Sunday, January 10, 2010

Happy Birthday, Ray Bolger!

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Today we celebrate the birth and career of Ray Bolger (January 10, 1904 – January 15, 1987), vaudevillian and song & dance man best known for his portrayal of the scarecrow in The Wizard of Oz (1939).

Bolger was out and out funny, his work full of clown moments and highly skilled physical comedy. You can read more about him on Wikipedia and IMDB, and see more clips on YouTube, but here are three to get you started.

Here's a clip of Bolger in Stage Door Canteen (1943), a World War II morale booster film that showcases his myriad talents.

And here's a cool dance from The Wizard of Oz that didn't survive the final cut — notice that you can still see the wires used to fly him. If memory serves, the first time this clip surfaced was when it was used as part of the compilation film, That's Entertainment (1974).

One more Bolger dance, which takes wings once he goes solo at the 1:10 mark.

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