2 3 Throwback Thursday and Buster Brown | Ballet Webb

Thursday, February 28, 2019

Throwback Thursday and Buster Brown

Throwback Thursday and Buster Brown

James “Buster” Brown was born on May 17, 1913 in Baltimore Maryland as James Richard Brow. He was the only boy in a family of eight children.

He became interested in show business after he saw Albert “Pops” Whitman dance. James first performed as one of the Three Little Dots. Later, he formed The Brown Brothers, which evolved into the Three Aces. After he graduated from high school the act became The Speed Kings due to the speed of their footwork.

In the mid-1930s, The Speed Kings worked with Brownski Models and played the Apollo Theater. The act later became Speed Kings 2 which opened with soft-shoe and rhythm dance before moving into the precision tap they were known for.

In 1939 Speed Kings 2 came to New York and played the Apollo and Small’s Paradise with Earl Bostic’s band. They continued to perform through World War II. One of their last performances was in the Cole Porter film, Something to Shout About, in which Cyd Charisse made her film debut.

Buster Brown then went on to perform solo, and also worked with the duo Brown and Beige. In the 1960s he danced with the Hoofers, a group that included Lon Chaney and toured Africa for eight weeks.  In 1966 he performed with Duke Ellington, and later he sang with the Ink Spots.

In 1974 he appeared in the documentary film, Great Feats of Feet, and in the 1980s he danced in the Broadway touring production of Bubblin’ Brown Sugar. He also appeared in the movie The Cotton Club. In 2000,he toured with Savion Glover and Friends.

Buster Brown died in New York City on May 11, 2002.

From the Big Blue Book of Ballet Secrets
Secret #212:
“Buster Brown was a beloved tap dancer whose career spanned decades.”

Link of the Day:

Quote of the Day:
"Buster is a magnet of love and respect. He gives love and respect to his audience, and as a consequence, he gets it back."
- Jo Rowan: Chairman Dance Oklahoma City University

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