Originally released in 1947 as "Jitterumba" and then subsequently re-released by Castle Films in 1949 as "Melody Masters #5", this short features Desi Arnaz (misspelled in the credits as "Arnez"!) explaining all about the rhumba. Arnaz is joined by Judy Clark and an obscure songstress named Dulcina, presenting "Taboo", "El Cumbanchero", "Boteando", "Managua Nicaragua" and "I'll Take the Rhumba."
The film gives a fairly good idea of what Arnaz and his orchestra were like as a nightclub act, and showcases Arnaz' engaging on-stage presence and breezy demeanor. (At 6:05, while introducing Dulcina, Arnaz takes a nice dig at his old boss, the famed Xavier Cugat, and he does a series of charming pronunciation fumbles including at 12:35 calling the "Lindy Hop" the "hoop". )
Incidentally, Arnaz' act is what is known as ballroom rumba or rhumba, which should be distinguished from traditional Cuban "rumba" (spelled without the h). Rhumba combined ballroom music and big band sounds with Afro-Cuban rhythms including conga, rumba and son cubano.
Desi Arnaz, was a Cuban-American actor, musician, bandleader, comedian and film and television producer, revolutionary in the creation of modern television. He is best known for his role as Ricky Ricardo on the American television sitcom I Love Lucy, in which he co-starred with his then-wife Lucille Ball. (Note: At the time the short was made, Arnaz was married to Lucille Ball, but of course she does not appear in it.)
Judy Clark's work as a singer included performing with Jimmy McHugh's Hollywood Singing Stars. She also danced and sang in the stage musical Lend an Ear at the Las Palmas Theater. Altogether she appeared in over two dozen films and several television productions.
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