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

Friday, July 31, 2009

Swing Me, Gate!

Since the weekly Red Hot Lindy Hop session is taking a break tonight, here is a glimpse of how they did it the first time around. From the American Memory collection "America from the Great Depression to World War II," Jitterbuggers at the Elks Club in Washington, D.C. in 1943.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Playlist for July 29, 2009

Click HERE for the Swing Shift Shuffle playlist from last night's show.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Classic Comics

In my continuing exploration of the vast information universe that is the Internet Archive, I have only just recently entered the Texts area. Among the unbelievable variety of scanned texts, I found a number of comic books, ranging from "Golden Age" commercial titles including Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen, Red Ryder, Roy Rogers, Tarzan, and Zorro to comic publications by the U.S. Government and religious organizations. The commercial comics include all the advertising for those must have items (like X-Ray glasses). You need to download CDisplay to view them, but it is a quick, easy and free download. They are not all in one designated comic book collection, so just search the Text area for "comic book."

Special Lindy Hop Events

Red Hot Lindy Hop is taking a break from their regular Friday session this week , but they will be back next week, August 7. In the meantime, they have some other events in which you may be interested.

Performance Team Tryouts
August 5th, 7:30-9:00pm
Fieldhouse room 118
All are Welcome!!
Questions: Ask Amanda at RedHotLindyHop dot com

Save the Date.....August 15th, 11am-1pm
Open/Guided Practice hosted by Jaredan
RSVP Jaredan at RedHotLIndyHop dot com to reserve your spot

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Variety of Classics on TCM

I noticed a nice variety on Turner Classic Movies later this week. I have not seen Fashions of 1934, but anything with William Powell ("Nick Charles" of the Thin Man movies) is definitely worth a look. Alfred Hitchcock and Scarlett O'Hara also rub shoulders on Thursday with Spellbound and Gone with the Wind. Bogie and Bacall do their thing in Dark Passage on Friday, with Cary Grant and Myrna Loy offering a lighter mood afterwards in Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House.

All Times Central (Daylight Saving Time)

Thursday, July 30
12:00 AM - Fashions Of 1934 (1934) - A con artist and his beautiful assistant take on the fashion world. Cast: William Powell, Bette Davis, Verree Teasdale. Dir: William Dieterle. BW-78 mins, TV-G

5:00 PM - Spellbound (1945) - A psychiatrist tries to help the man she loves solve a murder buried in his subconscious. Cast: Ingrid Bergman, Gregory Peck, Michael Chekhov. Dir: Alfred Hitchcock. BW-111 mins, TV-PG, CC

7:00 PM - Gone With the Wind (1939) - Classic tale of Scarlett O'Hara's battle to save her beloved Tara and find love during the Civil War. Cast: Clark Gable, Vivien Leigh, Olivia de Havilland. Dir: Victor Fleming. C-233 mins, TV-PG, CC, DVS

Friday, July 31
1:00 PM - Dark Passage (1947) - A man falsely accused of his wife's murder escapes to search for the real killer. Cast: Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, Agnes Moorehead. Dir: Delmer Daves. BW-106 mins, TV-PG, CC, DVS

3:00 PM - Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House (1948) - A New York businessman's dream of a country home is shattered when he buys a tumbledown rural shack. Cast: Cary Grant, Myrna Loy, Melvyn Douglas. Dir: H.C. Potter. BW-94 mins, TV-G, CC, DVS

Monday, July 27, 2009

Another Day in the WPA

Another interesting collection in the Library of Congress American Memory catalog is Posters from the WPA 1936-1943. This collection features 900 posters created by Work Projects Administration artists on a variety of topics ranging from the arts to safety to wartime policies. As many of us return to work today, a safety reminder is just as valid now as it was then.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

A Hep Cat and Longhair Mice

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and there are definite hints of certain Tom & Jerry (MGM) and Bugs Bunny (Warner Bros.) cartoons in this animated 1949 Paramount Pictures short from the Internet Archive.

