Thursday, October 20, 2011

"The Seven Foys" with Bob Hope and James Cagney

This is a dance routine performed by James Cagney and Bob Hope in the 1955 film "The Seven Little Foys". The Foys were a vaudeville act comprised of seven children, hence the name of the act "The Seven Foys". The children were all the off spring of Eddie Foy, a vaudeville entertainer who was noted for his generosity in dealing with other entertainers, whether it was money, a place to stay, or just someone to talk to. Eddie Foy had always been a solo act, until the day of the fire at the Iroquois Theater in Chicago,on December 30, 1903, which almost cost him his life.

At about 3:15 PM, during a matinee performance, an arc light set fire to one of the curtains, engulfing the entire stage in flames and igniting the theater as well. With panic raging all about him, Eddie Foy took the stage, attempting to calm the audience, even as pieces of burning scenery were falling all about him. In spite of these efforts by Mr. Foy, over 600 people perished in the fire. This episode is recreated in the 1955 film, which stars Bob Hope as Eddie Foy.

Eddie Foy had started out as a solo act, vowing never to "double", or become part of an "act". Boy was he wrong in his assumption. He hadn't counted on falling in love with Italian ballerina Madeleine Morando. In a short time they were married and found themselves surrounded with 7 children. After the death of Madeleine, Eddie came to realize that he had been a lousy father to his children. So, naturally, he decided to make them a part of the act. Later on, they would become the act.

When the movie of Eddie Foy's life was made, actors actually fought to be in the film, and some even worked for free. The dance routine above is of Bob Hope, as Eddie Foy, competing with fellow vaudevillian and song writer George M. Cohan, reprised by James Cagney from his earlier role in "Yankee Doodle Dandy", in a tap dance routine at the Friars Club.

For more about Eddie Foy and his family, Wikipedia, as usual, is a valuable resource. Read more about him and his children here;,_Sr.

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