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April 3RD 2007
TUESDAY




Vilma Ebsen
1911-2007


(Pictured above with her brother, Buddy Ebsen. See clip of the week and obit below)

Buddy Ebsen's sister, Vilma Ebsen

Well, what can I tell you, we used our early ability to move, our love for rhythm. Buddy had a more eccentric feel the way he danced. My movements were more graceful. And we had twelve straight harmonious years of dancing. We never fussed. It was just the most amazing thing, people couldn't get over us. When we finished a dance, maybe I didn't dance as well as I should, or maybe I'd stepped in a hole in the stage or something. Instead of yelling at me or my yelling at him, we'd get off stage and he'd say, "Where do you want to go to eat?"

~ Vilma Ebsen
September 1, 1988
Pacific Palisades, California

from "TAP! The Greatest Tap Dance Stars and Their Stories 1900-1955"


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VILMA EBSEN


Back in 1997, I began work on a wonderful preservation project - "TAP! The Greatest Tap Dance Stars and Their Stories 1900-1955". It took me all around the United States, and three years of my life. It was a book filled with my interviews with such tap dance luminaries as The Nicholas Brothers, Shirley Temple, Ann Miller, Donald O'Connor, and The Four Step Brothers. Thirty chapters (interviews) in all... and to this day, one of my favorite chapters is the interview with Vilma Ebsen.

Vilma was the younger sister of TV star Buddy Ebsen (The Beverly Hillbillies and Barnaby Jones fame). Together they performed in nightclubs throughout the 1930s, on Broadway, and in one feature film.

Her description of that time was so utterly engaging, to this day, when I read that chapter I feel as though I am there with her.

After her performing career, she opened a dance school in Pacific Palisades. She lived a long and full life, bringing joy to thousands.


MAKE SURE TO MARK YOUR CALENDARS
AND TELL EVERYONE YOU KNOW!

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 25TH 2007

AND WHAT SAY WE DRESS UP A LITTLE!



CLICK ON IMAGE TO SEE FULL SIZE!

Thanks to Quinn Nguyen for his beautiful poster design!

DON'T MISS THE NEWS BELOW


~ WEEKLY CONTEST

~ 6TH YEAR ANNIVERSARY PARTY

~ APRIL LINDY BY THE SEA CLASSES

~ VILMA EBSEN OBITUARY

~ BALBOA RENDEZVOUS

~ SWING SHIFT RHYTHM CLUB EVENT

~ NEW SCRAPBOOKS UP


(So don't stop scrolling...)



VILMA & BUDDY EBSEN JOINED BY ELEANOR POWELL

Here is a wonderful tribute for Vilma Ebsen put online by my dear friend, and brilliant pianist, Peter Mintun. Sit back, relax, and enjoy watching Vilma & Buddy Ebsen (yes, Jed Clampett) and the amazing Eleanor Powell.



THIS WEEK'S CONTEST!!

The first person to send us an email with the answer to the following wins a free pass to the Rhythm Club for tomorrow nite:*


Our clip of the week features Vilma and Buddy Ebsen from the feature film, Broadway Melody of 1936. In this movie they play brother and sister (as in real life) What were there character names in this movie?

Send your answer to us at info@rustyfrank.com.

NOTE: Google is your friend!




LAST WEEK'S WINNER

Christy Wilhelmi

LAST WEEK'S CONTEST:

Who was the announcer in the Clip of the Week?

LAST WEEK'S ANSWER:

Bob Hope

*Contestants may play as many times as they wish, but may only win the prize once a year. Contestants must use their Rhythm Club pass for the week they won the contest.



REGISTER HERE.





CALLING ALL BOYS!
FOR SUNDAY LEVEL 3

We need three more leaders for Sunday's Level 3 class.

Remember Tuesday night fellows, you can take an entire Sunday series for $10!!!!

Brush up on your musicality and styling and, at the same time, do a good deed.



APRIL CLASSES!

REGISTER FOR LINDY BY THE SEA CLASSES HERE.




