The Duke is Tops (September 1, 1938)

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The Duke is Tops
 

Released on September 1, 1938: A small town show promoter fires his star singer so that she can perform on Broadway, but they both discover that they are better together than apart.

Produced by Leo C. Popkin

Directed by William L. Nolte

The Actors: Ralph Cooper (Duke Davis), Lena Horne (Ethel Andrews), Laurence Criner (Doc Dorando), Monte Hawley (talent scout George Marshall), Willie Covan (specialty tap dancer), Neva Peoples (Ella), Vernon McCalla (Mason), Edward Thompson (Ferdie Fenton), Johnny Taylor (Dippy, 'Prince Alakazoo'), Ray Martin (Joe), Guernsey Morrow (Ed Lake), Charles Hawkins (stage manager Sam), Basin Street Boys (specialty act), Rubberneck Holmes (specialty act), Cats and the Fiddle (specialty act), Marie Bryant (specialty performer), Harlemania Orchestra (swing band), Everett Brown (Sheriff), Arthur Ray (druggist), Mildred Boyd (chorus girl), Dorothea Durham (dancer), Joel Fluellen (tonic customer), Louise Franklin (chorus girl - dancer), Avanelle Harris (dancer), Lillian Randolph (woman with sciatica)

 

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Sepia Scandals with the Bronze Nightingale

In 1936 Ralph Cooper created all of the choreography for the Shirley Temple movie "Poor Little Rich Girl," and while working on the set he became a student of film . . . watching the director and other behind-the-scenes motion picture professionals and decided that making movies was something that he could do, and for many years he produced, directed and acted in smash movie hits for the African-American market.

As a natural born band leader and emcee he also was one of the founders of the famous Apollo Theater. In this story he teams with legendary singer Lena Horne in a musical romantic comedy that showcases some of the finest music and dancing talents of 1938.

Cooper is show promoter Duke Davis who has a Sepia Scandals show making the rounds of small Southern towns, and Ethel Andrews, played by Lena Horne, is his star attraction. One day a talent agent convinces Duke that his star singer could have a big career in New York City and Broadway, so Duke breaks up the show and sends her on her way to fame and fortune.

Without his star singer Duke has trouble putting together a show that can make money and soon joins forces with a medicine man to create a show that will sell the magic elixir. While the Duke is finding some success Ethel is finding that stardom on Broadway is more difficult than she expected and eventually the two team up again and find success together. Along with the story we get to enjoy some of the top Vaudeville singing and dancing from some of the famous performers of 1938. Pop a big bowl of white kernel popcorn with plenty of warm melted butter drizzled over it and enjoy the show.

Lena Horne
Lena Horne
The Basin Street Boys
The Basin Street Boys
Charles Hawkins and Ralph Cooper
Charles Hawkins and Ralph Cooper
Charles Hawkins and a dancer
Charles Hawkins and a dancer
Everett Brown and Arthur Ray
Everett Brown and Arthur Ray
Johnny Taylor
Johnny Taylor
Laurence Criner and Ralph Cooper
Laurence Criner and Ralph Cooper
Laurence Criner meets Ralph Cooper
Laurence Criner meets Ralph Cooper
Lena Horne and Neva Peoples
Lena Horne and Neva Peoples
Lena Horne hugs Ralph Cooper
Lena Horne hugs Ralph Cooper
Lena Horne on stage
Lena Horne on stage
Lena Horne singing on stage
Lena Horne singing on stage
Lillian Randolph
Lillian Randolph
Monte Hawley and Vernon McCalla
Monte Hawley and Vernon McCalla
Monte Hawley
Monte Hawley
Neva Peoples
Neva Peoples
Ralph Cooper and Lena Horne
Ralph Cooper and Lena Horne
Ralph Cooper and Lena Horne
Ralph Cooper and Lena Horne
Ralph Cooper
Ralph Cooper
Ralph Cooper
Ralph Cooper
Ralph Cooper and Lena Horne
Ralph Cooper and Lena Horne
Ralph Cooper
Ralph Cooper
Ralph Cooper and Lena Horne
Ralph Cooper and Lena Horne
The Cats and the Fiddle
The Cats and the Fiddle
Vernon McCalla, Ralph Cooper and Monte Hawley
Vernon McCalla, Ralph Cooper and Monte Hawley
Vernon McCalla and Ralph Cooper
Vernon McCalla and Ralph Cooper
Vernon McCalla
Vernon McCalla
Willie Covan
Willie Covan