10/18/07

THE NICHOLINI'S?

youngnicholasbrothers

Here is a wonderful addition to Nicholasiana (aka "all things Nicholas Brothers"). It's a little number called "Lucky Number" featuring the boys when they are truly "boys"--this is either from their Vitaphone Short "Pie Pie Blackbird" (1932) or from "Big Broadcast of 1936." In other words, Fayard is either eighteen or twenty two years old, and Harold is either eleven or fifteen years old! (He looks eleven, though he always had the baby-face thing happening.) Actually, the more I study this, the more obvious it's from 1932--the setting, the style of the arrangement and the sheer youth of the two brothers. So is this from the Vitaphone Short? I note on user comments on IMDB a mysterious mention of a second Vitaphone short which they presumably made around the same time as "Pie Pie Blackbird" but which does not appear in their IMDB filmography. Could this be from that? Anybody who can clear this up, please feel free to do so...

One of the things the brothers did dance-wise that has become apparent to me in viewing this stuff this week was to not dance quite in sync with each other--their moves during their numbers were similar but never entirely co-ordinated. This lends a kind of violent, jagged and almost pop-art feel to the movement--in this clip they are a good deal more conventional than in their later work, but still you can see elements of the tap inferno that was to come in a few years. And little Harold is so friggin' cute, you want to reach into the screen and give him a pinch. Dig his spin at two minutes, five seconds...

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