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 wevl.org. 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 tim@wevl.org. If you would like more information about the radio show, just go to the Radio Show FAQ page.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Playlist for June 30, 2010 - Independence Day Special!

The playlist for the June 30, 2010 broadcast of the Swing Shift Shuffle has just been added to the playlist filing cabinet.

Stars Giving Blood

The Hollywood stars came out to support the troops during World War II, and a Life magazine photographer captured several shots of folks like Carol Landis and Cecile B. DeMille (left) doing their part in a 1942 blood drive.  Film Noir Photos has several shots posted. 

Sunrise Serenade: Reet, Petite And Gone

This morning's Sunrise Serenade was definitely swingin':  "Reet, Petite And Gone" by Louis Jordan.  Click on the song title for the album page on emusic.  Sample clip at Disc 3, Track #25.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The Lindy Hops On

The weekly Red Hot Lindy Hop lesson and session continues this Friday night with a lesson by Kirk and Amanda, and music by Amanda.  Free admission before 7:00 p.m., and $5 at the door afterwards.  Live music later this month!


303 South Main
Memphis, TN 38103

U of M Swing every Monday in Fieldhouse Room 118 from 7:00 to 9:30 p.m.  Free taster lesson from 7:00-8:00 p.m. Topics vary from week to week and include East Coast Swing, Lindy Hop, Charleston, Blues and Balboa. All are welcome and no partner is required. Open practice from 8-9:45pm. Improve your moves during this dance time. Ask questions, come practice your swing dancing and have fun with other Memphis swing dancers!

Sunrise Serenade: How Little We Know

This morning's Sunrise Serenade was "How Little We Know" by Buddy Clark.  Click on the song title for the
album page on emusic.  Sample clip at Disc 2, Track #12. 

Monday, June 28, 2010

Random Harvest

Classic Movies Digest has another great review of a movie starring one of my favorite actors, Ronald Coleman; specifically, Random Harvest (1942).  Coleman [star of one of my all time favorites, Lost Horizon (1937)] plays a soldier recovering in an English military hospital after being sent home from the trenches in World War I with amnesia.  Having no memory of his past life, Coleman wanders away from the hospital, where he meets a dance hall girl, Greer Garson, who falls for him, and vice versa.  Marriage and child follow.  Everything is going along swimmingly until Coleman gets hit by a car.  Physically uninjured, recovers his original memory of his past life, but loses the memory of the period during his amnesia, including that of his wife and child.  Things get more interesting.  As Classic Movies Digest noted:
Predictability is definitely not an element of Random Harvest. There are enough plot twists to make Alfred Hitchcock blush, and it is these twists and turns of fate that take this movie beyond merely a sugar coated three hankie tear jerker.

Sunrise Serenade: Sunrise Serenade!

Well, it finally happened.  This morning's Sunrise Serenade was, in fact, "Sunrise Serenade" by Glenn Miller.  Click on the song title to listen courtesy of Jazz On Line

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Hector's Hectic Life

This cartoon is another variation on a standard theme from the era.  The family pet is on its last chance.  Any more noise, messes, trouble, etc., and out it goes.  Then a cute little animal, or trio of animals in this case, show up to cause havoc.  The family pet struggles to protect the newcomer, while taking the blame for its damage.  Warner Bros did it.  MGM did it.  Here, from the Internet Archive, is Famous Studios' version:  Hector's Hectic Life.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Wartime Hot Rodders Streamline A Jeep

Even today, in the time of rounded SUV's and crossovers, the words "streamlined" and "Jeep" seem incongruous.  The Hemmings blog posted an item about some members of the 478th Air Service Squadron in 1945 who decided to provide their standard issue "General Purpose" vehicle (the term "Jeep" came from the abbreviation "GP") with some aerodynamic improvements.  Quoting the 1945 Popular Mechanics article that provided the photo, Hemmings said: 
“They made a racer type body from the cowling of a C-46 engine, fashioned fenders out of emergency gas tanks and wound up with a speedy little runabout,” the article stated. Details, of course, were sparse, indicating only that the 478th was stationed in the Philippines at the time.

