Tuesday Tunes: Buddy Ebson

Tuesday Tunes

Tuesday Tunes

 

Before he was Jed Clampett…

       

         Buddy Ebson

 

You get more negative reactions than positive reactions as you go through life, and the big lesson is nobody counts you out but yourself…I never have, I never will.

 

Buddy Ebsen began his career as a dancer in the late 1920s in a Broadway chorus. He later formed a vaudeville act with his sister Vilma Ebsen, which also appeared on Broadway. In 1935 he and his sister went to Hollywood, where they were signed for the first of MGM’s Eleanor Powell movies, Broadway Melody of 1936 (1935). While Vilma retired from stage and screen shortly after this, Buddy starred in two further MGM movies with Powell. Two of his dancing partners were Frances Langford in Born to Dance (1936) and Judy Garland in Broadway Melody of 1938 (1937). They were a little bit taller than Shirley Temple, with whom he danced in Captain January (1936). MGM studio chief Louis B. Mayer offered him an exclusive contract in 1938, but Ebsen turned it down. In spite of Mayer’s warning that he would never get a job in Hollywood again, he was offered the role of the scarecrow in The Wizard of Oz (1939). Ebsen agreed to change roles with Ray Bolger, who was cast as the Tin Man. Ebsen subsequently became ill from the aluminum make-up, however, and was replaced by Jack Haley. He returned to the stage, making only a few pictures before he got a role in the Disney production of Davy Crockett: King of the Wild Frontier (1955). After this, he became a straight actor, and later won more fame in his own hit series, The Beverly Hillbillies (1962) and Barnaby Jones (1973).

 

BROADWAY MELODY OF 1936 (Buddy & his sister Vilma)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-988FI40QE0

 

 Buddy Ebsen dancing 1978

 

Donald O’Connor and Buddy Ebsen (a RARE clip)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SgUkN4c1NC4

 

 

Fun Facts about Mr. Buddy Ebson

 

Got the nickname ‘Buddy’ from his aunt, so Christian changed his name to Buddy Ebsen.

Was a Boy Scout.

In the 1930s, Disney animators filmed him dancing in front of a grid to “choreograph”Wayne Allwine’s dance steps for the Silly Symphony cartoons.

Originally cast as the Tin Man in The Wizard of Oz (1939), Buddy was hospitalized as a result of inhaling aluminum powder used as part of his make-up. One chorus of “We’re Off to See the Wizard” in the movie and soundtrack album retain Ebsen’s original vocals as the Tin Man, recorded before he was forced to leave the production. Because of the prolonged hospitalization, he was replaced by Jack Haley (whose reformulated make-up used pre-mixed aluminium dust), and Ebsen’s scenes were re-shot using Haley. Footage of Ebsen as the Tin Man still exists, and was included as an extra with the U.S. 50th anniversary video release of The Wizard of Oz (1939).

After seeing Ebsen in Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961), the creator of The Beverly Hillbillies (1962) wanted him to play family patriarch Jed Clampett. At the time, Ebsen was thinking of retiring, but the producers sent him a copy of the script, and he changed his mind.

Began his television series The Beverly Hillbillies (1962) at age 54.

Taught Judy Garland the shim-sham shimmy while they were at MGM.

Was a longtime friend of Dick Van Dyke, who hosted his memorial service on 30 August 2003.

He served in the Coast Guard during World War II as the executive officer on the Pocatello, a submarine chaser in the North Pacific.

Became a bestselling author at age 93.

Buddy Ebsen died on July 6, 2003. Just 3 weeks after his death, his longtime best friend, comedian Bob Hope, passed away.

Buddy Ebsen died just three months before his death, he celebrated his 95th birthday, on April 2.

 

 

Tuesday Tunes: Mickey Rooney

Tuesday Tunes

Tuesday Tunes

 

Tuesday Tunes honors…

           Mickey Rooney

 

I don’t regret anything I’ve ever done. I only wish I could have done more.

Mickey Rooney was born Joe Yule Jr. on September 23, 1920 in Brooklyn, New York. He first took the stage as a toddler in his parents vaudeville act at 17 months old. He made his first film appearance in 1926. The following year, he played the lead character in the first Mickey McGuire short film. It was in this popular film series that he took the stage name Mickey Rooney. Rooney reached new heights in 1937 with A Family Affair, the film that introduced the country to Andy Hardy, the popular all-American teenager. This beloved character appeared in nearly 20 films and helped make Rooney the top star at the box office in 1939, 1940 and 1941. Rooney also proved himself an excellent dramatic actor as a delinquent in Boys Town starring Spencer Tracy. In 1938, he was awarded a Juvenile Academy Award.

