewers over a course of more than twenty years. Anderson was a dancer and got his show business start in this way, Andersons first appearance on The Jack Benny Program was on March 28,1937. Benny liked the idea of the sketch enough to wire California to find someone for the role of the train porter before the script was actually finished
The Hollywood Reporter
Headquartered in Los Angeles, THR is part of the Hollywood Reporter-Billboard Media Group, a group of properties that includes Billboard and SpinMedia. It is owned by Eldridge Industries, a company owned by an executive of its previous owner. Under Janice Min, a faltering THR was relaunched in 2010 as a weekly print magazine with a revamped, continuously updated website, as well as mobile. THR was founded in 1930 by William R, billy Wilkerson as Hollywoods first daily entertainment trade newspaper. The first edition appeared on September 3,1930, and featured Wilkersons front-page Tradeviews column, the newspaper appeared Monday to Saturday for the first 10 years, except for a brief period, Monday to Friday from 1940. Wilkerson ran the THR until his death in September 1962, although his final column appeared 18 months prior, from the late 1930s, Wilkerson used THR to push the view that the industry was a communist stronghold. In particular, he opposed the screenplay writers trade union, the Screen Writers Guild, in 1946 the Guild considered creating an American Authors Authority to hold copyright for writers, instead of ownership passing to the studios.
Wilkerson devoted his Tradeviews column to the issue on July 29,1946 and he went to confession before publishing it, knowing the damage it would cause, but was apparently encouraged by the priest to go ahead with it. The column contained the first industry names, including Dalton Trumbo and Howard Koch, on became the Hollywood blacklist. Eight of the 11 people Wilkerson named were among the Hollywood Ten who were blacklisted after hearings in 1947 by the House Un-American Activities Committee. In 1997 THR reporter David Robb wrote a story about the newspapers involvement, for the blacklists 65th anniversary in 2012, the THR published a lengthy investigative piece about Wilkersons role, by reporters Gary Baum and Daniel Miller. The same edition carried an apology from Wilkersons son, W. R. Wilkerson III and he wrote that his father had been motivated by revenge for his thwarted ambition to own a studio. Wilkersons wife, Tichi Wilkerson Kassel, took over as publisher and she sold the paper on April 11,1988, to Affiliated Publications, parent company of Billboard Publications, for $26.7 million.
Robert J. Dowling became THR president in 1988 and editor-in-chief, Dowling brought in Alex Ben Block as editor in 1990, and editorial quality of both news and specials steadily improved. Block and Teri Ritzer dampened much of the coverage and cronyism that had infected the paper under Wilkerson. After Block left, former editor at Variety, Anita Busch, was brought in as editor between 1999 and 2001. Busch was credited with making the paper competitive with Variety, tony Uphoff assumed the publisher position in November 2005. Uphoff was replaced in October 2006 by John Kilcullen, the publisher of Billboard, Kilcullen was a defendant in Billboards infamous dildo lawsuit, in which he was accused of race discrimination and sexual harassment
The Nicholas Brothers were a team of dancing brothers and Harold, who performed a highly acrobatic technique known as flash dancing. With a high level of artistry and daring innovations, they were considered by many to be the greatest tap dancers of their day. Their performance in the musical number Jumpin Jive featured in the movie Stormy Weather is considered by many to be the most virtuosic dance display of all time, Fayard Antonio Nicholas was born October 20,1914, in Mobile, Alabama. Harold Lloyd Nicholas was born March 17,1921, in Winston-Salem, the Nicholas Brothers grew up in Philadelphia, the sons of college-educated musicians who played in their own band at the old Standard Theater—their mother at the piano and father on drums. The brothers were fascinated by the combination of tap dancing and acrobatics, Fayard often imitated their acrobatics and clowning for the kids in his neighborhood. Neither Fayard nor Harold had any formal dance training, Fayard taught himself how to dance and perform by watching and imitating the professional entertainers on stage.
He taught his siblings, first performing with his sister Dorothy as the Nicholas Kids. Harold idolized his brother and learned by copying his moves. Dorothy opted out of the act, and the Nicholas Kids became known as the Nicholas Brothers, as word spread of their talents, the Nicholas Brothers became famous in Philadelphia. They were first hired for a program, The Horn and Hardart Kiddie Hour, and by other local theatres such as the Standard. When they were performing at the Pearl, the manager of The Lafayette, the brothers moved to Philadelphia in 1926 and gave their first performance at the Standard a few years later. In 1932 they became the act at Harlems Cotton Club. They astonished their mainly white audiences dancing to the jazz tempos of Bugle Call Rag and they performed at the Cotton Club for two years, working with the orchestras of Lucky Millinder, Cab Calloway, Duke Ellington and Jimmy Lunceford. During this time they filmed their first movie short, Pie Pie Blackbird, in 1932, with Eubie Blake, the brothers attributed their success to this unique style of dancing, which was greatly in demand during this time.
