Bill Bailey Moonwalks

Notable Cast

Other Great Videos from Past Entertainment
Beach Boy, Mike Love, singing on the Jack Benny Hour, 1965

A Beach Boys Extravaganza!

In these classic TV clips, the Beach Boys perform California Girls, Barbara Ann, and act in a skit with Jack Benny and Bob Hope. From the November 13, 1965 airing of the Jack Benny Hour on NBC.

Fayard Nicholas Dancing and doing a split

The Nicholas Brothers Dance!

The Nicholas brothers invented and perfected a dance form that combined classical tap, jazz, acrobatics and amazing athleticism. Mikhail Baryshnikov declared the Nicholas Brothers to be, “the most amazing dancers I have ever seen in my life — ever … Those guys are perfect examples of pure genius.”

Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley on stage together.

Frank and Elvis Sing

Frank Sinatra sings, “Love Me Tender” and Elvis Presley sings, “Witchcraft,” in a duet! From the 1960 Classic TV Frank Sinatra special on ABC, The show featured Elvis’s first TV appearance after being released from the Army.

A clash of the Titans! What more can you say!

Bill Bailey, tap dance pioneer, performs his dance move he called, “The Backslide,” which would later become known as “The Moonwalk” when performed by Michael Jackson.

Tap dancing was a staple of Classic TV. In the 1940’s and 50’s, Bill Baily, shown it the above Classic TV video clip was an acknowledged master of the dance. As with many performers of this era, his performing background began in the church, where his father, Joseph James Bailey, was a preacher. His younger sister, Pearl Bailey would also get her start in that church, and both would go on to become among the most popular performers of their time.

Bill Bailey’s popularity and influence is hard to envision today, as the popularity of this dance form has waned. Tap dancing was a staple in minstrel shows and, later, vaudeville circuits as the athletic and percussive dance thrilled audiences. Translating that excitement to movie screen and early television screens seemed like a natural development.

Bill Bailey was among the pioneers in that effort. After establishing himself as a master of his craft in live theaters appearing with such luminaries as Cab Calloway and Duke Ellington, Bailey first performed on screen in 1936 in the short, Going Native. Seven years later Bailey would again appear in film on the feature length, A Cabin in the Sky. In this film Bill performs a move he called, “The Backslide.” The move would become much more famous and hugely popular when performed by Michael Jackson and called “The Moonwalk.”

Bailey was also a popular Classic TV performer. He was a regular on the Ed Sullivan Show, even performing with his equally talented sister many times. He appeared many times on the early television classic, An Evening at the Apollo.

Bill Bailey never abandoned his childhood religious influences. He opened his own church in Harlem to minister to performers at the nearby Apollo Theater. From that point on, he would only return to performing when his church needed funds to continue his ministry.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Other Great Videos from Past Entertainment
Publisher

Star Match

Classic movie actors and the roles they play, we all think we know them. Test you classic movie knowledge by matching the actor with the character they made famous in this free Word Match from Past Entertainment.

Various Superheroes on a comic cover
Publisher

Comic Book Greats

The comic book heroes born in the Golden Age of Comics endure today. Can you locate their names in this free Word Search Puzzle from Past Entertainment?

Play Star Quotes| Match the star to the quote they made famous
Publisher

Star Quotes

Play this free online game matching classic film stars with their famous quotes from the golden age of film.