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NEXT WEEK: The 1947 HMB!

The 1947 HMB introduces some incredible dancers that will shape the future of Lindy Hop. Dancers we should all know the names of. (We'll get back to 1946 later.)

The 1945 Harvest Moon Ball

October 14, 2021
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Venmo: @bobbyswungover

This is part of the Harvest Moon Ball essay series. To see all the Harvest Moon Ball essays, please visit Swungover’s HMB page.

(Limited footage for this year)

So far, the only footage of the 1945 HMB we have seen is of the servicemen’s division.

Victory & Dancing

In April of 1945, the man most responsible for the death of millions of Jewish people, LGBTQ+ folks, political activists, Europian civilians, and both Allied and Axis soldiers, put a pistol to his head and took one last life. After Adolf Hitler’s death, it was only a few days before Germany surrendered. Though war in the Pacific would rage until September, America allowed itself to begin celebrating. The theme of the 1945 Harvest Moon Ball was “Victory.”

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The 1944 Harvest Moon Ball

September 30, 2021

Venmo: @bobbyswungover

This is part of the Harvest Moon Ball essay series. To see all the Harvest Moon Ball essays, please visit Swungover’s HMB page.

No footage for this year

So far, we have not seen footage of the 1944 Harvest Moon Ball. We assume there is some out there in newsreel archives, but until it becomes available, enjoy this brief essay on the year’s HMB.

Delimmas & Dancing

In 1944, an interesting study was published by the Carnegie Institute of New York. You see, seven years earlier, around the time Gladys Crowder & Eddie “Shorty” Davis were winning the 1937 Harvest Moon Ball, the institute had desired to study race in America, and felt they needed an outside opinion; so they hired Swedish sociologist Gunnar Mydral to lead the project. Mydral was aided by head researcher, and all-around incredible Black American scholar, Ralph Bunche.

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The 1943 Harvest Moon Ball

September 7, 2021
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Venmo: @bobbyswungover

This is part of the Harvest Moon Ball essay series. This is the shorter snack-sized version. For a more in- depth look at the HMB and Harlem at this time, check out the Geek Out version here. To see all the Harvest Moon Ball essays, please visit Swungover’s HMB page.

A Strange Year

1943 was a strange year for the HMB coverage. There were hardly any pictures of dancing from the ball, and none that we could find of the Savoy dancers, who usually had at least two or three every year. We also don’t have a program with the number listings for this year currently — but, it wouldn’t matter much if we did, because the couple 1943 newsreels we’ve found show only three couples of Harlem dancers and one hard-to-make-out number tag. It doesn’t help that, to our knowledge, none of the Harlem finalists except one are seen in any other footage or mentioned in dance history. So, needless to say, until we get more footage, or more information, this year’s IDs are going to remain quite a mystery. There’s still a few seconds of great Lindy to see, though.

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The 1943 Harvest Moon Ball (GEEK OUT)

September 7, 2021

Venmo: @bobbyswungover

This is part of the Harvest Moon Ball essay series. This is the longer Geek Out version with a more in-depth look at the HMB and Harlem at this time. For the shorter, snack-sized version, click hereTo see all the Harvest Moon Ball essays, please visit Swungover’s HMB page.

A Strange Year

1943 was a strange year for the HMB coverage. There were hardly any pictures of dancing from the ball, and none that we could find of the Savoy dancers, who usually had at least two or three every year. We also don’t have a program with the number listings for this year currently — but, it wouldn’t matter much if we did, because the couple 1943 newsreels we’ve found show only three couples of Harlem dancers and one hard-to-make-out number tag. It doesn’t help that, to our knowledge, none of the Harlem finalists except one are seen in any other footage or mentioned in dance history. So, needless to say, until we get more footage, or more information, this year’s IDs are going to remain quite a mystery. There’s still a few seconds of great Lindy to see, though. So there’s that.

Read more…

The 1942 Harvest Moon Ball

June 16, 2021
3-dollar-donate-1

Venmo: @bobbyswungover

This is part of the Harvest Moon Ball essay series. To see all the Harvest Moon Ball essays, please visit Swungover’s HMB page.

WAIT A MOMENT, WHAT HAPPENED TO THE 1941 HARVEST MOON BALL ESSAY?!?!

We are skipping over the 1941 HMB at the moment because, well, it’s having a real identity crises. Out of the 20 years of videos we have, 1941 has so far been by far the hardest to nail down the IDs for, and we’ve decided it’s best if we wait on that one. Ideally, we will be able to get our hands on one of the programs for that year, which would help a lot. If you know of one of those, or have one of those, please let us know! (All we need is a picture of the finalists’ names and numbers listing.)

*** NO FOOTAGE OF THIS YEAR’S HMB ***

UPDATE 9/15/21: Footage found! We have added the ID video. HUGE THANKS to Eric Esquivel for finding the footage!!!

We want to break the news before we get further — we have never seen footage of the 1942 Harvest Moon Ball in all of the archives we have searched. (This is also the same for 1944.) It seems strange there wouldn’t be any, because with only these two exceptions, the Harvest Moon Ball and its Jazz Dancing specifically were shown in newsreels every year from 1935 to 1956. So, we expect it’s perhaps out there somewhere, and we just haven’t found it yet, or there were extenuating circumstances. Those circumstances might be the fact that World War II had just begun, and the news companies prioritized other things. That’s just conjecture on our part. We would not be surprised if the 1942 footage were out there somewhere. We will keep searching. If you have seen 1942 footage (or 1944) please let us know!

Meanwhile, enjoy the pictures, the history, and a few fun discoveries. Also the length. Enjoy the short length.

Wars & Dancing

1942 was the first Harvest Moon Ball that would happen while America was at war. The most obvious way it affected the contest was the announcement of a “servicemen’s division” for each dance, including Jitterbug. But let’s see if it will have any other affects on the event over the next five years. The servicemen’s division allowed for any allied serviceman, be they amateur or professional. The profits of the ball would go to the USO.

On a more pleasant note, it appears Harlem held a Harvest Moon Ball for little kids as part of a (cough) 4-hour long performance by children of Harlem. Willie Bryant hosted:

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