The brothers made their Broadway debut in the Ziegfeld Follies of 1936 and appeared in Richard Rodgers and they impressed their choreographer, George Balanchine, who invited them to appear in Babes in Arms. With Balanchines training, they learned many new stunts and their talent led many to assume they were trained ballet dancers. By 1940, they had moved to Hollywood and for several decades alternated between movies, concerts, Broadway and extensive tours of Latin America and Europe. They toured England with a production of Blackbirds, which gave the Nicholas Brothers an opportunity to see, the Nicholas Brothers taught master classes in tap dance as teachers-in-residence at Harvard University and Radcliffe as Ruth Page Visiting Artists
Bill Bojangles Robinson was an American tap dancer and actor, the best known and most highly paid African American entertainer in the first half of the twentieth century. According to dance critic Marshall Stearns, Robinsons contribution to tap dance is exact and he brought it up on its toes, dancing upright and swinging, giving tap a …hitherto-unknown lightness and presence. His signature routine was the dance, in which Robinson would tap up and down a set of stairs in a rhythmically complex sequence of steps. Robinson is credited with having introduced a new word, into popular culture, via his repeated use of it in vaudeville and radio appearances. Robinson is remembered for the support he gave to fellow performers, including Fred Astaire, Lena Horne, Jesse Owens, Sammy Davis, Jr. and Ann Miller credited him as a teacher and mentor, and Miller credits him with having changed the course of my life. Gregory Hines produced and starred in a movie about Robinson for which he won the NAACP Best actor Award.
In 1989, the U. S. Congress designated May 25, Robinsons birthday, luther Robinson was born in Richmond and raised in its Jackson Ward neighborhood. His parents were Maxwell, a worker, and Maria Robinson. His grandmother raised him after both died in 1884 when he was eight years old—his father from chronic heart disease. Details of Robinsons early life are only through legend, much of it perpetuated by Robinson himself. He claimed he was christened Luther—a name he did not like and he suggested to his younger brother Bill that they should exchange names. Eventually, the exchange between the names of both brothers was made, the brother subsequently adopted the name of Percy and under that name achieved recognition as a musician. At the age of five, Robinson began dancing for small change, appearing as a hoofer or busker in local beer gardens, a promoter saw him performing outside the Globe Theater in Richmond and offered him a job as a pick in a local minstrel show. At that time, minstrel shows were staged by performers in blackface.
Pickaninnies were cute black children at the edge of the singing, dancing. In 1890, at the age of 13, Robinson ran away to Washington, D. C. where he did odd jobs at Benning Race Track and he teamed up with a young Al Jolson, with Jolson singing while Robinson danced for pennies or to sell newspapers. In 1891 he was hired by Whallen and Martel, touring with Mayme Remingtons troupe in a show titled The South Before the War, performing again as a pickaninny and he travelled with the show for over a year before growing too mature to play the role credibly. In 1898, he returned to Richmond where he joined the United States Army as a rifleman when the Spanish–American War broke out and he received an accidental gunshot wound from a second lieutenant who was cleaning his gun
Federal Theatre Project
The Federal Theatre Project was a New Deal program to fund theatre and other live artistic performances and entertainment programs in the United States during the Great Depression. It was one of five Federal Project Number One projects sponsored by the Works Progress Administration and it was created not as a cultural activity but as a relief measure to employ artists, writers and theater workers. The Federal Theatre Project ended when its funding was canceled after strong Congressional objections to the political tone of a small percentage of its productions. Part of the Works Progress Administration, the Federal Theatre Project was a New Deal program established August 27,1935, funded under the Emergency Relief Appropriation Act of 1935. Of the $4.88 billion allocated to the WPA, $27 million was approved for the employment of artists, the Federal Theatre Project was a new approach to unemployment in the theatre profession. Only those certified as employable could be offered work, and that work was to be within the individuals defined skills, Flanagan was given the daunting task of building a nationwide theater program to employ thousands of unemployed artists in as little time as possible.
The problems of the theatre preceded the collapse of 1929. By that time it was threatened with extinction due to the growing popularity of films and radio. Many actors and stagehands had suffered since 1914, when began to replace stock, vaudeville. Sound motion pictures displaced 30,000 musicians, unemployed directors, designers and stagecrew took any kind of work they were able to find, whatever it paid, and charity was often their only recourse. This is a job were asking you to do, Hopkins told Flanagan at their first meeting in May 1935. I dont know why I still hang on to the idea that unemployed actors get just as hungry as anybody else, Hopkins promised a free, uncensored theatre — something Flanagan spent the next four years trying to build. The far reaching purpose is the establishment of theatres so vital to community life that they continue to function after the program of this Federal Project is completed. Within a year the Federal Theatre Project employed 15,000 men and women and its productions totalled approximately 1,200, not including its radio programs.
