Ziegfeld Follies or Back in the Old Days We Were Still Freaks

Thing One is an actress, you guyz.  She is a freshman this year (how did she go from second grade to that – no matter) and is playing a Folly girl in the high schools’ grand musical comedy production “Crazy for You.”  I had never heard of this musical before, but I knew the songs, and now they are stuck in my head.  “I’ve got rhythm, I’ve got music, I’ve got a migraine, who could ask for anything more?”  Still, it’s her drama teacher who is to be admired.  He gets to hear the songs over and over and over and try to get high school students to stop texting and making out (Thing One will point out that she does not do either of these things, partly because she has no phone) long enough to learn lines, songs, and dances.  He’s been doing it since my older brother was in high school, so his brain is probably permanently damaged by now, which makes him the perfect one for the job.

Thing One is playing a Folly girl, like from the Ziegfeld Follies.  I’d heard of them, but vaguely, so we decided to look it up on Youtube.  And wow – we learned a lot.  Stuff you really can’t unlearn.  First we found a clip about Ziegfeld Follies from another musical comedy (you’ll soon see why “comedy” so often comes up when speaking of these guys), the 1946 film appropriately titled “Ziegfeld Follies.”  You’ve got everything here guys.  Fred Astaire, dancing girls with 6 ft tall fluffy boa hats, an enormous merry-go-round with real horses, a set that was thrown up on by a giant bottle of Pepto-Bismol, a dead serious Lucille Ball cracking a whip over chorus girls, who could ask for anything more?

The Things and I watched it once, scarred for life, then watched it again to make sure we had really just seen that.  Here’s a few screen shots.

Fred welcomes the real pink ladies - ah back in the days when women were allowed to have thighs!

Fred welcomes the real pink ladies – ah back in the days when women were allowed to have thighs! And pink fluffy hats!

 

And out comes a ballerina! Because . . . ballerina!

And out comes a ballerina! Because . . . ballerina!

 

Is that a carousel or a sentient pink mushroom?

Is that a living carousel or a sentient pink mushroom?

 

Please help,my neck is breaking under the weight of my mushroom cloud hat.

My neck is breaking under the weight of my mushroom cloud hat. Please help.

 

Lucy? Is that you?

Lucy? Is that you?

 

Lucy is handed a whip. Now things are startin' to get weird.

Lucy is handed a whip. Now things are startin’ to get weird.

 

Aaaand out come girls in literal cat suits which Lucy begins to hit with her whip!

Aaaand out come girls in literal cat suits for Lucy to whip into submission! 1940s, guys!

 

You whip me right round baby, right round!

You whip me right round baby, right round!

 

And mercifully ends our tour of psychosis.

And mercifully ends our tour of psychosis.

 

Here’s the whole clip for you to watch!  Put to music it’s even better!

WTF?  I mean seriously – what was that???  I thought you couldn’t get more bizarre than that horrific pink carousel of mid-rif showing, boa covered girls standing on top of actual freaking horses (how many times did they have to rehearse that scene?  I could see some issues with the horses.)  And then comes Lucy looking like she just completed brain surgery.  And then comes the whip.  And then the cat girls.  And the whipping.  And the fingernails.  And . . . that was not a Lady Gaga video, you guys, she just wishes she could be this innovative.

But this was a comedy film, so they weren’t seriously that weird right?  We watched a clip of a PBS (the ones who made Sesame Street) documentary on the Follies to find out.

From the PBS documentary hey wait are those guys nude?

From the PBS documentary hey wait are those guys nude?

 

This is so wrong on so many levels.

This is so wrong on so many levels.

I love how the PBS commentator (a guy of course) reflects that it was all very innocent and American!  We’re talking 1907 through 1936 here.  This is why knowing history is oh so important.  We’re repeating it now, only we are much more boring about it.

So my Thing One is going to be a folly girl!  I can’t wait to see her costume.  I hope it has a giant pink feather boa hat.

 

Alice

 

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9 responses

  1. At least that guys penis wasn’t green.

    1. It’s not easy being green . . .

  2. Ummm, yeah, OK. Yikes! I wish Thing one the best -= break a leg!

    1. I’m thinking they won’t be quite so risque in the school musical. On the other hand, I should show you guys the picture of me in the showgirl costume I wore at four sometime. Complete with fishnet stockings!

  3. So I’m a month late to this, has the show happened yet or are they still rehearsing?

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