MARCH-APRIL 2007 -- FILLED!

RESERVE YOUR SPOT NOW FOR MAY-JUNE MASTER TRACK:

To hold your spot for The Master Track, send us an email with your name and the series you'd like to join. Remember, the course has a limited enrollment, so reserve your spot now. Email us at info@rustyfrank.com.

CLICK HERE FOR MASTER TRACK DETAILS


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COMING TO THE RHYTHM CLUB:

04/25 -- SAVE THE DATE! ANNIVERSARY PARTY!!
GEORGE GEE FROM NEW YORK!

Dress up!

04/04 -- Live Music -- DEBUT
The J-Tones featuring Suzy Williams

(7:30 Beginner Swing Lesson)

04/11 -- Live Music
The Hollywood Combo

04/18 --Live Music
Jumpin' Joz

CLICK HERE FOR RHYTHM CLUB INFO


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If it's your birthday this week, just let us know at the Rhythm Club
so you can get your birthday dance!




HOLD THESE DATES FOR UPCOMING WORKSHOPS

All workshops are held on selected Sundays throughout the year from 11:00am-1:30pm at Rebekah Hall in El Segundo 90245. Click HERE for details (as they are revealed to us!)

2007 WORKSHOP DATES

May 6 - Aerials
June 10
August 19
September 16
October 14
November 18

SAVE THE DATE!


(Click on image to see larger poster)

BALBOA RENDEZVOUS
JUST AROUND THE CORNER DON'T MISS IT! -- WE'LL ALL BE THERE

One of the all-time great dance events in the world is coming up and it's right in our own backyard -- The Balboa Rendezvous. An amazing weekend of nothing but Balboa, Balboa, Balboa! It's a chance to take classes for the best teachers, dance with people from all around the globe, and mix and mingle with the "old timers" -- the one's who originally brought this dance to us! And there are classes for all levels. Click here for all the details.

To make sure you are all brushed up, we are offering a Balboa Workshop THIS coming Sunday -- two tracks -- one for beginners with Rusty, and one for experienced Bal dancers with Ron (details following).


THIS IN FROM JESSICA DENSMORE
SSRC COORDINATOR

The Swingshift Rhythm Club received a thank you card with these words from Earlwood Care Center, Torrance, CA this past week. The handwritten note is as follows:

Dear Swingshift Rhythm Club,

Thank you so much for sharing your talents with us. You guys really lifted the residents' spirits. They were talking about you all week long and are looking forward to your next visit.

Much Love,

Earlwood Care Center
Kathy Campbell, Administrator
Joy Jackson, Activities (Coordinator)
Natty Ferrano, Activities (Coordinator)

Pretty rare to get a written thank you note from a facility we visit - even more rare to have one signed by an administrator!

Thanks to all who volunteer to bring a little fun to those in extended care facilities.

Jes



EVENT ANNOUNCEMENT
WHY NOT JOIN THE FUN!

A Repeat Performance at Earlwood Care Center

Saturday, April 28,'07

Activity Coordinator Joy sure is persuasive! She asked we come back "anytime" and she meant it. We have been asked to come back on

Saturday, April 28, 2007, 2pm - 3pm

Earlwood Care Center
20820 Earl Street
Torrance, CA 90502
P)1-310-371-1228
Activity Coordinator Joy Jackson

As usual we will do a script program so you won't need to rehearse. Just show up and dance as you normally do - you will be directed as the program continues. Contact me for questions and "yea"s.

And don't forget, Jamie England's mom, Marie is looking forward to seeing you too!

Thanks, Jes

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PARTICIPATE,
CONTACT: JESSICA AT jitterbugstroll@yahoo.com




"Making a difference through swing dancing"




Subscribe to SwingShiftRhythmClub

*The Swing Shift Rhythm Club (SSRC) has two goals:
Fun & Philanthropy.

Anyone can join! See full details at the bottom of this newsletter.

