Footlight Parade (1933)


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From Wikipedia (adapted):

The musical film Footlight Parade (1933) starred James Cagney, Joan Blondell, Ruby Keeler and Dick Powell. The screenplay was written by Manuel Seff and James Seymour from a story by Robert Lord and Peter Milne. It was directed by Lloyd Bacon. The spectacular Busby Berkeley-choreographed musical numbers feature songs written by Harry Warren (music) and Al Dubin (lyrics), and by Sammy Fain (music) and Irving Kahal (lyrics).

Musical numbers

  • Honeymoon Hotel – by Harry Warren (music) and Al Dubin (lyrics)
  • Shanghai Lil – by Harry Warren (music) and Al Dubin (lyrics)
  • By a Waterfall– by Sammy Fain (music) and Irving Kahal (lyrics)
  • One Step Ahead of My Shadow – by Sammy Fain (music) and Irving Kahal (lyrics)
  • Ah, the Moon Is Here – by Sammy Fain (music) and Irving Kahal (lyrics)
  • Sitting on a Backyard Fence – by Sammy Fain (music) and Irving Kahal (lyrics)[5]

Footlight Parade-33-Cagney & chorus girls-1-c1Early casting had Stanley Smith playing the juvenile lead eventually played by Dick Powell, and Dorothy Tennant playing Mrs. Gould instead of Ruth Donnelly. Other actors considered for various roles included Eugene Pallette, George Dobbs and Patricia Ellis. Remarkably, considering that his musical numbers are the highlight of the film, Busby Berkeley was not the original choice to choreograph – Larry Ceballos was signed to direct the dance numbers, and sued Berkeley and the studio for $100,000 for breach of contract when he was not allowed to do so. (Ceballos also claimed to have created a number later used in the Warner Bros. film Wonder Bar, which was credited to Berkeley.) Cagney’s character, Chester Kent, was modelled after Chester Hale, a well-known impresario at the time, and the offices he worked in were based on the Sunset Boulevard offices of the prologue production company “Fanchon and Marco” in Los Angeles.[3] Footlight Parade was shot at the Warner Bros. studio in Burbank, California, and cost an estimated $703,000 to make. It premiered on 30 September 1933, and was released generally on 21 October.[6][7][8]



Honeymoon Hotel (m. Sammy Fain, w. Irving Kahal) Danced by Ruby Keeler — Vocals are distributed between Ruby Keeler, Dick Powell, a studio chorus, and bit part players in the hotel (staff, family members, other guests).

Clip is presently unavailable

Freddy Martin & his Orchestra, vocal by Terry Shand —  recorded 31 August 1933 and issued as Brunswick 6654 c/w Sittin’ On a Backyard Fence (m. Sammy Fain, w. Irving Kahal)


Ah, The Moon is Here (m. Sammy Fain, w. Irving Kahal) – Sung by Frank McHugh and Dick Powell, also by three members of the Chorus

I haven’t found the clip from the film. This is a cover by popular singer Ramona. The provider attaches the following information:

Ramona Davies, usually billed as Ramona and her Grand Piano was a sophisticated cabaret singer and pianist, most popular in the 1930s. Born Ramona Myers on March 11, 1909 (or 1910) in Cincinnati, Ohio, was vocalist and pianist for Paul Whiteman’s Orchestra from 1932-1937. She played mildly jazz-influenced piano and sang songs in a deep-voiced, sophisticated style. She was sometimes featured by Whiteman with a small jazz group within the band. Prior to joining Whiteman, she had her own radio show in Cincinnati and also worked with Don Bestor. She performed on Whiteman’s radio show in 1933, Al Jolson radio show in 1933-34 and the Kraft Music Hall in late 1934 through early 1935 (before Bing Crosby took over the radio program in 1936). She was featured with the Whiteman band in the 20th Century-Fox 1935 film Thanks A Million. She left Whiteman’s band in 1937 and worked as a single. In the late 30’s, she led a male big band. This wonderful song was recorded in 1933.


Shanghai Lil (Harry Warren, Al Dubin) Sung by James Cagney, Ruby Keeler and Chorus, Danced by James Cagney and Ruby Keeler and Chorus

Complete number

Gene Kardos and his Orchestra, vocal by Dick Robertson

By a Waterfall (m. Sammy Fain, w. Irving Kahal) Sung by Dick Powell, Ruby Keeler and Chorus – Swum by Ruby Keeler and Chorus, choreography by Busby Berkeley





Ruby Keeler-Sitting On a Backyard Fence number, Footlight Parade (1933)

Sittin’ on a Back Yard Fence (m. Sammy Fain, w. Irving Kahal) Danced by Ruby Keeler — Sung by Ruby Keeler, Billy Taft and Chorus

Clip is presently unavailable




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