Apparently, back in December of 2009, I was completely high. I watched Night Parade (1929) on TCM and blogged about it without once realizing that my best sarcastic boyfriend Oscar Levant was in the film. Again, I must assume I was high for days on end to not realize that. The worst part is that I distinctly remember seeing the pianist in a scene with Ann Pennington and thinking, “Hey, wouldn’t that be neat if it was Oscar Levant?”
Yeah. And I think it would be fun to run a newspaper. Sheesh.
The scene from Night Parade in question:
Ann Pennington is the sexy little number dancing her skirt off to the tune… also composed by Oscar. To assuage my embarrassment, I did find a very old photo of Oscar online that shows him somewhere near the year this film was made:
Oscar Levant babies! He looks 12! I never would have believed he was ever this young.
Oh and also? The bartender in Night Parade was Heinie Conklin, star of many Mack Sennett comedies.
I had no photos of Heinie Conklin in Night Parade, but if you put your eyeballs right up next to the screen, you can see a caricature of him in the upper right corner of this lobby card.
Also also, I deleted my copy of the movie months ago. Drugs! Drugs are the only explanation I have for these unforgivable oversights. I don’t remember taking drugs, but I must have. (Editor’s Note: After a decade of requesting Night Parade from TCM, they finally showed it in December of 2021, but my cable provider done me wrong and I wasn’t able to watch it. The word “disappointed” doesn’t quite cover it.)
Ann Pennington was easily the best human part of this dud of a film — the best part being the absolutely amazing balls-to-the-wall art deco set design — and her hiked-over-the-hips ostrich feather skirt was stunning. Here is Ann in a costume very similar to what she wore in Night Parade, if not the same costume, courtesy of Rantings of a Modern Day Glamour Girl:
Ann was the subject of another idiotic post of mine in March of last year when I wondered aloud why she was dancing with Krazy Kat in a series of magazine photos. The answer: It was Felix the Cat, not Krazy Kat, and Allure had the answer all along.
It’s a bad scan but the only one I could find online. I own three whole vintage magazines and this unfortunately is not one of them.
More Ann Pennington, from the Broadway play “The New Yorkers” in 1931:
Ann was known for her version of The Black Bottom dance, and while I could not find a video of a performance of that, I did find a few videos of her performing the similar “Snake Hips,” first from the 1929 film Happy Days:
This one is a lot of fun: A color home movie video of her performance of a 1920s dance called “Snake Hips” at the 1939 World’s Fair, from my good pal Jeff of the sadly defunct Vitaphone Varieties. Includes bonus (probably fake) Keystone Kops:
Can we end this post on an even higher note than vintage color footage of Ann Pennington? I submit that we can! Have a little Ziegfeld-era cheesecake:
If you think those are revealing, check out the Alfred Cheney Johnston portrait at Allure. Hot!
And now, some bonus off-topic yet sexy Carole Lombard in a revealing fashion number that looks like a combination of the Erte designs I posted in the Night Parade (1929) entry.
Thanks to Vince at Carole & Co. who identified this photo last year as being by photographer W.E. Thomas!
There you have it: The only post in the whole wide world that has managed to tie in Ann Pennington, Oscar Levant, and Carole Lombard into a semi-cohesive narrative with a bonus Heinie Conklin mention. I win everything. You can shut the internet down now.
Edited in May, 2020 to add more photos, fix links, and correct spelling errors. Updated January, 2022.