Helen Mitchell c.1921
Born Helen McRuer in Missouri, Helen Mitchell began her career in various Vaudeville productions in the 1920s, including Shuffle Along in 1921. She was best known for her film roles as Mrs. Ward in “Unmasked” (1929) and as Dona Maria “Zorro’s Fighting Legion” (1939). (bio by: John “J-Cat” Griffith)
Helen Mitchell in the Broadway musical “Shuffle Along” (1921)
Adelaide Hall jazz singer and entertainer, was born in Brooklyn, New York. A self-taught tap dancer, Hall began her long and eventful stage career in Broadway musical 'Shuffle Along' (1921).
She worked with Duke Ellington recorded one of the first scat vocal in jazz on Ellington’s 'Creole Love Call' in 1927. In 1928 she co-starred with Bill ‘Bojangles’ Robinson in Blackbirds of 1928, Broadway’s longest-running black-cast revue. In the show Adelaide introduced the classic song ‘I Can’t Give You Anything But Love’.
In the 1930s Hall headlined at New York’s famous Cotton Club and opened a nightclubs in Paris and London. She remained in London during WW2, between 1939 and 1945 she made over seventy recordings for Decca. After her nightclub was bombed during the London Blitz, Hall spent the remainder of the war broadcasting for the BBC and entertaining troops.
Adelaide’s 1947 performance in "Variety in Sepia" is the earliest surviving BBC television recording.
Chorus girls from Eubie Blake’s Shuffle Along. credited as being the first all Black musical on Broadway.