Since 1977

Since 1977, I have written more than 300 000 kilometers of words, that is to say put end to end, one way trip from Earth to the Moon. Or a second to light for this trip. A second light words in 30 years, some 3 billion signs.

Friday, May 10, 2013







Thursday, May 9, 2013



This movie, based on a hit Broadway play, showcases Whitey's Lindy Hoppers 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, in workmen's garb, discover some musical instruments while supposedly delivering a package backstage. They play a few tentative notes, and a spontaneous, swinging jam starts cooking .  More backstage "workers" join the jam, including  Rex Stuart on trumpet and  C.C. Johnson on the ''Bongo drums''. The music builds in excitement until, as if out of nowhere, four Lindy Hopping couples, dressed in overalls and uniforms, swing out into the cameras at a frenetic tempo. Each couple executes amazing acrobatic shines. Then the group unites for precision ensemble work filmed at an angle that emphasizes legwork and speed. 
The choreography and the dancing are as near to perfect Lindy Hop as you can see anywhere! The scene will take your breath away no matter how many times you see it. It is no wonder that this film was responsible for the simultaneous revival of Lindy Hop in Sweden and Britain in the 1980's. 
There is also a short scene with Dean Collins and Martha Raye dancing Lindy Hop to the tune Watch The Birdie
An interesting sidenote: Whitey's Lindy Hoppers' routine in Hellzapoppin' was originally danced and choreographed to different music, namely "Jumping at the Woodside". Universal Studios had a composer who was on staff write new music for the routine. Seen here is a reconstruction of the routine with the original music: Thanks to Dmitry Smolin.

Hellzapoppin' was a musical revue which was a Broadway hit, running from 22 September 1938 to 17 December 1941, and was at the time the longest-running Broadway musical with 1,404 performances—one of only three plays to run more than 500 performances in the 1930s.
A comedy hodgepodge full of sight gags and slapstick, the show was continually rewritten throughout its run to remain topical (its opening scene was Hitler speaking in a Yiddish accent). 

A circus atmosphere prevailed, with midgets, clowns, trained pigeons and audience participation adding
to the merriment. The book was by Olsen & Johnson, a comedy team consisting of John "Ole" Olsen and Harold "Chic" Johnson, the music and
lyrics were by Sammy Fain and Charles Tobias. It featured such performers as Chic Johnson, Ole Olsen, Billy Adams, Ray Kinney and the
Aloha Maids, the comedy team Barto & Mann (Dewey Barto and George Mann), Bergh and Moore, The Charioteers, Bettymae and Beverly Crane,
Ray Kinney, Walter Nilsson, J. C. Olsen, The Radio Rogues, Reed, Dean and Reed (Bonnie Reed, Syd Dean, and Mel Reed), Roberta and Ray,
Hal Sherman, The Starlings, Dorothy Thomas, Shirley Wayne, June Winters, and Whitey's Steppers (also known as Whitey's Lindy Hoppers).
The songs (decidedly less a factor for the show's success than its comedy), included:
"Blow a Balloon Up to the Moon"
"It's Time To Say Aloha"
"When McGregor Sings Off Key"
"We Won't Let It Happen Here"
"When You Look in Your Looking Glass"
Songs and lyrics featured during the run include work by Don George, Teddy Hall, Annette Mills, Gonzalo Curiel, and Oscar Hammerstein II.
The show opened at the original 46th Street Theatre, and moved later in its run to the Winter Garden Theatre and the Majestic Theatre, and spawned several successful sequels.

Modestly described as the greatest, smash-bang, eye-filling, tune filled musical comedy ever to play the Broadway stage, Hellzapoppin is a glorious surrealistic and provocative motion picture. 

Hellzapoppin' (***1/2)
review by Jon Waterman
How do I describe this one? Okay, the vaudeville team of (Ole) Olsen and (Chic) Johnson are trying to adapt their hit Broadway show for the silver screen. The director gets fed up with its madcap, anarchistic styling and brings in a writer to give it a plot. The plot involves a love triangle, and it’s O & J’s job to get the right guy paired up with the girl. At the same time, they have to coordinate and put on a different stage play for all the wealthy guests that will be attending. Did you get all that? I’m sure you think you did, but you don’t know the half of it, my friend.
In all honesty, you should forget the plot. There’s no real reason for it to be there, except to provide the running gag of trying to implement a straightforward plot inside an obviously surrealist, madcap motion picture. Honestly, I was disappointed they kept the joke going as long as they did. I wanted the film to return to the magic of the first fifteen-twenty minutes where anything could happen and it certainly could. After all, they do warn us from the start, “Any similarity between Hellzapoppin' and a motion picture is purely coincidental.”
I don’t know what the original stage production was like, but it certainly couldn’t be the same as this. The movie makes the most of it’s format of presentation, by playing around with editing, composites – shots where Ole and Chic are standing in front of a screen that’s projecting an image of Ole and Chic, title cards, special effects, and big, extravagant sets. This is the best early example I know of (so far) that fully utilizes the medium as part of the art.
“Hellzapoppin’” is full of every kind of humor imaginable. There’s plenty of physical comedy, tons of parody and satire, self-referential, surrealistic, musical and straight-up jokes. It all culminates near the end as they try to sabotage the play they’ve been setting up. Expect to see a little bit of everything. One of the best aspects is their frequent willingness to break the fourth wall and remind everyone it’s a movie. This is one key reason why the plot is so inconsequential. From the beginning, they’ll turn to the audience and speak to them. They’ll also call on the projectionist to rewind the picture or to adjust the framing.
This film also contains a great dance number performed by the Harlem Congeroos. Fans of swing dancing should watch the movie just for this sequence. But mostly, you should watch it for the comedy, supported by a great cast. Of course there’s Olsen and Johnson, but you also get Martha Raye as the horny city girl chasing after the wealthy prince; Hugh Herbert as the master of disguise (although, what he’s dressing up for is beyond us); and Shemp Howard as the slightly sadistic, misogynistic projectionist.
Everyone really came together to create a great, influential piece of comedy. I give great credit to director H. C. Potter for showing off the immense preparation and coordination that obviously went into this production, and to writers Nat Perrin and Warren Wilson for not fully submitting to the studio norms. Not every joke works, but many hold up surprisingly well. You don’t see movies like this anymore. Even the contemporary genre parodies don’t quite capture this type of atmosphere and this level of playfulness.