Teaming up with Judy Garland, Rooney also appeared in a string of musicals, including Babes in Arms (1939) the first teenager to be nominated for an Oscar in a leading role, Strike up the Band (1940), Babes on Broadway (1941), and Girl Crazy (1943). He and Garland immediately became best of friends. “We weren’t just a team, we were magic,” Rooney once said. During that time he also appeared with Elizabeth Taylor in the now classic National Velvet (1944). Rooney joined the service that same year, where he helped to entertain the troops and worked on the American Armed Forces Network. He returned to Hollywood after 21 months in Love Laughs at Andy Hardy (1946), did a remake of a Robert Taylor film, The Crowd Roars called Killer McCoy (1947) and portrayed composer Lorenz Hart in Words and Music (1948). He also appeared in Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961), starring Audrey Hepburn and George Peppard. Rooney played Hepburn’s Japanese neighbor, Mr. Yunioshi. A sign of the times, Rooney played the part for comic relief which he later regretted feeling the role was offensive. He once again showed his incredible range in the dramatic role of a boxing trainer with Anthony Quinn and Jackie Gleason in Requiem for a Heavyweight (1962). In the late 1960s and 1970s Rooney showed audiences and critics alike why he was one of Hollywood’s most enduring stars. He gave an impressive performance in Francis Ford Coppola’s 1979 filmThe Black Stallion (1979), which brought him an Academy Award nomination as Best Supporting Actor. He also turned to the stage in 1979 in Sugar Babies with Ann Miller, and was nominated for a Tony Award. During that time he also portrayed the Wizard in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz with Eartha Kitt at New York’s Madison Square Garden, which also had a successful run nationally.

Rooney appeared in four television series’: The Mickey Rooney Show (1954-1955), a comedy sit-com in 1964 with Sammee Tong called Mickey, One of the Boys in 1982 with Dana Carvey and Nathan Lane, and the Adventures of the Black Stallion from 1990-1993. In 1981, Rooney won an Emmy Award for his portrayal of a mentally challenged man in Bill. The critical acclaim continued to flow for the veteran performer, with Rooney receiving an honorary Academy Award “in recognition of his 60 years of versatility in a variety of memorable film performances”. More recently he has appeared in such films asNight at the Museum (2006)with Ben Stiller.  In 2011, Rooney made a brief cameo appearance in The Muppets and appeared in an episode of Celebrity Ghost Stories, recounting how, during a down period in his career, his deceased father appeared to him one night, telling him not to give up on his career. He claimed that the experience bolstered his resolve and soon afterwards his career experienced a resurgence. In 2014, Rooney returned to film scenes to reprise his role as “Gus” in Night at the Museum 3. It is currently unknown whether he completed his scenes and whether his death will affect the film’s production. Mickey Rooney died April 6, 2014, at the age of 93.

 

Mickey Rooney Jitterbugs With A Woman Twice His Height

 

Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney

 

Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney in Yankee Doodle Boy from Babes of Broadway

 

Fun Facts about Mr. Mickey Rooney

Mickey’s son Teddy Rooney appeared with him in Andy Hardy Comes Home (1958), portraying – who else? – Andy Hardy Jr.

At age nineteen became the first teenager to be Oscar-nominated in a leading role for Babes in Arms (1939).

During World War II he served 22 months in the U.S. Army, five of them with the Third Army of Gen. George S. Patton. Rooney attained the rank of Sergeant, and won a Bronze Star, among other decorations.

With the death of James Stewart on July 2, 1997, he is the last surviving entertainer of the forty-six caricatured in Hollywood Steps Out (1941).

Tuesday Tunes: Michael Flatley!

Tuesday Tunes

Tuesday Tunes

 

 Today is the final day of our St. Patrick’s Day

celebration and what better way to end it than with…

 

 

The Lord of the Dance: Michael Flatley!

 

 

I will be a dancer until the day I die

 

Flatley is a native of the South Side of Chicago.  He is of Irish American background, being born to Irish parents. He began dancing lessons at 12 and, in 1975, became the first non-European resident to win the World Championship for Irish dance. He is a trained amateur pugilist as well as a proficient flautist, having twice won the All-Ireland Competition. In dance, Flatley was taught by Dennis Dennehy at the Dennehy School of Irish Dance in Chicago, then went on to produce his own show. After graduating from Brother Rice High School, on Chicago’s Southwest Side, he opened a dance school.

