Friday, July 23, 2010
Cab Calloway: One Cool Cat!
The Cotton Club hired Calloway and his orchestra as a replacement for the Duke Ellington Orchestra while they went on tour. Calloway soon became popular that he also began touring when not playing at the Cotton Club. Calloway also performed on Walter Winchell's radio program with Bing Crosby in his show at New York's Paramount Theatre.
In 1931 he recorded his most famous song, "Minnie the Moocher". That song, along with "St. James Infirmary Blues" and "The Old Man Of The Mountain," were performed for the Betty Boop animated shorts Minnie the Moocher, Snow White and The Old Man of the Mountain. Calloway not only gave his voice to these cartoons, but his dance moves as well. He also performed in short films for Paramount in the 1930s. (Calloway and Ellington were featured on film more than any other jazz orchestras of the era.) In these films, one can see him "moonwalking" fifty years before Michael Jackson.
In 1943 Calloway performed in the high-profile 20th Century Fox musical film, Stormy Weather.