WGBH Openvault

Say Brother; Vaudeville; Remembering the Savoy Cafe

Part of Say Brother.

03/21/1976

In this clip Sabby Lewis and vocalist Mae Arnette discuss the popular clubs in Boston of the 1950s and the different performers they knew. Both reminisce about the Savoy Cafe. Mae Arnette remembers the Savoy when it was on Massachusetts Avenue. Sabby Lewis recalls when the club moved from West Newton and Columbus Avenue to Massachusetts Avenue following the creation and enforcement of stringent fire rules after the Coconut Grove nightclub fire in November of 1942. In the program overall, host Tanya Hart provides a brief survey of the unique contributions African Americans have made to music, film, dance, and theater in the United States, and describes the vaudeville experience, which is the focus of the program. In an effort to recreate vaudeville shows, Say Brother arranged for in-studio performances by some of the popular entertainers of the 1920s-1950s in Boston (and elsewhere): vocalist Novella Crocket, tap dancers Willie Spencer and Winnie Brown, dancer Norman Wallace (famous for his backward dance up a wall with flip), comic/singer/dancer Bobby Underwood (performing "Mack the Knife" and "Bye Bye Blues"), the Jones Brothers (a musical group), and Sabby Lewis and Company (who accompany other program performers and perform individually). Program includes a conversation between Sabby Lewis and vocalist Mae Arnette, in which they discuss the popular clubs in Boston of the 1950s and the different performers they knew. Produced by Marita Muhammad Rivero. Directed by Conrad White.


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Series
Say Brother
Program
Vaudeville
Program Number

609

Title

Remembering the Savoy Cafe

Series Description

Say Brother is WGBH's longest running public affairs television program by, for and about African Americans, and is now known as Basic Black. Since its inception in 1968, Say Brother has featured the voices of both locally and nationally known African American artists, athletes, performers, politicians, professionals, and writers including: Muhammad Ali, Maya Angelou, Thomas Atkins, Amiri Baraka, Doris Bunte, Julian Bond, Stokely Carmichael, Louis Farrakhan, Nikki Giovanni, Odetta Gordon, Henry Hampton, Benjamin Hooks, Jesse Jackson, Hubie Jones, Mel King, Eartha Kitt, Elma Lewis, Haki Madhubuti, Wallace D. Muhammad, Charles Ogletree, Babatunde Olatunji, Byron Rushing, Owusu Sadaukai, and Sonia Sanchez. Series release date: 7/15/1968

Program Description

Host Tanya Hart provides a brief survey of the unique contributions African Americans have made to music, film, dance, and theater in the United States, and describes the vaudeville experience, which is the focus of the program. In an effort to recreate vaudeville shows, Say Brother arranged for in-studio performances by some of the popular entertainers of the 1920s-1950s in Boston (and elsewhere): vocalist Novella Crocket, tap dancers Willie Spencer and Winnie Brown, dancer Norman Wallace (famous for his backward dance up a wall with flip), comic/singer/dancer Bobby Underwood (performing "Mack the Knife" and "Bye Bye Blues"), the Jones Brothers (a musical group), and Sabby Lewis and Company (who accompany other program performers and perform individually). Program includes a conversation between Sabby Lewis and vocalist Mae Arnette, in which they discuss the popular clubs in Boston of the 1950s and the different performers they knew.

Asset Type

Clip

Media Type

Video

Subjects
Music--Performance
Hart, Tanya
Wallace, Norman
Lewis, Sabby
Spencer, Willie
African American entertainers
Crocket, Novella
African American musicians
Vaudeville--United States
Underwood, Bobby
Arnette, Mae
Jones Brothers, The (Musical group)
Brown, Winnie
Sabby Lewis and Company (Musical group)
Genres
Magazine
Topics
Race and Ethnicity
Creators
Barrow-Murray, Barbara (Associate Producer)
Jones, Vickie (Associate Producer)
Rivero, Marita (Producer)
White, Conrad (Director)
Contributors
Coleman, Vern (Audio)
Hill, Rebecca (Make Up)
Fairweather, Bill (Video)
Kane, Pat (Video)
Cross, June (Production Assistant)
Allen, Lydia (Intern)
Holden, Dick (Technical Production)
Wilson, Bob (Camera)
Hart, Tanya (Host)
Clarke, Brian (Intern)
Bundy, Kissette (Intern)
Lane, Frank (Camera)
Spooner, Dighton (Researcher)
Plausse, John (Lighting Director)
Mahard, Fran (Scenic Design)
Bordett, Bruce (Stage Manager)
Smith, Kathy (Switcher)
Kramer, Sharon (Graphic Designer)
Publication Information
WGBH Educational Foundation
Citation
Chicago: “Say Brother; Vaudeville; Remembering the Savoy Cafe,” 03/21/1976, WGBH Media Library & Archives, accessed December 6, 2016, http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_DB3F4AE622DF40BE8A0982901CA9ED33.
MLA: “Say Brother; Vaudeville; Remembering the Savoy Cafe.” 03/21/1976. WGBH Media Library & Archives. Web. December 6, 2016. <http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_DB3F4AE622DF40BE8A0982901CA9ED33>.
APA: Say Brother; Vaudeville; Remembering the Savoy Cafe. Boston, MA: WGBH Media Library & Archives. Retrieved from http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_DB3F4AE622DF40BE8A0982901CA9ED33
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