Flatley created and choreographed the original Riverdance and led the show to great success as the intermission act in the Eurovision Song Contest on April 30, 1994. Flatley then starred in the full-length show that was developed from the seven-minute number.

After the show’s first run in London, Flatley left Riverdance in late 1995 due to problems over creative control. He then produced, directed, and choreographed Lord of the Dance, which played mostly in arenas and stadiums instead of theaters. He also put together a dance production called Feet of Flames in 1998. He later went on to produce another version of that show with around 50% different numbers from the 1998 show. Titled Feet of Flames: The Victory Tour, he toured Europe in 2000 and the U.S. in 2001.

In December 2001, Flatley became the first recipient of the Irish Dancing Commission Fellowship award, an honorary degree in Irish dance, and was simultaneously made a Fellow of the American Irish Dance Teachers’ Association. Irish America magazine named Flatley Irish American of the Year in March 2003. In 2004, Flatley received an honorary doctorate degree from University College Dublin, and that same year received the prestigious Ellis Island Medal of Honor in New York.

Flately’s latest Irish dance show is Celtic Tiger, which opened in July 2005. The show explores the history of the Irish people and Irish emigration to the U.S., fusing a wide range of dance styles, including jazz. The show also includes popular elements from his previous shows, such as Flatley’s flute solos and the line of dancers in the finale.

In 2007, The Freedom of the City of Cork was conferred on Flatley at a ceremony in Cork’s City Hall. In 2008, he was conferred with the Freedom of the Borough of Sligo at a ceremony in Sligo City Hall. The Variety Club of Ireland presented Flatley with their Entertainer of the Decade Award in 2008.

In the fall of 2007, Flatley and a troupe of male dancers performed on Dancing with the Stars in the U.S. In 2008, he appeared as a guest judge on an episode of the show, filling in for Len Goodman. Also in 2008, he performed the solo “Capone” from Celtic Tiger on the show. Flatley was also the host of the 2009 NBC series Superstars of Dance.

Flatley returned to the stage in 2009 for a limited run of the “Hyde Park” version of Feet of Flames in Taiwan. His return was met with multiple standing ovations and the run of shows had to be extended to meet the demand for tickets.

In 2010, he returned to headline the Lord of the Dance show, with performances in arenas across England and Ireland, Germany, Switzerland and Austria. Lord of the Dance 3D, the film of the return tour, debuted in theaters worldwide in 2011.

Also in 2010, Flatley launched The Garden of Music and Memory in Culfadda, County Sligo, the village his father left to seek a new life in America. The ceremony included a speech and an impromptu performance of one of his father’s favorite tunes.

In 2011, he was inducted into Irish America magazine’s Irish America Hall of Fame.

Flatley released a flute album titled On A Different Note in 2011. The 25 tracks include airs and tunes he has played in his shows, other traditional tunes, and new compositions.

 

 

Rivedance! Seven minutes that started in all at the 1994 EuroVision Song Contest

 

Feet of Flames Solo 1998 London

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oWZAuMhRp1A

 

Dancing with the Stars 2008
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R-btZEPuH88

 

Fun Facts About Mr. Michael Flatley 

 

Flatley was the first American to win the World Irish Dance Championships and he also won numerous All-Ireland Flute Championships.

From 1978 to 1979 he toured with Green Fields of America, and in the 1980s he toured with The Chieftains.

He received the National Endowment for the Arts’ National Heritage Fellowship in 1988.

In May 1989, Flatley set a Guinness Book world record for tapping speed at 28 taps per second.

Flatley was named one of National Geographic Society’s Living Treasures in 1991 for mastery of a traditional art form by a living person – the youngest person at that time ever to receive this accolade.

Flatley broke his own record for tapping speed in February 1998, by achieving 35 taps per second.

Flatley also received Guinness Book recognition in both 1999 and 2000 for being the highest paid dancer, earning $1,600,000 per week and for having the highest insurance policy placed on a dancer’s legs at $40,000,000.

Tuesday Tunes: Jean Butler

Tuesday Tunes

Tuesday Tunes

 

 

It’s March! Tuesday Tunes is all about Irish Dancing and its most famous dancers!

