Category Archives: Musical

The ultimate choreographer?

I thought I would need to blog on some depressing news relating to an area of Huddersfield, but thankfully I’ve been saved by events, but I’m not going to mention what that was, in case I need some inspiration for Sunday’s posting.

Officially, for most of her known dancing career in the movies, there is one choreographer, who it seems Clara Johnson danced in most of his routines. She certainly did dance for others (she seems to have danced for most studios, despite being a Goldwyn Girl for at least part of her career), but its rare to find a Busby Berkeley movie where she isnt in the chorus line. In fact I’m not concerned there are any she missed, but as I havent seen everyone of them, dont quote me on that, she might have missed one, lol.

Oh, why am I posting this today, you ask? Well, on this day, in 1895, the (probably) ultimate choreographer was born. He did do numerous Broadway productions in the 1920’s, but when sound, and musicals struck gold in Hollywood, he went to work there, and of course, because we still have film record of it, its what he’s remembered for.

The man was a genius in a choreograph sense, but clearly no angel. Married 6 times, had issues with alcohol, but somehow survived to 80, before dying of natural causes. He always said he only ever wanted to touch his previous routines, and in truth, he did a pretty good job of it. What I dont know, is what he was like to work for? I suspect he worked the girls hard, but was he fair with it, or did ambition ever just win out?

Just saying that Clara was happy to dance for him for about 7 years isnt really a big clue. She was never more than chorus line material, he was master of the dance routines, so it might just be she had to survive working with him, to pay for the rent, and other things, who knows? Whether he ever knew her as more than ‘one of the dance team’, again who knows?

But yes, when you think of 1930’s choreographed dance routines, in the Hollywood musicals, there is one name that probably comes to mind before all others, Busby Berkeley.

So therefore, ironically, for the video tonight, you get none of the music that the young ladies danced to, just their amazing routines. But yes, got to go with this, as it shows the full gamut of the dance routines he created. And yes, Clara Johnson appears in this mix numerous times!

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We Came To Dance

OK, so I worked the title to suit the video here, but I’ll include a mention of a certain chorus line dancer, and her various troupes, just to make it work.

As far as I know, no woman has been told to flaunt her body, albeit in the cause of entertainment, without being willing to do so. And no, the President Club hostesses werent given the full picture of what would happen, thats for sure. But any cheerleader, or walk on girl knows what they are at a sporting event for, and in the case of most, getting well paid for, and thats to add ‘an image’ to said event. I have no idea what these young ladies get paid for doing so at F1 races, boxing, US sports, and other sports get paid, but I suspect its a decent wage? Oh, and in the case of certain events, publicity too!

Yes, lets face it, if I was young, pretty, and had all the right bits, in the right places, I’d probably give it a go, and enjoy the experience. Fine, I’m elderly, and not currently owning all the right bits, but fine, if someone can arrange me a twenty something body, and some cute looks, try stopping me, if I got the chance.

Thats why I was sad to read today that the PDC Darts people have bowed to pressure from a Feminist group, and decided to drop the walk on girls, and said group has instantly turned on other sports, now they can sense blood. I am Feminist, but to a sensible degree, seeking equality, not superiority, as some seem to think it should be. Now if these girls were forced to do these roles, then fair enough, its wrong, but if you’re happy to show yourself a little, for publicity, and pay, then go for it.

Thankfully, some are trying to keep these girls in work, good for them. Cant see it, in these PC days, but I can hope.

I know it was a different era, with different attitudes, but seriously, some of the outfits (some were barely outfits, at least one movie, the outfit was a long blonde wig!) those chorus girls wore, revealed far, far more! Did they care? Probably not, they were earning decent money, at a time when many Americans were struggling with the depression. But yes, some happily stayed on the chorus line, a number became stars,and others got to marry rich men, who they got to know through their work.

But yes, there are times I’m sorry to see myself as a Feminist, and this is one of them.

Video? Pretty obvious, I hope?

