Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Joe Frisco, 1931



How comedian/dancer/actor Joe Frisco, seen in this clip from the American Masters documentary Vaudeville, executed this precision act without swallowing that stogie like a cartoon character, I'll never know. Without a doubt, if Michael Jackson ever saw this clip, he would have tried to incorporate these nimble dance floor moves into this terpsichorian bag o' tricks. Maybe Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly saw Frisco's act and did just that.

Joe Frisco appears in Happy Hottentots, one of numerous Vitaphone musical shorts on the Al Jolson: The Jazz Singer - Three Disc Deluxe Edition. For more information on genuine vaudeville that was filmed at the dawn of talkies, check out
The Vitaphone Project.

1 comment:

East Side said...

"Happy Hottentots" is surprisingly funny -- and is allegedly based on a real incident (fire included).