Wednesday, August 25, 2010

"Shuffle Off To Buffalo" featuring Ruby Keeler

One of Canada's earliest exports to the dream factories of Southern California was Ruby Keeler - born on this day in 1909; to call her the pride of Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, is to discount her popularity in the rest of the country - and indeed the world. Admittedly, Keeler's family moved to New York City when she was three, giving her a tenuous Canadian connection at best, but that's good enough for generations of this country's pundits to claim her as our own.

Here Keeler is seen as the bride in this clip from the sublime early musical comedy, 42nd Street (1933)*, which lit up movie screens just as the Great Depression was darkening many a doorway; choreographed by Busby Berkeley, the number also features the cynical comedy stylings of Ginger Rogers (eating an apple) and Una Merkel (with the banana), performing in the show-within-a-show.

*Receiving probably the world's worst pep talk by the show's director Julian Marsh (Warner Baxter) which is nonetheless one of the most frequently quoted passages from the movie...
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