Shuffle off with Buffalo

Back when the NFL first hit the TV screens over here, in the mid 80’s, it seemed that everyone had to choose a team to support, if you cared for the game at all, and fine, I got hooked on it. However, being perverse, and awkward as I was, and indeed still am, I decided not to pick one of the popular, highly successful teams. Oh no, I decided to attach my limited fandom to a team who were pretty awful, named the Buffalo Bills. As any NFL historian will tell you, that was pretty handy timing. One season after that, the rival USFL league collapsed, the modern day irony relating to that being, that one of the men whose greed brought it down into bankruptcy, was a certain Donald Trump! Definitely not the last time the words, Trump, and bankruptcy have gone together lol!

What that meant was, that a quarterback named Jim Kelly finally signed with the NFL team that had drafted him, the Buffalo Bills. So, all of a sudden, I was supporting a successful team, who went to 4 Superbowls in rapid time, even if they didnt win any! Of course, eventually father time caught up with him, he retired, and Buffalo rapidly slipped back into anonymity again. They are in fact, currently the team who has gone longest since making the play offs. But this year…

There is 3 weeks to go in the season, and they are in a playoff position! In fact, in theory they could still win the division, but they would have to win their last 3 games, the Patriots lose their last 3 games, so not going to happen! But yes, this late in the season, and still in with a chance of making a playoff place, great stuff.

Oh fine, if you believe some of the Forum idiots, they wouldnt be happy until Buffalo had won 25 Superbowls in a row, and might even complain then…Yes, some people are just crazy. And sadly, from what I’ve read from some of them, some are very racist too, ah well…rolls eyes…I’m not!

No, they arent yet guaranteed a playoff place, but its closer than its been in a while. Well…?

Oh, and before anyone says anything about me, and underdogs, and mentions the Dodgers, they are the one exception to the rule. And thats because of the locality, nothing more! 😛

Right, video time. Big clue in the title, as is so often the case with me. This is the 30’s film version, and I do wonder if one of the ladies you briefly see the face of, could be Clara Johnson? Short of trying to stop the film on every shot, compare pictures, and…the likelihood is probably no, anyway!

They’ve got it!

I got a nice surprise while I was away, when a friend of mine asked if I would still be in the NYC area on 19th October (do the date that way, to get around the whole UK/US thing), and sadly I had to say no, that I was actually flying back home last Monday, and enquired why? The answer, darlings, before you ask as well, is this:

Yes, something important in a publicity sense (a reading, I believe?) is happening in NYC that day, and they wanted me to be there. Well, Jeffery did for certain, and I’m sure he wouldnt have asked without checking with Barry, so to say I’m flattered, would be putting it mildly. Lets just say that I’m assuming he only wants me to attend the event, and nothing more, but of course, you meet people at things like this, and who knows where things might lead from there?

Equally, I thought I was going to a wedding as a guest, only to discover I was a bridesmaid, which turned out to be being Maid of Honor, and where all that led to. No, I dont think I’m likely to end up starring, or even working on Broadway (though I wouldnt say no, if offered), but its that thing of getting yourself known, and seeing where it takes you?

Sadly, unless I win the lottery (I know, stop laughing), I really havent got the money to go at present, especially as the ‘old girl’ is on a 4 day week at present due to her back issues. So yeah, probably any part needs me either to be sat, or in a wheelchair, which pretty much kills most roles anyway! But yes, I could make a cute ‘flapper’ for the day, given the chance! In truth, I dont even know if the holiday is available at work at present lol, but…?

So fine, if any ‘guardian angel’ out there wants to make my dream visit come true, then I’d love it. No, I dont expect it to happen, but no harm in asking lol! Comment here, or email at stephmajor8@hotmail.com if there is a W.R Hearst type out there, lol!

Regardless of helping me out, if you’re in the area, and hear of this event happening, go support it, please! 2 lovely friends deserve all the support they can get, in every sense, and I only wish I could be there to help them too. If anyone needs details of venue, and time, and cant find it, ask, and I will ask. My logic is, if I cant get there, its probably better I dont know. Equally, Jeffery, or Barry, if you see this, and want to add those details to the piece, please do!

Video time. Well, it might include some Clara Bow, and it might feature film from one of her better known movies, so…