Burlesque in Harlem (1954)

Release Date - May 31, 1954 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 90 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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William Alexander, the producer of blaxploitation stalwarts like Ingagi and Souls of Sin, turned to direction with this all-black vaudeville revue. Pigmeat Markham leads the talent line-up, which also includes Hucklebuck Jones, Mabel Hunter, and Jo Jo Adams. Burlesque routines are performed by Taza, whose act is as much contortion as it is striptease, and Gertrude "Baby" Banks. Tap dancers Slip and Slide perform, and songs include "I Like the Hucklebuck", "Juice Head Baby" (performed by host Dick Barrow) and "It Takes a Dark Brown". The film was reissued in the 1950s as Rock & Roll Burlesque, despite containing nothing resembling a conventional definition of rock and roll music. Anyone with a fondness for vintage Harlem burlesque, however, will find this film a pure delight.