Where did the idea of cutting footage of actors dancing in old movies and setting the whole thing to a completely incongruous, anachronistic pop tune emanate from? Youtube is packed with examples of this sub-genre of memory-montage-dance pieces and they range from the gimmicky-funny to the truly sublime. But who do we credit/blame for the whole thing?
I believe the answer is the "Jump In the Saddle Band" who, in 1983, had a completely unexpected major pop hit "The Curley Shuffle" , a tribute to--well, you know who Curley was. The song climbed to number 15 on the Billboard 100 and the accompanying music video--this was in the prime of the early MTV years--became a staple at Shea Stadium, where they played it on the Diamond Vision screen during the seventh inning stretch (I was there for one of those showings and the entire park was chanting "Nyuck Nyuck" in unison).
Here are two videos. The first is the very best I've ever seen of this peculiar genre, sent to me by my bud Marc Myers of JazzWax. It's Rita Hayworth dancing to--get this--"Stayin' Alive". The care and meticulous craftsmanship that went into the making of this thing puts most commercially produced films to shame. And then after that, we'll go back to where it all started. Soytinley!
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