Vilma Ebsen

Thirties Broadway dancer whose routines with her brother Buddy were rated by Nol Coward 'sheer bliss'

Vilma Ebsen, dancer: born Bellevue, Illinois 1 February 1911; married 1933 Robert Emmett Dolan (one son; marriage dissolved 1948), 1948 Stanley Briggs (one son; marriage dissolved); died Los Angeles 12 March 2007.

Vilma Ebsen was an agile dancer who performed with her brother Buddy in the MGM musical Broadway Melody of 1936. It was her only film, though she and her brother had a notable career during the Thirties in vaudeville, in supper clubs and on Broadway, where they introduced the song standards, "A Shine on Your Shoes" and "I Like the Likes of You".

The third of five children, Vilma was born in 1911 to Danish-American parents in Belleville, Illinois, but when she was six years old the family moved to Florida (due to her mother's frail health), where her father, a former gymnastics and swimming instructor, opened a dance studio. Buddy, three years her senior, coached Vilma to partner him in an act which they performed for friends and at local functions.

In 1928 Buddy set out for New York and was given a chorus role in the Ziegfeld musical Whoopee, starring Eddie Cantor. With the show a hit, he sent for Vilma, whom he enrolled in the Jack Donohue/Johnny Boyle School of Dancing (Boyle was dance teacher and lifelong friend to James Cagney). Buddy recalled,

Vilma, with her charm, talent and quickness was an immediate sensation at the school, so when Johnny was called upon to doctor the choreography of the Vincent Youmans musical Great Day, which was trying out in Atlantic City, he took with him four of his most promising pupils - Vilma was one of them.

Though Vilma failed to win a part in the show, she was hired to perform a solo dance at a supper club, and, when the long-running Whoopee needed cast replacements, Buddy was able to get her into the show.

During their spare time, the couple put together a complete dancing act and, after Whoopee closed in 1930, they performed it at an Atlantic City night-club, where it was seen by the influential columnist Walter Winchell, who gave them an ecstatic review. They were immediately signed for a vaudeville show, Broadway Stars of Tomorrow (from which Eleanor Powell and Martha Raye had already graduated), and for two years performed in music halls (sometimes doing five shows a day) and night-clubs, culminating in an engagement at New York's Palace Theatre.

Vilma would open the act, then ask the audience "if you'all would like to meet my l'il ole brother". Buddy, 6ft 4in, would enter, getting a laugh, and his gangly frame and uncoordinated movements would make him seem an unlikely dancer. Vilma would then "teach" him, the act ending with a powerhouse display of Charleston and toe-tapping.

Their first Broadway musical was the revue Flying Colors (1932), in which they stopped the show with their routine to the Arthur Schwartz/Howard Dietz number "A Shine on Your Shoes", with Larry Adler accompanying them on the harmonica, and Monette Moore singing. (The number was later revived by Fred Astaire in the 1953 film The Band Wagon.) Winchell wrote, "Ebsens Make the Heart Grow Fonder", and Noel Coward described them as "sheer bliss". The piano player in the "pit" for the show was Robert Emmett Dolan, later a notable composer, conductor and film producer, and he and Vilma were married in 1933. (They had one child, but divorced in 1948.)

Vilma and Buddy appeared in Monte Carlo during the summer of 1933, then returned to Broadway with a featured spot in Ziegfeld Follies of 1934, the show in which Fanny Brice introduced her famed "Baby Snooks" character. The Ebsens danced to Vernon Duke's melody, "I Like the Likes of You", while Brice Hutchins and Vivian Janis as tongue-tied lovers sang the "Yip" Harburg lyrics: "You're looks are pure deluxe . . . looks like I like the likes of you".

MGM then signed them for their lavish musical Broadway Melody of 1936 (1935) and, though it had many bright moments, many critics singled out a number by the Ebsens and Eleanor Powell as a highlight. As three Broadway hopefuls on the roof of a tenement building, they introduced the Arthur Freed/Nacio Herb Brown song "Sing Before Breakfast" - first performed by just the Ebsens, who make imaginative use of a boiling percolator puffing steam on the beat as part of their routine. They are then joined by Powell, whose vivacity and joie de vivre make Vilma's personality a little pale in comparison.

