The Swing Shift Shuffle is a radio program of swing, big band, jazz, boogie woogie and other popular music from the 1930's and 40's that airs every Wednesday from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. (US Central Time) on WEVL 89.9 FM in Memphis, Tennessee, with a live webcast at In addition to the radio show, this blog is dedicated to all aspects of the Swing Era, including art, automobiles, cartoons, comics, history, movies, music, news, science, technology, and anything else that happened during that time. It also includes announcements about events in the Memphis/Mid-South area related to the Swing Era, such as classic movies, concerts, dances, lectures, etc. If you see something that fits the description, send it to me at If you would like more information about the radio show, just go to the Radio Show FAQ page.

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Playlist for December 30, 2009

Click HERE for the Swing Shift Shuffle playlist from last night's show.
Have a Safe and Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Square America and The Boat Lullabies

I discovered Square America, and its subsidiary blog, The Boat Lullabies, a month or so ago.  It is a site dedicated to preserving and displaying vintage snapshots from 1990-1975, as well as other ephemera, and it has some interesting items. 

For example, and continuing in the holiday spirit, The Boat Lullabies posted about two letters from a little girl to her parents between 1940-1945, including the Christmas list to the right. 

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The New Year's First Lindy!

Start the New Year right with the first Red Hot Lindy Hop lesson and session for 2010!
This Friday, January 1, 2010:
Doors open at 6:30 p.m.
Free admission before 7:00 p.m., $5 after 7:00 p.m.
Free dance lesson at 7:00 p.m. with Kirk & Becky followed by music with DJ Becky until 9:30 p.m.  Salsa at 9:30 p.m.

303 South Main Street
Memphis, TN 38103

Monday, December 28, 2009

Popular Science, December 1945, on Google Books

I hope everyone is having a very Merry Christmas!  After all, as the song says, today is only the "fourth day of Christmas," so you all should be expecting four calling birds.

To continue the holiday spirit, Boing Boing pointed me to this December 1945 issue of Popular Science magazine on Google Books, featuring holiday decorating ideas for your Makers out there, including a Yuletide Bell Ringer on page 170. 

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Playlist for December 23, 2009 - Christmas Special!

Click HERE for the Swing Shift Shuffle playlist from last night's show.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Duffy's Tavern Christmas Special, December 21, 1943

In celebration of the holiday season, I am proud to bring you the sounds of Christmas past.  From the Internet Archive, here is Archie (at right), the Manager of Duffy's Tavern ("Duffy ain't here"), in a special Christmas program originally aired on December 21, 1943, with special guest, comic actor and Santa Clause look-alike, Monty Woolly. 

With all the holiday activity, I'm going to take a break for a day or two.  Never fear, gentle reader.  I'll be back next week.  Be sure to catch tonight's Swing Shift Shuffle Christmas Special on WEVL 89.9 FM or, and watch this space for the playlist tomorrow.

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Swing Shift Shuffle Christmas Special!

If, like this family greeting Santa at Macy's in 1942 from the Library of Congress American Memory site, you need a little holiday spirit to finish your last minute shopping, be sure to catch this year's Swing Shift Shuffle Christmas Special, Wednesday, December 23, 2009, from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. (CST) on WEVL Memphis, 89.9 FM, or  Several people said they really enjoyed last year's show, so I will stick to the same formula, with a few new selections here and there.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Louis Jordan Let the Good Times Roll

On December 21, 1946, a single entitled "Let the Good Times Roll" by Louis Jordan (at right on sax) debuted on the Rhythm & Blues charts.  The flipside was "Ain't Nobody Here But Us Chickens" (one of my personal favorites).  From 1943 until 1950, the Brinkley, Arkansas native's singles topped the R&B chart more than 25% of the time. Fifteen hits crossed over to the pop charts.  More information and photos available at the Library of Congress American Memory site on its Today in History page. 

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

I am uncertain of the year this Jam Handy animated short was released, but it was directed by Max Fleischer, and it seemed appropriate for the last Saturday before Christmas.  From the Internet Archive, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.

Friday, December 18, 2009

National Archives and Records Administration Films on YouTube

The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) has approximately 1899 historic, public domain films in its vaults.  The Internet Archive has some of these available for viewing, but otherwise, they are not available on the web.  In an effort to encourage NARA to make these available online, posted 20 of these films from a NARA DVD (available only from Amazon) on YouTube.  The idea is to demonstrate how interested the public would be in these films if readily available.  There are some historic moments, including the crash of the Hindenburg. 

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Playlist for December 16, 2009

Click HERE for the Swing Shift Shuffle playlist from last night's show.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Last Lindy Hop of 2009

This Friday is the last weekly Red Hot Lindy Hop lesson and session for 2009, so get your dancing shoes to round out the year!  They recommence on January 1, 2010.