Sunrise Serenade: Nagasaki

This morning's Sunrise Serenade took me on a trip to the Orient with "Nagasaki" by Valaida Snow.  Click on the song title to listen courtesy of Jazz On Line

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Are You An "Ickie" Or Really "Alreet"?

Now you're talkin!  The Boat Lullabies posted a scan of a few pages from The Slanguage Dictionary of American Slang from 1944.  With this helpful little tome handy, you need never worry about being a "drip."

Sunrise Serenade: Mad For A Pad

This morning's Sunrise Serenade was "Mad For A Pad" by Anita O'Day with Stan Kenton and his Orchestra.  Click on the song title for the album page on emusic.  Sample clip at Track #21.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Playlist For June 23, 2010

The playlist for the June 23, 2010 broadcast of the Swing Shift Shuffle has just been added to the playlist filing cabinet.

Around The World Record

On June 23, 1931, Wiley Post and his navigator, Harold Gatty, took off in their single engine monoplane, the Willie Mae, on their attempt to beat the record for flying around the world.  They succeeded by returning their starting point on July 1, after 8 days, 15 hours and 51 minutes.  The previous speed record was set by the dirigible, Graf Zeppelin, in 1929 with a time of 21 days.  Post and Gatty were the first to set the record in a fixed wing aircraft.

The People History also notes that Lena Horne recorded the "St. Louis Blues" on this date in 1941.

Sunrise Serenade: Gotta Go Places And Do Things

Cab Calloway was on the move in this morning's Sunrise Serenade:  "Gotta Go Places And Do Things."  Click on the song title to listen courtesy of Jazz On Line.   

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Live Music At The Lindy Hop (And Elsewhere)

Jayna Morgan & the Sazerac Sunrise Jazz Band return to the Rumba Room to provide live music for your dancing pleasure at Friday's Red Hot Lindy Hop lesson and session.  The lesson by Kirk and Tamar starts at 7:00 p.m., and the band plays from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m.  There is a $7.00 band cover.  You can hear some of Jayna's recordings on her MySpace page.

Dress like you are going out!

303 South Main
Memphis, TN 38103

U of M Swing every Monday in Fieldhouse Room 118 from 7:00 to 9:30 p.m.  Free taster lesson from 7:00-8:00 p.m. Topics vary from week to week and include East Coast Swing, Lindy Hop, Charleston, Blues and Balboa. All are welcome and no partner is required. Open practice from 8-9:45pm. Improve your moves during this dance time. Ask questions, come practice your swing dancing and have fun with other Memphis swing dancers!

Jayna and the Band will also be playing the following venues this week:

Thursday, June 24 - The Cove, 2559 Broad Avenue at 9:30 p.m. - $5
Saturday, June 26 - King's Palace on Beale at 7:00 p.m. - Free
Sunday, June 27 - Neil's, 1835 Madison at 7:00 p.m. - $5

Sunrise Serenade: Boogie Woogie Stomp

This morning's Sunrise Serenade had an uptempo groove.  It was "Boogie Woogie Stomp" by Albert Ammons.  Click on the song title to listen courtesy of Jazz On Line.

Monday, June 21, 2010

The Birth Of The LP

On June 19, 1948, Columbia Records unveiled its 33 1/3 rpm "LP" record, the first long playing phonograph record to actually be successful after other record companies failed in their earlier attempts.  Prior to the LP, the most prevalent format was the 78 rpm disc, which held only 4 minutes of music per side.  That limitation is why most recordings from the swing era are less than 4 minutes.  With the LP, music fans could listen uninterrupted for up to 25 minutes each side.

