Now you’ve done it. You’ve got me started on the Nicholas Brothers. Harold and Fayard. Genuises.
Fred Astaire told the brothers that this sequence (from the movie “Stormy Weather”) was the greatest movie musical number he’d ever seen. The virtuosity of their moves is just stunning.
And yes, that is Cab Calloway leading the orchestra.
Harold and Fayard’s parents were musicians who performed at a theater in Philadelphia. Because of this, they were able to observe the top African-American dancers of the day, and learned to dance by copying their moves. While still in their teens (actually, Harold was 11), they were performing at the Cotton Club.
Here’s a clip from 1936; Fayard would have been 21 or 22, and Harold would be about 15.
And here they dance with Gene Kelly in “The Pirate,” their last film. Both Kelly and co-star Judy Garland had to fight to get the brothers into the movie, and this sequence was cut from the film for many theaters in the South.
Okay, just one more. This is from the movie “Orchestra Wives,” and that’s Glenn Miller on the trombone.