Ruby Keeler Centenary
Seeing the above photo you can readily understand the appeal of Ruby Keeler. She was a lovely creature. Keeler's centenary is August 25, 2009.
I confess, Keeler's appeal as a dancer and actress has alternately amused, bemused and flummoxed me. But, love her or hate her, who cares? The big musicals staged by Busby Berkeley for Warner Brothers during the peek of 1933-1936 are still jaw dropping and incredible fun.
Footlight Parade is my favorite of the big musicals, it's got a great cast including most of the regulars, Frank McHugh, the delicious Joan Blondell, Ruth Donnelly, Dick Powell, Guy Kibee and James Cagney. Loaded with snappy dialogue, a troup of scantily clad beauties and great songs by Al Dubin and Harry Warren and the most awesome musical number ever filmed (okay, okay, this is my opinion). Ruby mellowed and ripened as a performer and was far less flat than in 42nd Street and shined with some of the snappy banter.
Ruby exhibiting all her dubious musical charms from "Sitting on the Backyard Fence" from Footlight Parade:
Okay, so Ruby does not tap dance here, but this is my absolute favorite Busby Berkeley number from Footlight Parade: