You may remember a performance by The Harlem Hot Shots on Thursday night of Frankie95. Someone uploaded the original clip and I thought it would be nice to put them together. The scene is from a 1933 short film entitled "Barber Shop Blues" featuring Claude Hopkins and His Orchestra. He was leader of one of the house bands at the Savoy Ballroom in 1931.
The original dancers in the 1933 clip were known as The Four Step Brothers. Despite the name, none of them were related. They got their start at the Cotton Club performing with Duke Ellington.
Great dancers, they had a pretty long run eventually going into the 1960's although the lineup changed a bit over the years.
You can find a pretty in depth article about them by clicking here.
I did a little clicking around and found a bunch of great clips. Unfortunately some of them reflect the times in terms of racial attitudes towards black performers, but the dancing is still amazing.
With Bob Hope
With Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis. The riff that the band plays at the end while everyone does the Shim Sham sounds vaguely like the riff for the Big Apple in the "Keep Punchin" clip.
The Four Step Brothers appeared twice more with Martin & Lewis over the years, reprising the same act with a few changes here and there, leaving Martin & Lewis to bring on the funny at the end each time.
One last time to figure out if Dean Martin is a comic genius or just piss drunk.
Huge finale from the film "Carolina Blues" spotlighting Harold Nicholas (Of the Nicholas Brothers) but also featuring the Four Step Brothers.
The number includes one of my favorite lesser known singers from that era, June Richmond, who sang with Jimmy Dorsey and then later with Andy Kirk.
One of the female dancers, Marie Bryant, also danced in the Duke Ellington short, "Bli Blip."