Happy holidays from arts•meme … and Betty Grable!

Film
Just back from shopping at Bullock’s Wilshire! Wishing you and yours Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. Love, Betty *          *         * They don’t make movie stars like Betty Grable anymore. She was a massive star, a household presence, a vivacious hoofer, a charismatic singer/dancer/commedienne. We’ll honor Grable by screening two of three movies she ...

Bicoastal Jack Cole cross-fertilizes crazy hair Broadway-to-Hollywood

Dance · Fashion · Film
Actress Joan Diener, featured on Broadway in Kismet (1953 – 1955) shares a crazy-hair look with Betty Grable, pictured below in “Down Boy” from Three for the Show (1955, Columbia Pictures). Jack Cole, who choreographed (first) Kismet then the movie, took great care with the appearance of the women with whom he worked. He also ...

Nicholas Brothers ballistic on silver screen 1

Dance · Film
Joy to the world, the place to be at 4:30 this afternoon was the balcony of the Egyptian Theater, a spot that offered prime viewing, on opening day of CINECON Classic Film Festival, of DOWN ARGENTINE WAY (1940). The über-fun Betty Grable/Don Ameche technicolor south-of-the-border extravaganza from 20th Century-Fox was Grable’s first headlining role at ...

New York Times honors Jack Cole & dance critic 3

Dance · Film · Language & ideas
It’s a big honor to be recognized in the New York Times. I am awfully proud to receive a shout-out (used to be called a “name mention”) from Dave Kehr, the highly respected film critic. In his weekly New York Times round-up of recently released DVDs, Kehr writes: MEET ME AFTER THE SHOW The choreographer ...

Thank you, Turner Classic Movies, for “Choreography by Jack Cole” 1

Dance · Film
May I express my gratitude to the wonderful classic-movie channel for “Choreography by Jack Cole” broadcast Monday night? I co-hosted the program with TCM’s great veteran host, Robert Osborne. Together, we screened four movies studded with dance sequences that were created by the massively talented American choreographer. And a huge ‘thank you’ to Mr. Osborne, ...

A horse is a good clean animal, says Betty Grable 2

Dance · Film · Music
Check out Betty Grable in “Meet Me After the Show” (1951): Dancing in silhouette, on the platform: Jack Cole, who staged the number. Paired with Cole for a dance-y horse race is the choreographer’s muse and assistant Gwen Verdon. This we learn from the horse’s mouth … er… from Academy of Dance on Film founder ...

Marie Bryant put a bun in Betty Grable’s oven 5

Dance · Film
The silken jazz dancer, Marie Bryant (1919-1978), seen here jiving with the great Harold Nicholas, was, for a time, rehearsal assistant to Jack Cole. That’s interesting. Cole’s performance group was all white. It wouldn’t be otherwise. But he clearly relied on Bryant for special tasks. Asked what she did for Jack Cole, Bryant replied,  “I ...

Ow! Betty Grable sizzles in Jack Cole choreography 2

Dance · Film
Jack Cole and Betty Grable were drinking buddies and they loved each other. He called her “Thumper” and she matched his stream of curse words one-for-one. He kicked her sagging career into high gear and she relied on him. I love how she shakes it in this number, video below. It’s “How Come You Do ...