Real life then mirrored so many cliched backstage musicals when MGM told Buddy that they wanted him to stay on - but not his sister. "It was a traumatic time of tears and heartaches," Buddy wrote, but it did prolong Vilma's marriage to Bobby because she went back to New York with him and, like a good wife, helped him become Broadway's pre-eminent pit conductor and later a Hollywood producer.

(Buddy Ebsen, who died in 2003, became best known for his portrayal as the bumpkin millionaire Jed Clampett in The Beverly Hillbillies, and in one episode he and Granny - Irene Ryan - reminisce about seeing "Vilma and Buddy Ebsen".)

On her return to New York, Vilma was offered a featured role in another Howard Dietz/Arthur Schwartz show, Between the Devil (1937), which had Robert Alton staging the dances, Conrad Salinger, soon to become MGM's top arranger, working on orchestrations, and three British stars. Jack Buchanan played an unwitting bigamist, with his wives played by Adele Dixon and Evelyn Laye. Vilma introduced two new songs, "5 O'Clock" and "You Have Everything", but Buchanan introduced the most durable number, "By Myself".

After the three-month run, Vilma Ebsen retired from show business, but in 1943 she and her sister Helga opened a dance school in Pacific Palisades, California. In 1948 she married the tennis player Stanley Briggs (who had a guest spot as a tennis instructor in the 1952 film Pat and Mike), and they had a son.

She and Helga continued to teach dance to youngsters until the mid-1990s. Her elder son Robert said, "It really became her life. She's got adoring students who go back for decades."

Tom Vallance


NEW PICS UP

Click HERE


Leaders wonder "What the heck????" -- Ron says, "It's a little tricky".
Gio enjoys his tortilla chips & salsa birthday cake! (Thanks to Captain Fun for making it!)


All Scrapbooks! Click HERE






BIG BAND LIBRARY -- This one came in from me very own pa -- Mr. Harrison Frank -- a real Big Band fan. (a pic of him from back in the day when he went out dancing in LA to all the Big Bands). Enjoy browsing around this one!


Rusty's pop!


Swing Shift
www.rustyfrank.com

* Wondering what the heck a "gate"is? This was a phrase popularized by 1940's comedian, Jerry Colonna, who would holler it out every time he was introduced on the Bob Hope radio program. It was a friendly salutation to a swing cat (dancer or swing music enthusiast). Basically, we swing like a gate!


JOIN THE FUN!
BUT, WHAT THE HECK IS IT?

Many of you still don't know about our Swing Shift Rhythm Club. It's one of our best kept secrets. Now is the time to get the SSRC "above the radar."

THE SWING SHIFT RHYTHM CLUB (SSRC), founded in 2000 by Rusty Frank's swing dance students, The SSRC has two missions:

1. Having fun! (Fun) 2. Doing good deeds! (Philanthropy)

1. Having fun: Events where swing dancers can socialize and get to know each other outside of class (vintage clothes shopping, going to a dance-related movie, dancing in the park, eating at retro restaurants before a dance, etc.).

2. Doing good deeds: Events where we bring swing dancing to hospitals, senior homes, and community events for the purpose of good deeds, entertainment, and education in the Los Angeles area.

The SSRC is a volunteer club open to the public and the events are organized by its members. There are no dues. Members can attend as many or as few events as they wish.

"How do I join?"...
Right now, fill in your email address
and click the Yahoo log (that's it!):

Subscribe to SwingShiftRhythmClub

Then you will receive updates of activities (or you can organize one yourself!). Check the yahoogroup "Swing Shift Rhythm Club" calendar here for postings of upcoming events.

Join us in making the world a better place through dancing!

Thank you for joining!

Rusty Frank, Founder
Jessica Densmore, Philanthropic Events Coordinator
Cathryn Sayer, "Just for Fun" Events Coordinator
Norman Kajikawa, SSRC Photographer

If you wish to exit this list, visit:
http://rustyfrank.com/maillist/mail-list.asp