From aboard the IMDboat at San Diego Comic-Con, Kevin Smith talks to the cast of "Teen Wolf" about the solemn yet celebratory panel for the upcoming season. This news and more in our Guide to Comic-Con.
Black vaudeville acts are featured in this Vitaphone Pepper Pot short. In addition to those listed in the credits, acts include The 3 Whippets, a group of acrobats; and The Five Racketeers,... See full summary »
The Nicholas Brothers,
The 3 Whippets
An elderly barber shop owner wins a sweepstake and uses the winnings to elaborately remodel his run-down shop. For in-house entertainment he hires his musician friends as the jazz orchestra and the four shoeshiners are skilled tap dancers.
Claude Hopkins & Orchestra,
State College is a coeducational school where the athletics are more important than academics. All there are preparing for a big multi-sport match with arch rival Dale College. Students ... See full summary »
In Hell, Satan appears to tell us that rhythm is coming to life again, then we're taken to a sound stage where Jimmie Lunceford conducts his dance orchestra. He's in black tie and a tuxedo ... See full summary »
Jimmie Lunceford and His Orchestra,
The Three Brown Jacks
This first entry in the "Believe It Or Not" series of shorts visits northern Africa. Included are a look at the Tuareg people of the Sahara Desert, a waterfall whose under-surface builds up... See full summary »
Louis Prima and a quintet play on a low stage in front of an audience at tables. They open with "Way Down Yonder in New Orleans," then Shirley Lloyd joins them to sing "I Can't Give You Anything But Love." They do a quick "If She Loves Me," with Prima singing. Then, from one of the tables in the audience, Ted Gary sings "You're an Education" to Mitzi Dahl, then the two of them tap dance. The band finishes with an up-tempo version of "Loch Lomond," and the audience hits the dance floor. The quintet includes clarinet, piano, guitar, bass, and a drummer who also plays vibraphone, with Louis Prima on trumpet. Written by
Louis Prima, Himself:
You take the high road and I'll take the low road, And I'll be in Scotland afore ya; Where me and my true love will never meet again, On the bonnie, bonnie banks of Loch Lomond...
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Director Roy Mack out-did himself with "Swing Cat's Jamboree."
Not only does he get -- surely only as expected -- some wonderful musical performances from the iconic Cab Calloway and other singers and players, but he gives some fascinating silhouette shots and camera angles, meaning this was not just a throw-away time-filling programmer.
So far as I can tell, these musical shorts were generally intended as throw-away time-filling program padding, and apparently generally had minuscule budgets, but in "Swing Cat's Jamboree," Mack used every penny to advantage -- our advantage.
The opening of "Swing Cat's Jamboree" reminded me a bit of a recently presented Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle feature on Turner Classic Movies: The star is wasting time in his mama's kitchen while she is slaving away doing laundry. Fatty, of course, just makes a mess, but Cab is heard by a passing church deacon who, in my opinion strangely, has a wife who reads tea leaves.
He invites Cab down to his wife's place and she forecasts, among other things, that he will indeed have an orchestra. Which he does in a dream-like cutaway -- really just an excuse to present a musical number, for which I am and you should be grateful -- and then Mack cuts back to Cab, the deacon, and the tea-leaf reader as she offers another prediction.
Still, it's a story and a more reasonable premise than most of the other musical shorts I've seen.
Frankly, I had never before admired and liked Cab Calloway as much as I obviously should have. In this short, he sings and displays his personality and his ability so even I now understand just why he is an icon, a real classic character of the Big Band era.
He deserves every drop of adulation we can give him.
"Swing Cat's Jamboree" is an excellent musical short, and I do hope you get to sit and watch and listen.
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