The Magic of Bill Robinson

Thank you, last night’s episode of Modern Family for inspiring this post.

In first minutes of the episode, before the earthquake and before Nathan Lane’s fantastic guest appearance as Pepper Salzman, Phil and Claire are arguing over what Phil has fixed around the house and he hasn’t. He defends his staircase repair work exclaiming, “I’m like Shirley Temple and that black guy.” I had a good laugh.

“That black guy,” as Phil so eloquently put it, is Bill “Bojangles” Robinson, arguably one of the greatest dancers of all-time. Fred Astaire famously paid tribute to Robinson in the tap routine “Bojangles of Harlem” from Swing Time.

Robinson is perhaps best known today, just as Phil Dunphy implied, for his appearances in three Shirley Temple films: The Little Colonel, The Littlest Rebel, Just Around the Corner, and Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm.

This is unfortunate. Although Robinson has an intriguing presence in the Shirley Temple films, even more so when you compare his role to the brief appearance of Willie Best in The Little Colonel, they in no way showcase his best cinematic work or even his immense dance skills. Stormy Weather, a 1943 musical, which is loosely based on Robinson’s life and features 20 musical numbers, does just that. Stormy Weather was released the same year as Cabin in the Sky, two films that feature predominantly African-American casts and showcase some of the top African-American performers of that time. It was Robinson’s last screen appearance.

Still, my favorite Bill Robinson act is whenever he performs the version of the stair dance. You saw the Stair Dance briefly in the clip from The Little Colonel. It never fails to capture my attention.

Inception – 1950s Hitchcock style!

The cynical part of me believes that this YouTube video was inevitable.

Someone has taken clips from Inception and spliced them with the audio from the trailers forRear Window, Spellbound, and Vertigo. Sure it might be cynical for me to think this, but the mock trailer that has been created is completely awesome and takes more patience than I will ever have.

Fall TV’s Best: Betty White and the Anthropology Rap

The 2010-2011 television season has barely begun and Community has already had the best guest appearance in a hilarious premiere episode. Betty White guest starred on Community as a crazy anthropology professor who attacks Jeff Winger (Joel McHale) with a cross bow. Yes, the shot of Betty White standing over Joel McHale with a deadly weapon is fantastic, but what is even better occurred during the show’s end credits.

These credit sequences are reserved for Abed (Danny Pudi) and Troy (Donald Glover) to goof off. This week they were joined by one Betty White to perform “Anthropology Rap”. Watch it here. You’ll giggle with delight.

Is it a great as last season’s “La Biblioteca“? Who cares! All I know is that I can definitely live with every tv executives’s new programming strategy: Put Betty White on everything.

Happy Monday!

Once there was a mermaid named Ariel and she was one of the most beloved creatures under the sea. She had a cool family, some great little friends, and could carry a tune. Have you ever wondered what kind of advice she would give to young girls? Well here is your chance. Enjoy the laugh and the start of your week.

A Case of Mad Men Withdrawal

I am suffering from Mad Men withdrawal. It is a severe medical condition. It is so severe that I am considering going to a local bar, ordering an old fashioned and testing any one of these pick up lines.

Are you willing to try any of these pick up lines?

I’m in love with the delivery of “I’m Ken…Cosgrove…accounts.”

Just picture me: “I’m Joanna…Arcieri…unemployed recent college graduate.”