BTC: Hellzapoppin’ With Slim Gaillard O-Reeney

Proto-emcee Slim Gaillard, the great grandaddy of flow.

In 1941, a musical comedy farce called Hellzapoppin’ made the jump from stage to screen. It’s a very silly film (about a film within a play about a film), rather sanitized in comparison to the original anarchic revue (which featured little people, clowns, trained pigeons, and Hitler speaking in a Yiddish accent). There isn’t much of a plot and many of the jokes are corny even by 40s standards. The premise wasn’t nearly as successful on celluloid as it was on Broadway. Still, Hellzapoppin’ has two invaluable things going for it: an appearance by sainted Slim Gaillard, and the most impossibly freakin’ insanely amazing Lindy Hop dance sequence ever filmed, courtesy of a fearless troupe called Whitey’s Lindy Hoppers.  Behold o’rootey:

7 Responses to “BTC: Hellzapoppin’ With Slim Gaillard O-Reeney”

  1. Nadya Says:

    My mom and dad met for the first time in a theater at a screening of this film! In Russia! I watched it together with them a few years ago and I loved it. You’re right, that dance sequence is INSANE. I like the part where the girl picks up the guy towards the end.

    On the Whitey’s Lindy Hoppers page it lists known troupe members’ names, and some of the names are awesome too; I like Pepsi Bethel, Snookie Beasley and Dot Johnson – and that they had TWO people in the troupe named Mildred.

  2. Chesney Says:

    WOW. Had I seen that while I was learning Lindy Hop, I might not have quit so early on! Or maybe would have for fear of dying.

    And though I like my name, I think I might have to go by Pepsi Bethel every now and again.

  3. Beetleginny Says:

    unfortunitely, only two members of this group today are still alive. The one and only frankie manning and his dance partner Norma Miller. Frankie tours at various swing gatherings through out the world. It would be my suggestion that anyone who could attend one of these events should, cause frankie is a living legend.

  4. andrew Says:

    i was really enjoying the intro, but once the dancing started it was all over. my mind couldn’t register what was happening it was going so fast. i’ve watched it 5 times now and it’s just as crazy each time.

  5. Lydia Says:

    I got to see Frankie Manning and take a class from him in SF several years ago. I gave up on Lindy not long thereafter (the dance style just doesn’t appeal to me), but it was amazing to meet him. He was incredibly gracious and had a fantastic sense of humor.

  6. Lauren Says:

    Y’know, I got the craziest comment the other day that sounded like Slim… go figure… ;)

  7. Jerem Morrow Says:

    I could watch stuff like this ALL day long!