This month’s edition of “Dirty Dancing: The Original” dates to the 1930s. If you think the McCarthy era saw the birth of the Hollywood black list you got that wrong. A work ‘lock-out’ took place during the Depression when chorus girls did not (ahem) ‘put out’ — and those girls really needed the job. So very wrong. The chilling detail in the story below reveals the existence of a ‘clique’ of choreographers who black-listed dancers. The clip dates from Variety, May 28, 1935.
On a lighter note, I would laud the writer’s choice use of Variety “slanguage.” A “terper,” of course is a dancer. Other good ones: “holler copper”; “lasses’ complaints”; also, a “clique that blacklists femmes.” And I love “mishandling.” That’s a nice way to put it.
This clipping, dating from 1942, describes a rehearsal with dance director Larry Ceballos. It is written by a non-dancing male who, despite any qualifications whatsoever, had little trouble talking himself onto this picture.
It could be decidedly unglamorous dancing in these numbers. Here’s further humiliation meted out to women by Busby Berkeley, aka “Buzz.”
Buzz had his own problems, as is widely known. His 1934 drinking-and-driving accident haunted him for the rest of his life.
Speaking of Larry Cellebos, an absolutely fascinating new essay suggests that Cellebos was responsible for parts of the acclaimed “Footlight Parade,’ and that the Berkeley mystique was built on a crediting grab. That is easy to believe. Crediting is king in Hollywood, and crediting is the bastion of politics and lies. Our dear friend Larry Billman said succinctly, “All of Hollywood dance boils down to one thing: Who Did What.”