Sunrise Serenade: Walk In Jerusalem, Just Like John

In a hymnbook, this morning's Sunrise Serenade might be titled "I Want To Be Ready," but the Golden Gate Quartet perform it as "Walk In Jerusalem, Just Like John."  Click on the song title for the album page on emusic.  Sample clip at Track #9

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Betty Boop: Chess Nuts

The early Betty Boop cartoons always seem a bit weird by today's standards, but this one features a Lewis Carroll-like twist in that, like Through The Looking Glass, it revolves around a game of chess.  From the Internet Archive, here is the 1932 animated short, Chess Nuts

Friday, June 18, 2010

Matinee At The Bijou Online

When I was just reaching my teens, I happened across a TV show on PBS called Matinee At The Bijou.  This show recreated an afternoon at the movies from the 1930s, complete with cartoon, serial and main feature.  I clearly remember sitting at my grandmother's house watching Laurel and Hardy in Saps At Sea on her console TV.  Occasionally, I have sinced wondered what happened to that show.

This morning, while clicking through some blogs, I discovered that Matinee At The Bijou has a new home online as a blog, with links to a viarety of old movie, cartoon and serial resources.  The blogger is not exactly prolific, but there is definitely enough material to make me smile, including this video showing part of the original TV show opening theme, sung by Rudy Vallee no less. 

Sunrise Serenade: Air Conditioned Jungle

This morning's Sunrise Serenade was "Air Conditioned Jungle" by Duke Ellington.  Click on the song title for the album page on emusic.  Sample clip at Disc 1, Track #8.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Homemade, Human-Powered, Amphibious Transport

Over at Modern Mechanix appears this nice little item from 1947 about an enterprising Englishman and his home-built, pedal-powered amphibious vehicle.

Sunrise Serenade: On The Alamo

This morning's Sunrise Serenade was "On The Alamo" by the Four Vagabonds.  Click on the song title for the album page on emusic.  Sample clip at Track #6.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Playlist For June 16, 2010

The playlist for the June 16, 2010 broadcast of the Swing Shift Shuffle has just been added to the playlist filing cabinet.

Cary Grant At Orpheum Summer Movies

If you are a Cary Grant fan, you are in luck this week during the Orpheum Summer Movies series.  Tomorrow night, Grant, Katherine Hepburn, and James Stewart engage in class warfare in The Philadelphia Story.  On Friday, Grant and Eva Marie Saint hang around Mt. Rushmore (literally) in Hitchcock's North By Northwest.  I like Cary Grant, but for me, Jimmy Stewart steals the show in The Philadelphia Story.  My funniest moment?  When Stewart responds to an awkward question from Hepburn about marriage with the stunned query:  "Can she be human?"

Sunrise Serenade: F.D.R. Jones

Today's Sunrise Serenade was "F.D.R. Jones" by Judy Garland.  Click on the song title for the album page on emusic.  Sample clip at Track #2.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Lindy Hop Friday And Live Music Next Week

The regular Red Hot Lindy Hop lesson and session continues this Friday night with a lesson by Mike and Jeska, and music by Jeska.  Free admission before 7:00 p.m., and $5 at the door afterwards.  Live music later this month!


303 South Main
Memphis, TN 38103

U of M Swing every Monday in Fieldhouse Room 118 from 7:00 to 9:30 p.m.  Free taster lesson from 7:00-8:00 p.m. Topics vary from week to week and include East Coast Swing, Lindy Hop, Charleston, Blues and Balboa. All are welcome and no partner is required. Open practice from 8-9:45pm. Improve your moves during this dance time. Ask questions, come practice your swing dancing and have fun with other Memphis swing dancers! 

Next week, Jayna Morgan & the Sazerac Sunrise Jazz Band return to the Rumba Room to provide some live music for your dancing pleasure.  Listen to the music on her MySpace page.

Sunrise Serenade: Moanin' Low

This morning's Sunrise Serenade was "Moanin' Low" by Lena Horne.  Click on the song title for the album page on emusic.  Sample clip at Track #12. 

Monday, June 14, 2010

Happy Flag Day!