Friday, July 24, 2009

More Vintage Designs

From one of my favorite blogs, Make:, here is an item about another website featuring some unusual vintage invention designs, as well as more current ideas. According to Make:, RexResearch is "chock-full of info about wacky inventions that never made it, including a bunch of free-energy quackery and pseudoscience that's still a lot of fun if you take it with a grain of salt." Of particular interest is this collection of innovative boat designs from the 1930s-40s.

Topper and Tarzan on TCM

Two classic movies that generated multiple movie and TV sequels air on Turner Classic Movies Sunday and Monday. Billie Burke (the Good Witch from The Wizard of Oz) is hilarious in Topper as the title character's slightly spacy spouse, while gorgeous Maureen O'Sullivan establishes herself as the ideal Jane in Tarzan, the Ape Man.

Sunday, July 26 - 9:30 AM
Topper (1937) - A fun-loving couple returns from the dead to help a henpecked husband. Cast: Cary Grant, Constance Bennett, Roland Young. Dir: Norman Z. McLeod. BW-97 mins, TV-G, CC

Monday, July 27 - 5:15 PM
Tarzan, The Ape Man (1932) - A British lord raised by apes kidnaps a beautiful noblewoman exploring Africa with her father. Cast: Johnny Weissmuller, Maureen O'Sullivan, C. Aubrey Smith. Dir: W.S. Van Dyke II. BW-100 mins, TV-G, CC, DVS

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Blues on the Bluff this Saturday Night!

Without WEVL, there would be no Swing Shift Shuffle, and a great way to support both (not to mention have a great time) is to come on down to the National Ornamental Metal Museum for our 21st Annual Blues on the Bluff®. Check it out!

Playlist for July 22, 2009

Click HERE for the Swing Shift Shuffle playlist from last night's show.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Vintage Patent Drawings

Patent Room is a site of patent drawings, mostly from the first half of the twentieth century. There are general collections of airplanes, architecture, cars, toys, trains, etc; and subcollections including gas stations, hood ornaments, ray guns, and Thomas Edison. Some of the designs made it into production, while others, like this "teardrop" automobile, remain the stuff of dreams.

Weekly Lindy Hop - Friday, July 24

If you can't sit still through Casablanca at the Orpheum Theatre, head south down Main Street to the Rumba Room for weekly Red Hot Lindy Hop dance this Friday. Doors open at 6:30 pm, with a free lesson at 7:00 pm. DJ Music until 9:30 pm, and Salsa 9:30-until ? Free before 7:00 pm; $5 at the door after 7:00pm. Dress like you're going out!

303 South Main Street
Memphis, TN 38103

This Week 07.24.09
Lesson with Amanda & Mike
Music by DJ Amanda

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Casablanca at the Orpheum - Friday, July 24

I first saw Casablanca at the Orpheum Theatre Summer Movie Series sometime in the mid-1990s. It was only then that I discovered the movie to be the source of so many classic lines referenced in other media: "Round up the usual suspects . . . Here's looking at you, kid . . . Play it, Sam . . . I'm shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here! . . . Of all the gin joints, in all the towns, in all the world, she walks into mine . . . The problems of three little people don't amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world. . . We'll always have Paris . . . This looks like the beginning of a beautiful friendship . . . " You can hear them all again this Friday as the Orpheum continues its tradition of showing Casablanca as part of the Summer Movie Series. Showtime and other information HERE.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Beale Street honors Swing Band Leader Jimmie Lunceford

I missed posting this item before it happened, but it is certainly worthy of a belated mention. One of my favorite swing-era band leaders, former Memphian and Manasas High School Band director, Jimmie Lunceford, will receive a brass note on the Beale Street Walk of Fame. There was a celebration on Beale Street yesterday to mark the occasion.

For a more detailed examination of Lunceford's Memphis connection, read The Memphis Flyer article from August 2007 about him HERE.

The Saint on Wednesday, Sherlock on Thursday

Roger Moore was not the first Simon Templar, a/k/a the "Saint." Neither was George Sanders, but he was one of the best, and starred in a series of Saint movies in the late '30s and early '40s. Sanders' cool demeanor and powerful, yet refined voice epitomized the character.

