Grew up in Little Rock, AR during the 1950s and my mother took me to see “Harlem in Havana” many times when Royal American Shows played the Arkansas Livestock Exposition and Rodeo each October.
The show was located in the same spot each year, in the very back on the right. Remember the outdoor stage (now know it’s called a bally), the box of candy that promised a prize that was never present, the dancers, the band and those long wooden plank seats. In 1957 when the Little Rock Nine integrated Central High School, I lived with my aunt just two blocks from the fairgrounds while my mother recovered from surgery. At night the lights and sounds were almost overwhelming for a small town kid.
My interest in carnivals and midways continues, usually visit 3-4 fairs each year. The NC State is among my favorites. But fairs are different today, no more dancing waters, lobster boys, Las Vegas-style production shows or 10 in 1s. Today, it’s just rides, games and food, lots of food.
Think it’s wonderful that you are producing the documentary honoring your grandfather’s accomplishments.
Please contact me if you need an interview with a person that actually saw “Harlem in Havana.” It’s a fantastic memory that will always be with me!
|Message||Clay Tyson was with us the last year that I went out with the show. Kim Gaye was a feature dancer (stripper). Butter Beans and Dixie were a wonderful addition to the show. Although I was a chorus girl and not a featured dancer, “Pops” prominently featured me in all the photos for the show. There I was on the marquee, bigger than life, with Clay Tyson, Butter Beans and Dixie, the Profiles (singing group), front and center of the line. It was very much a surprise the day we viewed the official program and there I was in the center fold. Later, Julian formed an act with myself, Mary and another dancer to work the clubs during|
|Message||My name is Delores Muldrew and I was a dancer with the Harlem Review in the 60’s. I am now 66 years of age and have very fond memories of my time “on the road” with the show. I noticed a Mary Barnes on the list of dancers and wondered if it was the same Mary Barnes that was on the road during the same years as I. Today, I am a little fuzzy on the exact years. It was around 1965,66. However, we were good friends back then. We all called Leon Claxon Sr. “Pops” and referred to that look that only he could give as “the face”. He always got the exact response he was looking for. I recall that “Pops” and Mrs. Claxon insisted I stay in their home rather than the Claxon Manor Motel. They felt I was too naïve and required a protective environment. They were both wonderful to me. Julian Swaine was the choreographer both years. Continued...|
|Message||Hello Mrs. Cunningham,|
My name is Keesha Emerson. I am writing to you in hopes you would have some more information in regards to the performers of the Brown-Skinned Dancers.
I am trying to trace my family history and stories have it that I should start here. My grandmother Elizabeth Smith of Indianapolis, was orphaned around 1930. Her mother was believed to have left to join the dance group. All I know is her mothers names on the birth certificate is Mary N. Emerson and was originally born in Kentucky. I know Mary moved to Indianapolis. There she gave birth to Elizabeth (my grandmother) in 1928.
I would like to know more information as to how the performers came to audition and join the show, other documents about the travels and more pictures.
I cant tell you how happy I am to have found the article on the dance group. It gives me a little hope that I can find out what may have happened to my great grandmother!
Thank you for any information you may have or other websites I can try, in hopes of finding Mary N. Emerson
|Message||Welcome to the new HARLEM IN HAVANA guest book. Please sign.|