Category Archives: Footlight Parade

I was passing the studio the other day

The only snag with time travelling back to the 1930’s is if you get caught out time travelling. Its fine if I put on the Clara Johnson look, as no one is the wiser, but if I forget, or the camouflage vanishes, well…

So there I was, coolly back in 1933, walking past Warner’s studio, when I felt a hand on my shoulder, and a voice said, “Clara, so good to see you, we need you for a photo shoot right away. Just go put on a sexy dress, get down to the stills studio, and get it done.”

Well, given I didnt want her to get into trouble, what can I say, I went along with it. Short dress, showing lots of leg, enough to get the men excited, and all that. Up until yesterday, no concern, never seen recently, so I assumed it had got conveniently lost, until it hadnt!

1930s me

OK, anyone who believed that story, you’re way too innocent, even if it looks like it was taken 85 years ago, lol. Actually, it was taken about 5 years ago, but you have to admit, it has the look of something far more vintage. This fact is down to the talent of a friend named Frank, nothing to do with time travel, or studio photo shoots at Warner’s in 1933. But yes, look at those legs, lol, all me!

I assume its all done with one of these modern computer filter things, to turn this

2nd Photoshoot picture 4

into my 1930’s self! I actually posted it for a Myrna Loy ‘homage’ photo contest, said jokingly that it should look more 1930’s, and lo and behold…

But fine, if you really want to think that the first picture is genuinely me, taken in 1933, and that the second one is a colourised version of it, then fine. But which is the true story, you decide! 😉

So, you might then be asking, what was Clara doing at Warner’s in 1933, in the first place? Well, unsurprisingly, it was for one of those magical Buzby Berkeley musical numbers. Clearly she was a competent swimmer, as she is in this, see if you can spot her? Easiest in the fountain section, but you do see her in the pool too. So…?

A chorus girl’s dressing room

Fine, for those privileged to see both blogs tonight, you’ve got one serious one, and a silly one. Of course, in either case, if you only know of one, or the other, well, its pot luck, in that case! In case you needed tipping off, this is the serious one.

Today I got to find out where I’d be changing on Saturday, for my ‘performance’ as an Edwardian Lady in Blackpool, in the chorus girl changing room at the pier! Yes, who could I possibly know who would have changed regularly in such a place? Hmm, Clara Johnson, just maybe? But no, having either always worked in school plays, am dram, and the (very rare) theater, I’ve never had the delight of being a chorus girl. Played a number of girl parts, long before transitioning, but in this life, a chorus girl, oh I wish!

So, unsurprisingly yes, I’m looking forward to this moment more than I probably should, even though my outfit will be far less revealing than anything thats normally worn on the chorus line at Blackpool, or in all likelihood, anything Clara got to wear, in that sense! I mean, some of her outfits were relatively normal, but revealing, though others were crazy, and revealing! One of them shortly, honest… I do suspect that if ‘someone’ gets her chance, in November, I’ll probably get to wear something that would make Clara giggle, blush, or both! Yes, I probably will, even at my age, just because it would be fun, however silly it might look. So fine, A, if you can find something in my size, bring it on!

I think its fair to say that I’m going to walk out of that dressing room in an outfit that a chorus girl would be unlikely to wear, given the era its from. I suspect that even if they’d made a musical based in the Edwardian era, that the outfits that the girls wore would be more revealing than mine, lol. But equally, wouldnt it be funny if I walked out of that changing room, went through a time warp, and out walked a young dancer, wearing not a lot, onto a Hollywood studio dance stage? As long as I had Clara’s dance skills too, at least!

“Yes, Mr Berkeley, I’m ready for my dance routine.”

Sorry, Miss Swanson, couldnt resist pinching that idea! Yes, other than maybe A, I suspect this is as close as I will ever get to chorus girl life!

Right, video time. Among the numerous movies that Clara danced in, was one called Footlight Parade. Why I’ve picked this one is simple, earlier today, someone posted a picture of 13 chorines from that movie, pictured in a row, and asked if anyone knew any of them. Yes, you guessed it, one of them was Clara! So… And also, yes, she is seen in one of those cute, crazy cat outfits in this number. So…Yes, Ruby Keeler, and Dick Powell star, but there among the cat girls…