A smoking dance number! ‘Two Cigarettes in the Dark’

Dance · Film · Music

It was so much fun to receive this dance number (above) from our friend the pianist/performer Peter Mintun, a very niche expert in old-tyme American popular music — the stuff of cafe society. The lead tap dancer (unidentified) and chorines deliver performances that can best be described as ‘smoking.’

“Two Cigarettes in the Dark,” by Lew Pollack & Paul Francis Webster, has special historic import for me. !!Not this version!! … but … a young Jack Cole choreographed the croony danceable song, performing it on the huge stage of Radio City Music Hall accompanied by his partner Alice Dudley and singer Robert Weede. The year was 1934. It set Cole on a career path unlike any of his fellow Denishawn alumni.

According to Peter, the dance number was filmed in Brooklyn as part of a Vitaphone short released in May 1936 called Maid For A Day, starring singer Grace Hayes.

Sing along! But light up first!

Two, two cigarettes in the dark
He strikes a match ’til the
Spark clearly traces
One face is my sweetheart.
Two, two silhouettes in a room
Almost obscured by the gloom
We were so close yet so far apart,
It happened that I stumbled in
Upon their rendezvous.
I heard my sweetheart whispering
“I love you, I love you, you know that I do.”
Two, two cigarettes in the dark,
Gone is the flame and the spark
Leaving just regrets and two cigarettes in the dark.

Here Peter himself sings “Two Cigarettes…”

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