Looking for the earliest Slim Gaillard clip I could find, I came across a sequence from Olsen and Johnson’s manic 1941 hit movie Hellzapoppin’. Gaillard plays piano and guitar, with his constant companion of the period, the great Slam Stewart, on bass. Among the several dozen uncredited musicians and dancers is the Duke Ellington cornetist Rex Stewart, done up in a cook’s outfit. If anyone can identify the clarinetist, trombonist and drummer, please send a comment. You’ll see some of the most aggressive jitterbugging ever filmed, but keep your ears open to the jam session that inspires the dancers. The funny little man in the opening scene is Hugh Herbert.
They don’t make them like this anymore. How could they?