Nicholas Brothers (YGtCTO #228)

Dancers extraordinary

Fayard Nicholas and Harold Nicholas

Really, I had never seen anything like it. I cannot think of a more exhilarating sequence in film. If anything ever deserved a mic drop and walk off… I mean… I know what’s coming and I still look forward to the big finish.

Go ahead and read Fayard’s obituary.

A couple years ago, we saw The Fabulous Nicholas Brothers presented by Bruce Goldstein, who had gathered tributes and remarkable footage. While we knew going in that the brothers had made many more appearances than we had seen, the treasure trove that we saw…

Nicholas Brothers

More than that- the lives that Fayard and Harold lived…

I like baseball
and you don’t really like baseball if you don’t know at least a small amount about the Negro Leagues. If you’re young and you run into that subject, then it becomes difficult to reconcile with a beloved pastime. I also like jazz and and you don’t really like jazz if you don’t know about the exodus of great musicians to Europe starting in the 1950’s.

We now acknowledge the accomplishments of many of these players and musicians. We have statistics and recordings and interviews and books and all sorts of commemorations. In many ways, none of it feels different from our experience of the more mainstream players and artists. We are mistaken.

Go back to that official Nicholas Brothers website. Look again at that list of credits. There is an awful emptiness after 1948, when the brothers would have been 34 and 27. (Gene Kelly was 40 in Singin’ in the Rain. Fred Astaire was 54 in The Bandwagon.) That last year, they danced with Gene Kelly in The Pirate.

I don’t know… Maybe I should build that time machine and visit Paris in the late 1950’s…

Go ahead- reach out to Bruce Goldstein and ask him to bring his Nicholas Brothers show to your town. Their talent blazes across the screen. Like Josh Gibson and Dexter Gordon, they transcend our loss for the brief moments we are allowed in their recorded presence, leaving us all the more aware of our misfortune when the moments pass.

What’s it all about?

You’ve Got to Check This Out is a blog series about music, words, and all sorts of artistic matters. It started with an explanation. 72 more to go.

New additions to You’ve Got to Check This Out release regularly. Also, free humor, short works, and poetry post irregularly. Receive notifications on Facebook by friending or following Craig.

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