Because the Federal Theatre was created to employ and train people, not to generate revenue, at its conclusion,65 percent of its productions were still presented free of charge. The total cost of the Federal Theatre Project was $46 million, when Federal Theatre was criticized for spending money, it was criticized for doing what it was set up to do. The Federal Theatre Project did not operate in every state, since many lacked a sufficient number of unemployed people in the theatre profession, the project in Alabama was closed in January 1937 when its personnel were transferred to a new unit in Georgia. Only one event was presented in Arkansas, units created in Minnesota and Wisconsin were closed in 1936, projects in Indiana, Rhode Island and Texas were discontinued in 1937, and the Iowa project was closed in 1938
Stormy Weather (1943 film)
Stormy Weather is a 1943 American musical film produced and released by 20th Century Fox. The movie is considered one of the best Hollywood musicals with an African-American cast, Stormy Weather takes its title from the 1933 song of the same title, which is performed near the end of the film. It is based upon the life and times of its star, Robinson plays Bill Williamson, a talented born dancer who returns home in 1918 after fighting in World War I and tries to pursue a career as a performer. Along the way, he approaches a beautiful singer named Selina Rogers, the character of Selina was invented for the film, Robinson did not have such a romance in real life. Dooley Wilson co-stars as Bills perpetually-broke friend, other notable performers in the movie were Cab Calloway and Fats Waller, the Nicholas Brothers dancing duo, comedian F. E. Miller, singer Ada Brown, and Katherine Dunham with her dance troupe. Despite a running time of only 77 minutes, the film features some 20 musical numbers and this was Robinsons final film, Waller died only a few months after its release.
Horne performs in dance numbers with Robinson. The movie was adapted by Frederick J. Jackson, Ted Koehler, kraft from the story by Jerry Horwin and Seymour B. Robinson. It was directed by Andrew L. Stone, in 2001, Stormy Weather was selected for the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant. It was released on DVD in North America in 2005, the soundtrack has been released on CD by 20th Century Fox references 7822-11007, though Sunbeam Records released the soundtrack on vinyl in 1976. This record included Lena Horne singing Good For Nothin Joe, a song that did not appear in the movie, fred Astaire told the Nicholas Brothers that the Jumping Jive sequence was the greatest movie musical number he had ever seen. The musical numbers in the movie elements of minstrelsy. The performance of a cakewalk for example, features flower headdresses reminiscent of the Little Black Sambo figures used in historical misrepresentations of Black American males, Stormy Weather at the American Film Institute Catalog Stormy Weather at the Internet Movie Database Review of Stormy Weather at TVGuide. com
Joan Hume McCracken was an American dancer and comedian who became famous for her role as Sylvie in the original 1943 production of Oklahoma. She was noted for her performances in the Broadway shows Bloomer Girl, Billion Dollar Baby and Dance Me a Song, though not widely remembered today, McCracken was a trend-setter in musical comedy dance. Role, McCracken became an instant sensation for a carefully choreographed pratfall during the Many a New Day dance number. McCracken was generous in promoting the careers of other dancers, including Shirley MacLaine and she was noted for unconventional behavior and was one of the real-life person counterparts of Holly Golightly in Truman Capotes novella Breakfast at Tiffanys. By age 11, she was awarded a scholarship for acrobatic work at a Philadelphia gymnasium and she dropped out of West Philadelphia High School in the tenth grade to study dance in New York with choreographer George Balanchine at the opening of the School of American Ballet in 1934. In 1935, McCracken returned to Philadelphia to join Littlefields new ballet company, when the ballet company made its official debut in November 1935, McCracken was one of its principal soloists.
In 1937, she went on a European tour with the company and this put a strain on her health. McCracken kept her diabetes a secret throughout her life to prevent damage to her career, the disease made her prone to fainting spells, sometimes during performances, and led to medical complications in her life. In 1940, McCracken and her new husband Jack Dunphy, a dancer, at first, neither failed to obtain employment, and McCracken danced in Radio City Music Halls ballet company. In 1942, McCracken and Dunphy both successfully auditioned for roles in the ensemble of the new Rodgers and Hammerstein musical Away We Go. Agnes de Mille, who had just staged Aaron Coplands Rodeo for the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo, was staging the production, the show went into rehearsals in early 1943. Like her husband, McCracken was cast in a dance role in the chorus. Early in out-of-town tryouts, she began to distinguish herself, by the time of the Broadway opening of the show, now named Oklahoma. De Mille a she had developed her comic performance in the role of Sylvie and she became known as The Girl Who Fell Down.
Sources differ as to whether the roles distinctive fall was devised by McCracken or de Mille, McCracken has said the ideas was hers, while de Mille and others recall it as being the choreographers. Celeste Holm, a member of the original cast, attributed the idea to composer Richard Rodgers, led to a contract with Warner Brothers. The studio cast her in Hollywood Canteen, an all-star extravaganza in which Warner contract players portrayed themselves, McCracken appeared in a specialty dance routine called Ballet in Jive. The dance number received favorable critical attention, McCracken was initially enthusiastic about working in films, but she was discouraged by her experiences working on Hollywood Canteen