Similarly, Basil Rathbone's portrayal of Sherlock Holmes was not the most loyal to the works of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Most of his Holmes movies were set in the wrong period (1940s rather than 1880s), but he remains the iconic Sherlock Holmes.

Both are on Turner Classic Movies this week.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

10:15 AM
The Saint In New York (1938) - The Saint goes undercover to get the goods on New York's mob kingpins. Cast: Louis Hayward, Kay Sutton, Jonathan Hale. Dir: Ben Holmes. BW-72 mins, TV-G, CC

11:30 AM
The Saint Strikes Back (1939) - The Saint helps a young beauty take vengeance on the mobsters who ruined her father. Cast: George Sanders, Wendy Barrie, Barry Fitzgerald. Dir: John Farrow. BW-64 mins, TV-G, CC

12:45 PM
The Saint In London (1939) - The Saint's investigation of a counterfeiting ring uncovers a nest of spies. Cast: George Sanders, David Burns, Sally Gray. Dir: John Paddy Carstairs. BW-72 mins, TV-G, CC
2:00 PM
The Saint's Double Trouble (1940) - Reformed jewel thief Simon Templer lands in hot water when a look-alike smuggles stolen goods out of Egypt. Cast: George Sanders, Jonathan Hale, Bela Lugosi. Dir: Jack Hively. BW-67 mins, TV-G, CC
3:15 PM
The Saint Takes Over (1940) - Reformed jewel thief Simon Templar tries to help a police inspector who's been framed on bribery charges. Cast: George Sanders, Jonathan Hale, Wendy Barrie. Dir: Jack Hively. BW-70 mins, TV-G, CC

4:30 PM
The Saint In Palm Springs (1941) - Reformed jewel thief Simon Templar's efforts to deliver a fortune in rare stamps are complicated by murder. Cast: George Sanders, Wendy Barrie, Jonathan Hale. Dir: Jack Hively. BW-66 mins, TV-G, CC

5:45 PM
The Saint Meets The Tiger (1943) - The Saint infiltrates a small English village run by smugglers. Cast: Hugh Sinclair, Jean Gillie, Clifford Evans. Dir: Paul L. Stein. BW-69 mins, TV-G, CC

Thursday, July 23, 2009

2:00 AM
Sherlock Holmes and the Secret Weapon (1942) - Sherlock Holmes fights to keep a new bombsite design from the Nazis. Cast: Basil Rathbone, Nigel Bruce, Lionel Atwill. Dir: Roy William Neill. BW-68 mins, TV-G

3:15 AM
Sherlock Holmes in Terror by Night (1946) - Sherlock Holmes signs on to protect a priceless diamond from jewel thieves. Cast: Basil Rathbone, Nigel Bruce, Alan Mowbray. Dir: Roy William Neill. BW-63 mins, TV-G

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Red Hot Lindy Hop Review - Solid!

I just wanted to thank Jaredan, Heather and the other folks at the Red Hot Lindy Hop gathering last night for a great time. It was the first opportunity I had to visit the weekly RHLH event at the Rumba Room. The fact that MA and I are (at best) extremely novice dancers did not stop us from giving it a try; nor did it prevent others from taking each of us for a spin. Our apologies to all the injured toes on those with more educated feet. A nice mix of music kept the mood very lively. We will definitely be back, and I suggest any Swing Shift Shuffle fans check it out. Thanks again!

It's Superman!

Continuing with the tradition of Saturday morning cartoons, from the Internet Archive collection, here is a great 1941 animated short by Dave Fleischer featuring the Man of Steel: "Superman and the Mechanical Monsters."

Friday, July 17, 2009

Swingin' Soundies

If you think that MTV invented music videos, you are in for a little surprise known as the "Soundie." These were short films of musical performances by popular acts of the day, often featuring some dancing. Soundies were played on a coin-operated film jukebox called a "Panoram," which would often be found in bars, breakrooms, nightclubs, restaurants, etc. The Panoram used a series of mirrors to project the image, and the films were actually printed backwards (a mirror image) so they would appear correctly on the machine. As a result, archive versions of Soundies may look a little odd because they are the reverse image.

