In the post-war era, Harlem’s creative atmosphere fostered a different sort of Burley-Q revue, one whose roots remained truer to the pure essence of Vaudeville than the white stuff of its time.
What you will find instead is a fascinating document of a seldom seen side of burlesque life, choppy splices and all. Black-and-Tan clubs provided entertainment for a mixed audience of men and women, which is reflected in the many musical numbers and the strangely modest quality of the strip acts. Here then is Brown’s Burlesque Show featuring an all black cast of blazing beauties, toe-tapping jazz, and ladies singing the blues!
Emcee DICK BARROWS (in Cab Calloway zoot-suited drag) sings songs like “I Got a Juicehead Baby” and introduces strip acts such as “Atomic Bomb” GLORIA HOWARD, PRINCESS D’ORSAY, and TARZA YOUNG, who does a hot and spirited chiffon-veiled cooch dance that turns into a frenzied, high-kicking, fringe-flying finale.
The lovely GERTRUDE “BABY” BANKS shimmies through a befringed, tap-dancing, modest strip accompanied by a particularly fractured version of “Night and Day.” The dancing duo SLIP & SLIDE appear, as do VIVIAN HARRIS, JO JO ADAMS, MABEL HUNTER, LUELLA OWENS, DOROTHY McCARTY, FANNIE THORNTON, GRIFFEN TRIXIE TERRY, ROSE MARIE FOSTER, GWENDOLYN SHAKLETT, and the legendary DEWEY “PIGMEAT” MARKHAM who drops sly references to “tea” in his “Lovemaking Bureau” sketch.
Burlesque in Harlem (a.k.a. Brevities of 1955), is an amazing look at entertainment before the intrusive explosion of the Television Era.
From a 35mm black-and-beautiful print.