Swing & Lindy Hop from Hellzapoppin

Hellzapoppin, the movie (1941), based on a hit Broadway play, showcases Whitey’s Lindy Hoppers (aka The Harlem Congaroo Dancers) dancing the most famous and most spectacular Lindy Hop scene ever preserved on film. The dancing was choreographed by Frankie Manning.

The scene starts when musicians Slim Galliard and Slam Stewart (Slim & Slam since 1936) discover some musical instruments. They play a few tentative notes, and a spontaneous, swinging jam starts cooking. More backstage ‘workers’ join the jam. And, as if out of nowhere, four Lindy Hopping couples, dressed in overalls and uniforms, swing out into the cameras at a frenetic tempo.

The choreography and the dancing are as near to perfect Lindy Hop as you can see anywhere!
Hellzapoppin - couverture DVD France

Musicians in scene

  • Slim Gaillard – piano, guitar
  • Slam Stewart – bass
  • Rex Stewart – trumpet
  • Elmer Fane – clarinet
  • Jap Jones – trombone
  • CP Jonstone – drums

Lindy Hop Dancers

William Downes (uniform) and Frances “Mickey” Jones (maid).
Norma Miller and Billy Ricker (chef’s hat).
Al Minns (white coat, black pants) and Willa Mae Ricker.
Ann Johnson (maid) and Frankie Manning (overalls).

From my archives, originally published on my late blog KoToNTeeJ.

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