From the Internet Archive, here is a hot, little number by Thelma White and Her All-Girl Orchestra called "Hollywood Boogie."


It must have been a Friday when this picture was taken in 1943. The photograph is in the "Farm Security Administration - Office of War Information Collection," part of the Library of Congress American Memory Collections. This lady was working on a "Vengeance" dive bomber at an aircraft factory in Nashville, Tennessee. It must have been a Friday because she is smiling, which is extremely rare in this collection of photographs. It is certainly possible that these pictures were meant to portray the seriousness of the American workforce as it was building the arsenal of democracy. Nevertheless, among all those determined faces, it is a relief for me, 60+ years later, to see a smile. All of the collections in American Memory provide a very interesting window back in time.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Blues on the Bluff® - Saturday, July 25

Blues on the Bluff® is not only the summer's best party, it is the major summer fundraiser for our favorite radio station, home of the Swing Shift Shuffle, WEVL 89.9 FM. If you have never been, check out what you have been missing.

Playlist for July 15, 2009

Click here for the Swing Shift Shuffle playlist from last night's show.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Swing Dancing Friday Night

Red Hot Lindy Hop continue their weekly swing dance sessions this Friday at the Rumba Room. Doors open at 6:30 pm, with a free lesson at 7:00pm. DJ Music until 9:30 pm, and Salsa 9:30-until ? Free before 7:00 pm; $5 at the door after 7:00pm. Dress like you're going out!

Rumba Room
303 South Main Street
Memphis, TN 38103

This Week 07.17.09
Lesson with Jeska & Mike
Music by DJ Jeska

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Upcoming gems on TCM

I am an admitted fan of Turner Classic Movies for several reasons. The movies are uncut and uninterrupted. Even between the movies, the only commercials are for upcoming TCM movies, programs and products. Finally, they still show movies from the 1930s-40s. In reviewing the July schedule, I noticed several interesting items, many of which I have seen, some I know only by reputation, but all worth watching or recording. These include a nice matched set of Fred MacMurry/Barbara Stanwyck films (if you remember her only as the TV matriarch on The Big Valley, watch these to see her in a much different light); some classic 1939 Cary Grant movies; and a nice run of good, old-fashioned Dick Tracy B movies, including the last of the 1940s series featuring Boris Karloff as a great villian.

All Times Central Daylight Saving Time

Thursday, July 16, 2009
6:30 AM
Remember the Night (1940) - An assistant D.A. takes a shoplifter home with him for Christmas. Cast: Barbara Stanwyck, Fred MacMurray, Beulah Bondi. Dir: Mitchell Leisen. BW-94 mins, TV-G

8:00 AM
Double Indemnity (1944) - An insurance salesman gets seduced into plotting a client's death. Cast: Barbara Stanwyck, Fred MacMurray, Edward G. Robinson. Dir: Billy Wilder. BW-108 mins, TV-PG, CC

Friday, July 17, 2009
1:00 AM
Gunga Din (1939) - Three British soldiers seek treasure during an uprising in India. Cast: Cary Grant, Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., Victor McLaglen. Dir: George Stevens. BW-117 mins, TV-PG, CC, DVS

3:00 AM
Only Angels Have Wings (1939) - A team of flyers risks their lives to deliver the mail in a mountainous South American country. Cast: Cary Grant, Jean Arthur, Rita Hayworth. Dir: Howard Hawks. BW-121 mins, TV-PG, CC

5:15 AM
The Real Glory (1939) - A U.S. military doctor stationed in the Philippines helps the natives fight off invaders. Cast: Gary Cooper, Andrea Leeds, David Niven. Dir: Henry Hathaway. BW-97 mins, TV-G, CC

