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BUSBY BERKELEY

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Busby Berkeley's  1933 "Footlight Parade"
Original vintage pasteboard handbills/broadsides.
Three different faces all have Jim Cagney on reverse
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-(Your Choice)-
Click HERE for Busby Berkeley's Biography

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Click to enlarge

Busby Berkeley's First Movie  "Whoopee" 1931
Eddie Cantor Starrer
very rare early sound musical from Sam Goldwyn
together with unsigned Berkeley Contract.
From Valentino Collection
11" x 14" Original Vintage Lobby Card

Click for Florence Ziegfeld's Bio

Original Director's Guild questionaire,
filed out in Berkey's hand in ink. Rare.

Busby Berkeley's
1933 "Footlight Parade" Songsheet
Original vintage Songsheet
Not For Sale

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BACK
INSIDE
INSIDE

Busby Berkeley's   1933 "Gold Digger" Press-Book
Original vintage Press-book - Very Rare
Only 4 of 8 pages shown!

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Please click here to see a great website
by Moviediva about Busby Berkeley

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Biography for
Florence Ziegfeld Jr.


Mini biography
American theatrical producer who brought the revue to spectacular heights under the slogan "Glorifying the American Girl." During the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893, Ziegfeld managed Sandow, the strong man. In 1896 he turned to theatrical management. His promotion of a French beauty, Anna Held, with press releases about her milk baths brought her fame and set a pattern of star making through publicity. In 1907 he produced in New York City his first revue, "The Follies of 1907", modeled on the Folies-Bergère of Paris but less risqué. The revue's combination of seminudity, pageantry, and comedy was repeated seccessfully for 23 more years, until the advent of the Great Depression ended these annual spectacles. Four other editions appeared after his death, the last in 1957. Among the stars developed by Ziegfeld were Marilyn Miller, Will Rogers, Leon Errol, Bert Williams, Fanny Brice, and Eddie Cantor. In addition to the "Follies", Ziegfeld also produced the stage successes "Saly" (1920), "Show Boat" (1927), "Rio Rita" (1927), and "Bitter Sweet (1929). Ziegfeld married Anna Held in 1897 and, after their divorce in 1913, the actress Billie Burke.

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Mini biography
'Florence Ziegfeld' was on the greatest producers on Broadway in the first third of the 20th century. His greatest productions on stage have been his annual Ziegfeld Follies from 1907 upto the mid-thirties. A few of his other sucessfull stage productions like "Sally" with Marylin Miller were made to musicals in the early talkie-era.

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Spouse
Billie Burke (1913 - 1932)
Anna Held (1897 - 1913)

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Trivia

Brother of producer William K. Ziegfeld.
 

Biography for
Busby Berkeley   
 
 
Height
5' 9"
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Mini biography
Busby Berkeley was one of the greatest choreographers in the US movie musical. He started his career in the US Army in 1918, when he was Lieutanant in the artillery conducting and directing parades. After the cease fire he was ordered to stage camp shows for the soldiers. Back in the US he became stage actor, assitant director in smaller acting troop. After being forced to take over the direction of the musical "Holka-Polka" he discoverd his talent for staging extravagant dance routines, and he beame one of the top Broadway dance directors. Producer Florence Ziegfeld called him to direct the dance routines for his production "A Connecticut Yankee on King Arthur's Court". Eddie Cantor, who starred in the long running Ziegfeld production "Whoopee!" suggested him for creating the dance routine's in its film version, and Ziegfeld agreed. Berkeley was hiered for the film, too. First in Hollywood, he wasn't satisfied with the posibilitis of his job - in this time the dance directors trained the dances, staged them, the director choosed the position for the cameras and the editor choosed whitch of the takes were shown to the audience. Busby Berkeley wanted to direct the dances himself and convinced the producer Samuel Goldwyn to let him work. One of the first chances he made, was, that he used only one camera -he never used more in his films - and to show close-ups from the chorusgirls. Asked about this he explained: "Well, we've got all the beautiful girls in the picture, why not let the public see them?". But with the declining of musicals in 1931 and 1932 he was thinking of returning to Broadway, when Darryl F. Zanuck chief producer of Warner Brothers called him in to direct the musicals numbers of their newest project, the backstage drama "42nd Street". Busby Berkeley accepted, and directed those great numbers like "Shuffle Off To Buffalo", "Young and Healthy" and the grandious story of urban life, the final "42nd Street". "42nd Street" was a smach hit, and Warner Brothers knew, who made it to such an extraordinary sucess. Busby Berkeley, as well as the composer Harry Warren and the lyricist Al Dubin got a seven years contract. Busby Berkeley created musical numbers for almost every great musical, Warner Brothers produced from 1933 to 1937. His overhead shots forced him to drill holes in the studio rooves, and he used from picture to picture more dancers, e.g. in "Lullaby of Broadway", he supposed it as his masterpice, in "Gold Diggers of 1935" he used about 150 dancers tapping her hearts out. But with the second declinig of the musical picture in 1938, he had nothing to do as a choreographer. He directed two non musical pictures for Warner Brothers, then he went to MGM, where he choreographed the final number from "Broadway Serenade" with Jeanette MacDonald. As a director and choreographer, he worked on four pictures with the teeange stars Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney. He also choreographed the Fascinatin' Rhythm finale for MGM's reigning tapping star, Eleanor Powell in "Lady Be Good". He directed Gene Kelly in his first picture, in "For Me and My Gal". Kelly, who choreographed his own numbers, learned a lot from Busby Berkeley. He also worked for other studios in the 40s, e.g. for 20th Century - Fox in "The Gang's All Here" with its surrealistic number "The Lady in the Tutti-Frutti Hat". At the end of the Forties he directed his last picture, "Take Me Out To the Ball Game", but this time the choreography was fully by Gene Kelly. He did a few numbers in the early Fifties, but at the end of the Fifties he was forgotten. A revieval of his films in the late Sixties, brought him back to the memory and he was asked to return to Broadway and supervise the dance direction in the Revieval of Vincent Youmans musical comedy from 1925. One of the actresses in this production was Ruby Keeler one of his Leading Ladies in his Warner musicals. (When the production started to Tour in 1972, one of the mebers was Eleanor Powell). The production was a smash hit, too, and when he entered the stage after the first evening, the house exploded with applause. A strange fact in his career was, that Busby Berkeley never had a dancing lession, and in his early days, he was very affraid of people finding out. He often drove his produzers almost crazy, when he gave order to build a set and the sitting in front of it for a few days, thinking the numbers over.