 

           Jean Butler

 

 

 

Jean Butler was born in Mineola, New York. Her mother, Josephine, is from County Mayo in Ireland. She has an older brother, Michael, and a younger sister, Cara. She started ballet and tap classes at the age of four. She eventually quit both. She began Irish dance lessons at the age of six, which she quit promptly. “I hated it,” she says. “They made me stand with my arms at my sides for two hours. So, I left. I was too young.” She tried Irish dance again at age nine, this time with a different dance teacher, Donald Golden, whom she considers to be one of the most influential people in her life. About a year into Irish dance, she became very serious with it and quit the soccer and baseball teams.

Jean has performed with Green Fields of America and Cherish the Ladies. She debuted with The Chieftains at Carnegie Hall at the age of seventeen, and toured with them on three continents. In England, Butler met Irish dancer Colin Dunne and they performed together in Mayo 5000 in 1993.

In 1994, under the invitation of producer Moya Doherty, she performed in a seven-minute intermission piece at the Eurovision Song Contest entitled Riverdance. The piece was co-choreographed by Butler with Michael Flatley. The response was so explosive that it was extended into a full show, starring Jean Butler and Flatley. The show toured for about a year. Flatley then abruptly left the show over creative control; six months later she was joined by Colin Dunne. They then danced at the famous Radio City Music Hall in New York City, New York. This was later put on DVD. After a long and extremely successful run with the show, Butler also eventually left Riverdance.

She and Dunne (who had by then also left Riverdance) collaborated again to create the show Dancing on Dangerous Ground, which was based on the ancient Irish legend of Diarmuid and Gráinne. It opened in London in 1999 to critical acclaim, and then in New York.

She premiered “Does She Take Sugar?” on 12 April 2007 at the Project Arts Centre in Dublin.[10] With Colin Dunne and George Hook she is a judge on the Radio Telefís Éireann reality series Celebrity Jigs ‘n’ Reels.

She retired from active dancing in 2010.

In January 2011, it was announced that she had designed and released her own jewelery line. The collection was launched at Showcase Ireland at the RDS later that month.

 

Riverdance 1995: The Countess Cathleen

 

The Late Late Show: Tribute to Michael Flatley 1998

 

Andy’s Bar  byKila

Tuesday Tunes: Gregory Hines

Tuesday Tunes

Tuesday Tunes

               Gregory Hines!

 

 

 

Born in New York City to Maurice Hines Sr. and Alma Hines, Gregory Hines began tapping when he was two years old, and began dancing semi-professionally at the age of five. Since then, he and his older brother Maurice performed together, studying with choreographer Henry LeTang. Gregory and Maurice also learned from veteran tap dancers such as Howard Sims and The Nicholas Brothers whenever they performed in the same venues. The two brothers were known as “The Hines Kids”, making nightclub appearances, and later as “The Hines Brothers”. When their father joined the act as a drummer,the name changed again in 1963 to “Hines, Hines, and Dad”.

Hines performed as the lead singer and musician in a rock band called Severance in the year of 1975-1976 based in Venice, California. Severance was one of the house bands at an original music club called Honky Hoagies Handy Hangout, otherwise known as the 4H Club. In 1986, he sang a duet with Luther Vandross, entitled “There’s Nothing Better Than Love”, which reached the No. 1 position on the Billboard R&B charts.

Hines made his movie debut in Mel Brooks’s History of the World, Part 1. Critics took note of Hines’s comedic charm, and he later appeared in such movies as The Cotton Club, White Nights alongside Mikhail Baryshnikov, Running Scared, Tap and Waiting to Exhale. On television, he starred in his own series in 1997 called The Gregory Hines Show on CBS, as well as in the recurring role of Ben Doucette on Will & Grace. In 1999, Hines made his return to television with Nick Jr.’s Little Bill, as the voice of Big Bill in which he won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Performer In An Animated Program.

Hines made his Broadway debut with his brother in The Girl in Pink Tights in 1954. He earned Tony Award nominations for Eubie! (1979), Comin’ Uptown (1980) and Sophisticated Ladies (1981), and won the Tony Award and Drama Desk Award for Jelly’s Last Jam (1992) and the Theatre World Award for Eubie!. In 1989, Gregory Hines created “Gregory Hines’ Tap Dance in America,” which he also hosted. The PBS special featured seasoned tap dancers such as Savion Glover and Bunny Briggs. He also co-hosted the Tony Awards ceremony in 1995 and 2002.

