October 17, 2013

Great shakes.

The previous post talks about the 1960s dance called "the shake," which The Supremes were instructed to do with their "buttocks under" rather than "protruding." I wanted to see some video of what this old dance really looked like, a search that was complicated by the YouTube era meme the Harlem Shake... not to be confused with the actual dance called the Harlem Shake, which goes back to 1981 and is also not the 1960s shake I'm looking for.

I amend my search to "1960s dance  the shake," and I get this old TV commercial:



Both Meade and I felt a big nostalgic twinge of recognition at the point where the pyramid-shaped packets of powder are dumped out of the plastic shaker.

And speaking of pyramids, the inventor of the dance the Harlem Shake, Al B says:
It's a drunken shake anyway, it's an alcoholic shake, but it's fantastic, everybody loves it and everybody appreciates it. And it's glowing with glory. And it's respected. But if we could mystify it, and become historian, about this Egyptian jazz... Pharaohs invented this thing, with spears, and hats, and gowns. And so, it becomes a subject of being communicative to the system and to realization. If you get my drift.... It was a drunken dance, you know, from the mummies, in the tombs. That's what the mummies used to do. They was all wrapped up and taped up. So they couldn't really move, all they could do was shake...
Yes, but how about the 1960s dance? I see "'Shake!!' - RJ & The Del Guapos - (60's dances)," but the dancers are obviously doing the twist and the pony, so this is not an authoritative depiction. And here's a video with the Sam Cooke song "Shake" — "a new dance that's going around" — but, again, somebody just threw together clips of 60s people dancing a jumble of 60s dances. But I did immensely enjoy the appearance of  the word "shake" clipped from the Great Shakes TV commercial!

So... finally, here's The Supremes, singing and dancing "The Shake" on the British TV show "Ready Steady Go" in 1965. That's kind of bad. This is much better, also on "Ready Steady Go." The year is 1966:



BONUS: The Who do a Great Shakes commercial. But those of us who followed The Who back then — I was a member of The Who Fan Club before they released their first album in the U.S. — know that The Who sold out early. It looked like this:

15 comments:

Bob Ellison said...

Who knew Scott Baio was a pop singer in 1966?

David said...

Is that That Girl in the shake commercial?

Meade said...

"But if we could mystify it, and become historian, about this Egyptian jazz... Pharaohs invented this thing[...]"

Brought to my mind Lou Christie's backup girls,The Tammys.

Tank said...

That "innocent" shake commercial is pretty sexy.

RecChief said...

that looks like the progenitor of twerking. Ahh progress.

Bob R said...

Eric Burdon holds his own with Otis Redding! Well done, Eric!

So Roger Daltrey was in the baked beans before Ann Margret?

Broomhandle said...

The Who Sell Out changed the boundaries of rock music for me. I didn't hear it until 1975 (as part of a MCA twofer) but it seemed subversive and fresh even at that late date. Probably because the mid-70's were such a rock'n'roll desert.

gadflyjohn said...

One of the dancers in the RSG credits is listed as Patricia Kerr. I looked up her name, and found this from 2009. What are the odds of Patrick and Patricia Kerr as dancers on RSG?

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/obituaries/patrick-kerr-dancer-and-choreographer-who-got-the-nations-teenagers-moving-on-ready-steady-go-1778219.html

Inga said...

Just a precursor to twerking. Fun times back then, being limber helped.

ratbrandt said...

Otis Redding live --what a treat.

CatherineM said...

Broomhandle - I had it as the two-fer too. I think it was Magic Bus and Who Sell Out. "Maryanne with the Shaky Hand." Forgot about that. All of my original albums are now gathering dust in the attic.

Stephen A. Meigs said...

The shaking in the Otis Redding clip is respectable because the dancers are older or look like they are trying to grasp some sort of intelligently sophisticated (for them) notion they may need as adults. (Shaking randomizes sperm selection, as adult females tend to want to occur.)

There are pretty girls who dance fast, and dancing fast can be about being hyper or impatient as well, but the Harlem Shake is a tasteless dance done by kids in kid spirit or as a joke that got old very quickly, whose popularity on YouTube peaked about the same time the coolness of YouTube was plummeting the fastest, what with Google's changes for the worse and most of the cool girls mainly deciding to move to instagram or to more concentrate on their tumblrs. Girls in love don't care for shaking. As a security thing or a way of practicing feelings they may have strongly as adults, shaking is okay and fun for girls--that's probably why young girls feel so safe on trampolines even though they are major injury-producers. But girls shaking thinking they are being sexy just end up being gross, mostly. I don't think it natural for a pristine non-confused girl to prefer any sex that she actually wants to be had in a shaky way, since wanting sex early is tied up with wanting intraejaculate sperm selection, which doesn't work well if there be (randomizing) shaking. Of course, hindquarter movements suggestive of sodomy make shaking more gross, but it's not unexpected, because if a girl wants while young sex involving shaking, it suggests she be screwed-up, a prostitute or drunk.

Mr. D said...

The Yardbirds did a Great Shakes ad, too.

Dan Harris said...

Pete Townsend also did a radio commercial for the United States Air Force.

Robert Cook said...

Was GREAT SHAKES a regional product? I don't remember ever seeing the product, hearing the song, or seeing any commercials for it.

I do remember INSTANT BREAKFAST, a Carnation product. They had a great "Chocolate Mint" flavor that I loved...then they discontinued that particular flavor!