In August 1949, the U.S. Congress established June 14 as Flag Day, which commemorates the adoption of the official flag of the United States of America by the Continental Congress in 1777.  You might find it interesting to take a look at the U.S. Flag Code, which does not impose any civil or criminal penalties, but does give guidelines for the respectful display of the flag.  In the Flag Code, you will find that many of the most common places you will see a U.S. flag, especially around patriotic holidays, are in fact, disrespectful.  For example, from 36 U.S.C. Section 176:
(d) The flag should never be used as wearing apparel, bedding, or drapery. It should never be festooned, drawn back, nor up, in folds, but always allowed to fall free. Bunting of blue, white, and red, always arranged with the blue above, the white in the middle, and the red below, should be used for covering a speaker's desk, draping the front of the platform, and for decoration in general. . . .

(g) The flag should never have placed upon it, nor on any part of it, nor attached to it any mark, insignia, letter, word, figure, design, picture, or drawing of any nature. . . .

(i) The flag should never be used for advertising purposes in any manner whatsoever. It should not be embroidered on such articles as cushions or handkerchiefs and the like, printed or otherwise impressed on paper napkins or boxes or anything that is designed for temporary use and discard. Advertising signs should not be fastened to a staff or halyard from which the flag is flown. . . .  

Sunrise Serenade: Small Fry

Apparently continuing a theme set by Saturday's cartoon post, today's Sunrise Serenade was "Small Fry" by Bing Crosby, backed by Tommy Dorsey and his Orchestra.  Click on the song title to listen courtesy of Jazz On Line.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Small Fry

Taking its title and background music from the song of the same name, this cartoon features a fish that does not want to school.  From the Internet Archive, Fleischer Studio's 1939 animated short, Small Fry.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Orpheum Summer Movie Series

The Orpheum Theatre's Summer Movie Series begins this weekend.  In addition to more contemporary films, there will be a number of classics, including The Philadelphia Story, North by Northwest, The Wizard of Oz, and Casablanca.  Although the series opens tonight with the relatively modern Ferris Bueller's Day Off, the real, classic big screen movie category begins tomorrow night with Gone With The Wind.

Sunrise Serenade: All Over Nothing At All

This morning's Sunrise Serenade was "All Over Nothing At All" by Ella Fitzgerald.  Click on the song title to listen courtesy of Jazz On Line.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

The Gypsy Hombres At Otherlands Saturday Night!

Peter Hyrka and the Gypsy Hombres return to Otherlands Coffee Bar on Saturday, June 12, 2010, starting at 8:00 p.m.  Cover is $10, and in my humble opinion, very well worth it.  Below is a sample of the heptitude you can experience. 

Sunrise Serenade: I Can't Believe That You're In Love With Me

Today's Sunrise Serenade was "I Can't Believe That You're In Love With Me," by Chattanooga's own Valaida Snow.  Click on the song title for the CD page on Amazon.  Sample clip on Disc 2, Track #9.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Playlist For June 9, 2010

The playlist for the June 9, 2010 broadcast of the Swing Shift Shuffle has just been added to the playlist filing cabinet.

Donald Duck Debut

Of all the Disney characters, Donald Duck is one of my favorites.  As noted by The People History, he made his film debut on June 9, 1934 in Walt Disney's The Wise Little Hen

Sunrise Serenade: Ko Ko

This morning's Sunrise Serenade was "Ko Ko" by Duke Ellington.  Click on the song title to listen courtesy of Jazz On Line.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Beat The Heat With A Cool Lindy Hop

The Red Hot Lindy Hop lesson and session continues its weekly schedule this Friday night with a lesson by Matthew and Amanda, and music by Amanda.  Free admission before 7:00 p.m., and $5 at the door afterwards.  Live music later this month!


303 South Main
Memphis, TN 38103

U of M Swing every Monday in Fieldhouse Room 118 from 7:00 to 9:30 p.m.  Free taster lesson from 7:00-8:00 p.m. Topics vary from week to week and include East Coast Swing, Lindy Hop, Charleston, Blues and Balboa. All are welcome and no partner is required. Open practice from 8-9:45pm. Improve your moves during this dance time. Ask questions, come practice your swing dancing and have fun with other Memphis swing dancers!

Sunrise Serenade: Benny Rides Again

This morning's Sunrise Serenade was "Benny Rides Again" by (who else but) Benny Goodman.  Click on the song title to listen courtesy of Jazz On Line.