In 1990, Hines visited with his idol, Sammy Davis, Jr., as he was dying of throat cancer, unable to speak. After Davis died, an emotional Hines spoke at Davis’s funeral of how Sammy had made a gesture to him, “as if passing a basketball … and I caught it.” Hines spoke of the honor that Sammy thought that Hines could carry on from where he left off.

Hines was an avid improviser. He did a lot of improvisation of tap steps, tap sounds, and tap rhythms alike. His improvisation was like that of a drummer, doing a solo and coming up with all sorts of rhythms. He also improvised the phrasing of a number of tap steps that he would come up with, mainly based on sound produced. A laid back dancer, he usually wore nice pants and a loose-fitting shirt. Although he inherited the roots and tradition of the black rhythmic tap, he also influenced the new black rhythmic tap, as a proponent. “‘He purposely obliterated the tempos,’ wrote tap historian Sally Sommer, ‘throwing down a cascade of taps like pebbles tossed across the floor. In that moment, he aligned tap with the latest free-form experiments in jazz and new music and postmodern dance.'”

Throughout his career, Hines wanted to and continued to be an advocate for tap in America. In 1988, he successfully petitioned the creation of National Tap Dance Day, which is now celebrated in 40 cities in the United States. It is also celebrated in eight other nations. Gregory Hines was on the Board of Directors of Manhattan Tap, he was a member of the Jazz Tap Ensemble, and a member of the American Tap Foundation (formerly the American Tap Dance Orchestra). He was a good teacher, influencing tap dance artists Savion Glover, Dianne Walker, Ted Levy, and Jane Goldberg.

In an interview with The New York Times in 1988, Hines said that everything he did was influenced by his dancing–“my singing, my acting, my lovemaking, my being a parent.

Hines died of liver cancer at 57, on August 9, 2003, en route to hospital from his home in Los Angeles. He had been diagnosed with the disease more than a year earlier but had informed only his closest friends. At the time of his death, he was engaged to Negrita Jayde. Hines is interred at Saint Volodymyr’s Ukrainian Orthodox Cemetery in Oakville, Ontario, Canada, the country in which he met Negrita. Negrita, who died in 2009, is buried next to him.

 

Gregory Hines Solo Tap Scene White Nights

 

Fit As A Fiddle: Steve Martin & Gregory Hines

 

Gregory and Maurice Hines in the Cotton Club

 

 

Fun Facts about Mr. Gregory Hines

 

He and Maurice Hines were cast as brothers in Francis Ford Coppola’s The Cotton Club (1984), set in the Harlem club where their grandmother had been one of the elite black entertainers performing for a whites-only audience in the twenties and thirties. Coppola encouraged the brothers to improvise so they based one scene on their real-life reunion in “Eubie!” and admitted the tears were real.

In the late ’60s he decided to try his hand at performing rock ‘n’ roll music, and writing his own songs.

Was aged six when he and brother Maurice Hines performed, as the Hines Kids, at the Apollo Theatre in Harlem.

Had his professional debut when only 5 years old.

When he was in his twenties he worked on a farm.

Was considered for the part of “Winston Zeddemore” in Ghostbusters (1984).

Hines made his feature film debut in Mel Brooks’ History of the World: Part I (1981). He was a last minute replacement for Richard Pryor, who had to cancel his appearance in the movie due to his freebasing accident.

Won Broadway’s 1992 Tony Award as Best Actor (Musical) for “Jelly’s Last Jam,” for which he also shared a Best Choreographer nomination with Hope Clarke and Ted L. Levy. He was also nominated for Tonys three other times: as Best Actor (Featured Role – Musical) in 1979 for “Eubie!”, which he recreated in the television version with the same title, Eubie! (1981); ; and as Best Actor (Musical), in 1980 for “Comin’ Uptown” and in 1981 for “Sophisticated Ladies.”

In 1954 he and brother Maurice Hines they were cast in the Broadway musical “The Girl in the Pink Tights”.

He had a reunion with brother Maurice Hines when they were both hired for the Broadway musical, “Eubie!” in 1978. It earned him a Tony nomination, as did his role in another musical, “Sophisticated Ladies”.

His own stage show took  him from New York’s Bottom Line to spots as far-flung as Atlantic City, Las Vegas, Japan and Monte Carlo.

Inducted into the International Tap Dance Hall of Fame in 2004.