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IMDb mini-biography by
Stephan Eichenberg <eichenbe@fak-cbg.tu-muenchen.de>
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Spouse
Merna Kennedy  (1934 - 1935) (divorced)
Judd, Etta  (? - ?)
Esther Muir  (? - divorced 1931)

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Trivia

Inspired the song "Busby Berkeley Dreams" by the Magnetic Fields.

Son of actress Gertrude Berkeley.

Biography from Leonard Maltin's Movie Encyclopedia:
The name of this film innovator will forever evoke the image of geometrical patterns of showgirls in synchronized motion. More than a mere choreographer for the popular Warner Bros. musicals of the 1930s, Berkeley was a cinematic innovator whose audacious use of gigantic sets and unusual camera angles forever changed the way musical entertainment was presented on-screen. Berkeley came from a theatrical family; he made his own stage debut at the age of five, and after serving in World War 1 returned to acting, then garnered an excellent reputation as a Broadway director before going to Hollywood in 1930 at the behest of producer Samuel Goldwyn. His first Hollywood assignments included Goldwyn's lavish Eddie Cantor musicomedies, among them Whoopee! (1930), Palmy Days (1931), The Kid From Spain (1932), and Roman Scandals (1933). But he really came into his own at Warners, beginning in 1933, which saw the release of 42nd Street, Gold Diggers of 1933 and Footlight Parade on which he was credited as director of musical sequences (and this was truly the case; the nominal directors of those films had nothing to do with the production numbers).

Such memorable numbers as "42nd Street," "We're in the Money," "My Forgotten Man," "Pettin' in the Park," "Honeymoon Hotel," "Shanghai Lil," and "By a Waterfall" distinguished the Warners musicals, and several Berkeley concoctions immediately entered the film vocabulary. The overhead shot he used to best show off his kaleidoscopic choreography became known as the "Berkeley top shot," and his often outrageous use of dancers to create lavish tableaux was as controversial as it was popular. His well of ideas seemed inexhaustible, and they came to fruition in hit after hit: Dames, Fashions of 1934, Wonder Bar (all 1934), Go Into Your Dance, In Caliente (both 1935), Gold Diggers of 1937 (1936), and Varsity Show (1937). Among his most talkedabout sequences was the incredibly melancholic, expressionistic "Lullaby of Broad way," from Gold Diggers of 1935 which climaxed when its party-girl principal plunged to her death in a skyscraper fall.

Although Berkeley stayed primarily within the musical genre once becoming a full-fledged director (beginning with Gold Diggers of 1935 he occasionally tried his hand at other genres, including the 1939 crime melodrama They Made Me a Criminal. His elaborate brand of musical spectacle went out of fashion as the 1930s waned, and his directorial vehicles of the 1940s-including Strike Up the Band, Forty Little Mothers (both 1940), Babes on Broadway (1941), For Me and My Gal (1942), The Gang's All Here (1943, his first film in Technicolor, with which he achieved positively psychedelic results), Cinderella Jones (1946), and Take Me Out to the Ball Game (1949)-were an uneven lot.

He supervised musical numbers in other films on a sporadic basis, and in 1970 returned to Broadway, directing "No, No Nanette" for fellow Warners alumnus Ruby Keeler. He staged musical sequences for Broadway Serenade (1939), Lady Be Good, Ziegfeld Girl, Born to Sing (all 1941), Girl Crazy (1943), Call Me Mister (1951), Million Dollar Mermaid (1952), Small Town Girl (1953), Rose Marie (1954), and Billy Rose's Jumbo (1962).

Copyright ©1994 Leonard Maltin, used by arrangement with Signet, a division of Penguin Putnam, Inc

The above Information courtesy of The Internet Movie Database .
 Used with permission

Click to go to Lynn's website
Busby Berkeley, was truly a genius of choreography and design.  His design sense and knack for innovation in film is why I find him a fascinating personality who deserved his own site.  When I was in college, although I majored in Painting, I took as many film history classes as possible, because I loved watching classic movies.  The Professor of the class on American film focused on Busby Berkeley many times and even devoted a whole class just to his musical numbers.  Perhaps because of all those hours spent in the dark with those 1930's musicals is why my favorite Berkeley work is that done at Warner Brothers.  My artistic nature is the reason that I loved and enjoyed seeing the patterns and images he created with hundreds of dancers and elaborate set design.  He has never been matched!  I hope you will enjoy this trip detailing his life's work as much as I did while creating this site.

These Items are FOR SALE to knowledgeable Collectors. Please ask all questions of provenance before purchase. Items are only exchangeable if autographs are not authentic.

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