This Friday, December 18, 2009:
Doors open at 6:30 p.m.
Free admission before 7:00 p.m., $5 after 7:00 p.m.
Free dance lesson at 7:00 p.m. with Mike and Jeska, followed with music by DJ Jeska until 9:30 p.m.  Salsa at 9:30 p.m.

303 South Main Street
Memphis, TN 38103
The last of the  Majestic Grille's "Sunday Suppers and a Movie" series is December 20, with the special menu below and the ultimate Christmas classic, It's A Wonderful Life.  The menu is available at 7:30 p.m., and the movie starts at 8:00 p.m. 

- Antipasto - stuffed cherry peppers, warm grilled mushrooms, proscuitto & arugula
- Beef and Three Cheese Lasagna
- Caesar Salad
- Rosemary Focaccia Bread with grilled artichoke pesto
- Dessert

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Ham Radio Short from 1939

The Make: blog called my attention to this 1939 short feature about ham radio operators of the era.  This film was a Pete Smith Specialty ("narrated by a Smith named Pete") that told true stories about interesting people along with amusing fictional tales.  Theaters would show such shorts before the main feature along with cartoons, newsreels, serials, etc. 

Monday, December 14, 2009

Music and Holiday Merriment at Otherlands

The Side Street Steppers and the Bluff City Backsliders will be playing at Otherlands on Friday, December 18, 2009, 8:00 p.m.  Admission is $7. 

As an added treat, Memphis' own 1940's-inspired burlesque and pin-up troupe, the Memphis Belles, will have a Winter Wonderland photo station so you can have your picture taken with your favorite Belle in swing era holiday style. 

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Tom and Jerry (but not THAT "Tom and Jerry") in Barnyard Bunk

As do many of the early animated shorts, this one ranks fairly high on the weird-o-meter when compared to the classic cartoons of later years.  The original names of these characters were Tom and Jerry, not Dick and Larry as the title card indicates.  Apparently, Van Beuren Studios re-released the 1930s cartoons featuring these decidedly non-cat and mouse characters in the 1950s with different names.  Gee, I wonder why?  Anyway, demonstrating that music does have power to change lives (one way or another), from the Internet Archive and 1932, here are "Tom and Jerry" in Barnyard Bunk.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Dinner and a Movie at the Majestic Grill

The holidays get so busy I miss good things.  I almost missed posting about the Majestic Grille's "Sunday Suppers and a Movie" series, running through December 20.  I confess I have yet to attend one of these events, but it certainly looks appetizing on several levels.  The special menu below is available at 6:30 p.m., and the movie starts at 7:00 p.m. 

Sunday, December 13, 2009
Christmas in Connecticut starring Barbara Stanwyck
- Grilled Romaine Salad with charred red onions and 1000 island dressing
- Roasted Lamb Sirloin with rosemary roasted potatoes, sun-dried cranberry sauce
- Garlic Mashed Potatoes
- Broccoli Rabe
- Apple Strudel with vanilla ice cream and cinnamon sugar

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Playlist for December 9, 2009

Click HERE for the Swing Shift Shuffle playlist from last night's show.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Lindy Hop Friday

The weekly Red Hot Lindy Hop lesson and session continues this Friday. 

This Friday, December 11, 2009:
Doors open at 6:30 p.m.
Free admission before 7:00 p.m., $5 after 7:00 p.m.
Free dance lesson at 7:00 p.m. with Kirk and Erin, followed with music by DJ Alexis until 9:30 p.m.  Salsa at 9:30 p.m.

303 South Main Street
Memphis, TN 38103

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The More the Merrier on TCM

As always, Turner Classic Movies has some nice, swing era classics this week, but I had to mention The More the Merrier.  I saw it earlier this year, and it is a charming, feel good comedy.  It has Jean Arthur as cute as she can be, and Charles Coburn in his mischevious, but good natured, old-fogey mode. 

The More the Merrier (1943) - The World War II housing shortage brings three people together for an unlikely romance.  Cast: Jean Arthur, Joel McCrea, Charles Coburn, Richard Gaines Dir: George Stevens BW-104 mins, TV-G

Monday, December 7, 2009

"A date that will live in infamy"

Sixty-eight years ago today, Japanese planes attacked U.S. military installations in and around Pearl Harbor, Hawaii; brining the United States into World War II.  The Library of Congress American Memory site has a wide variety of information on this world-changing event, many of which are included on the Today in History page marking the date. 

Photo:  Left to right: USS West Virginia, severely damaged; USS Tennessee, damaged; and USS Arizona, sunk.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Playlist for December 2, 2009

Click HERE for the Swing Shift Shuffle playlist from last night's show.