Saturday, July 18, 2009
11:00 AM
Dick Tracy (1945) - Dick is faced with a series of murders in which the victims all come from different social and economic backgrounds. Cast: Morgan Conway, Anne Jeffreys, Mike Mazurki. Dir: William A. Berke. BW-61 mins, TV-PG

12:15 PM
Dick Tracy vs. Cueball (1946) - A police detective uses his girlfriend to track down a homicidal maniac. Cast: Morgan Conway, Anne Jeffreys, Dick Wessel. Dir: Gordon Douglas. BW-62 mins, TV-PG

1:30 PM
Dick Tracy's Dilemma (1947) - Dick Tracy takes on "The Claw" in this crime thriller Cast: Ralph Byrd, Lyle Latell, Kay Christopher. Dir: John Rawlins. BW-60 mins, TV-PG

2:45 PM
Dick Tracy Meets Gruesome (1947) - Dick Tracy tracks down a bank robber using nerve gas. Cast: Boris Karloff, Ralph Byrd, Anne Gwynne. Dir: John Rawlins. BW-65 mins, TV-PG

Monday, July 13, 2009

World War II Code Breakers Honored

From via Boing Boing: As we get back to work today, it seems appropriate to recognize some people who did some amazing, important, and for a very long time, secret work. The UK government is honoring the veterans of Bletchley Park, a quiet English estate that, during World War II, was the home of British intelligence code breaking and cryptogrophy, a/k/a "Station X." Through their work, these quiet, clever folks shortened the war by over two years, and saved millions of lives. The Nazis thought the "Enigma" machine code was unbreakable (photo). Bletchley Park cracked it, and in the process, advanced technology by building one of the worlds first programmable computers.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Betty Boop & Cab Calloway

Nothing like cartoons to start a Saturday morning. From the Internet Archive, here is a great 1934 Betty Boop cartoon featuring Cab Calloway in his own, inimitable style.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Yesterday's Tomorrow Today

What do you do with a massive stack of old Modern Mechanix, Mechanics Illustrated, and other vintage magazines? You scan every issue and post them on a blog. Modern Mechanix has a great collection of scientific and do-it-yourself magazines, as well as other titles, ranging from the 1920s-1960s.

You will be amazed at the imagination, ingenuity and resourcefulness exhibited by people in their time.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

The Fabulous Dorseys on Sunday

On Turner Classic Movies, Sunday, July 12, 2009 at 11:15 a.m. (CDT) -
The Fabulous Dorseys (1947): Two bandleaders rise to the top then split up the act over sibling rivalry. Cast: Tommy Dorsey, Jimmy Dorsey, Janet Blair. Dir: Alfred E. Green. BW-89 mins, TV-G.

Red Hot Lindy Hop Tomorrow Night

Local Memphis swing dance group Red Hot Lindy Hop has their weekly gathering tomorrow night at the Rumba Room, 303 South Main in Memphis. Free swing dance lesson at 7:00 p.m., with swing dancing from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. Salsa dancing begins at 9:30 p.m.

More information about the event and RHLH HERE.

Playlist for July 8, 2009

Click HERE for the Swing Shift Shuffle playlist from last night's show.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Grand Opening!

Greetings! Welcome to the first post on the Swing Shift Shuffle blog! If you heard about it on the radio show (see sidebar), then you know the score. If you happened across it by a happy accident, then check out the sidebar and links or go to for more background information.

The best way to start is at the beginning, so here is a link to a video featuring the Raymond Scott Quintette performing one of his best known compositions, and the opening theme to the Swing Shift Shuffle: "Powerhouse." Yes, I know that swing was essentially dead by the time this April 1955 Hit Parade aired, but Raymond and company play with as much energy and spirit as when he wrote the tune in the late 1930's.

Raymond Scott Quintette - "Powerhouse"

Thanks to Carl for sending me the link, and I hope you enjoy it! Come back often, as I hope to have a wide variety of interesting, entertaining and enlightening posts related to all aspects of the swing era. If you see something you think might fit, sent it to me.

Thanks, and keep listening to WEVL!

Swing Shift Shuffle
Shift Leadman/Union Shop Steward