Monday, June 7, 2010

The Mark Of Zorro (1940)

A grand "Ole!" to Classic Movies Digest, which did a great article on one of my favorite movies of all time, The Mark of Zorro (1940), starring Tyrone Power, Linda Darnell, Basil Rathbone and Gale Sondergaard.  I particularly appreciate the recognition of both Rathbone and Power as accomplished fencers. 
According to the incomparable Basil Rathbone, who was a skilled swordsman in his own right, “Power was the most agile man with a sword I’ve ever faced before the camera. Tyrone could have fenced Errol Flynn into a cocked hat.”

Sunrise Serenade: Judy

Today's Sunrise Serenade was "Judy" by Hoagy Carmichael.  Click on the song title for the album page on emusic.  Sample clip at Track #20.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Popeye: It's The Natural Thing To Do

Popeye, Bluto and Olive Oyl try to comply with orders to "cut out the rough stuff" in this possible response to the Hays code restrictions on violence.  The quality is not the best, but it is worth the watch.  From the Internet ArchiveIt's The Natural Thing To Do

Friday, June 4, 2010

Tunnel Builders Of 1934

It is hard to imagine the challenges, both technical and dangerous, that faced the workmen who dug the underground traffic tunnels in New York in the 1930's.  Modern Mechanix gives you a look into that world with its post of the 1934 article Buried Alive with the Tunnel Builders.

Sunrise Serenade: Pray For The Lights To Go Out

The Golden Gate Quartet returned for this morning's Sunrise Serenade with "Pray For The Lights To Go Out."  Click on the song title for the album page on emusic.  Sample clip at Track #12.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Fast and Furry-ous

I used to associate the Road Runner with the 1960's, but as Chuck Redux noted, Chuck Jones directed his first Road Runner & Wile E. Coyote cartoon Fast and Furry-ous in 1949.  The site posted this original model sheet from the short.

Sunrise Serenade: Special Delivery Stomp

I like it when musicians incorporate instruments that seem otherwise outside their genre.  Today's Sunrise Serenade was an example:  "Special Delivery Stomp" by Artie Shaw, featuring that bastion of swing band instruments, the harpsicord.  Click on the song title to listen courtesy of Jazz On Line.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Playlist For June 2, 2010

The playlist for the June 2, 2010 broadcast of the Swing Shift Shuffle has just been added to the playlist filing cabinet.

Launch The Summer With A Lindy

The weekly Red Hot Lindy Hop lesson and session continues this Friday night with a lesson by Jaredan and Michelle, and music by Jaredan.  Free admission before 7:00 p.m., and $5 at the door afterwards. 


303 South Main
Memphis, TN 38103

U of M Swing every Monday in Fieldhouse Room 118 from 7:00 to 9:30 p.m.  Free taster lesson from 7:00-8:00 p.m. Topics vary from week to week and include East Coast Swing, Lindy Hop, Charleston, Blues and Balboa. All are welcome and no partner is required. Open practice from 8-9:45pm. Improve your moves during this dance time. Ask questions, come practice your swing dancing and have fun with other Memphis swing dancers!

Sunrise Serenade: Why Doesn't Somebody Tell Me These Things

This morning's Sunrise Serenade was "Why Doesn't Somebody Tell Me These Things" by Glenn Miller and his Orchestra, with Marion Hutton on vocals.  Click on the song title for the album page on emusic.  Sample track at Disc 2, Track #3.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Look! Up In The Sky!

"It's a bird!  It's a plane!  No!  It's Superman!"  On June 1, 1938, as noted by The People History, readers got their first sight of the Man of Steel in Action Comics Issue No. 1.  This strange being from the planet Krypton has been around ever since, fighting for truth, justice and the American way.

Sunrise Serenade: Don't Sit Under The Apple Tree

Today's Sunrise Serenade was "Don't Sit Under The Apple Tree (With Anyone Else But Me)" by Glenn Miller and his Orchestra.  Click on the song title to listen courtesy of Jazz On Line