History Quiz: Busby Berkeley

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1.
Busby Berkeley famously turned hundreds of dancing showgirls with whimsical props into _____ _____ _____, making cinematic history during the Great Depression.

2. Berkeley was more concerned with his chorus girls’ ability to do what, instead of their actual dancing technique?

3. How many cameras did Berkeley use to film his whirlwind production numbers?

4. What experience during his military service in World War I, coupled with his theatrical upbringing, helped shape Berkeley’s future cinematic vision and earned him the position of choreographer for nearly two dozen musicals?

5. True or False: Busby Berkeley was both a trained dancer and choreographer.

6. Name the film in which tapper Ruby Keeler becomes a star, dancing in numbers such as “Shuffle Off to Buffalo.”

7. What is significant about the “By a Waterfall” scene in the film, Footlight Parade?

8. Berkeley disagreed with a young Judy Garland and was removed as director/choreographer from Girl Crazy, but his number _____ _____ _____ remained.

9. For whom did Berkeley create the epic “Fascinatin’ Rhythm” finale for in Lady Be Good?

10. True or False: In all, Berkeley staged and directed over 100 Hollywood musicals.

 

ANSWER KEY
1. Complex human kaleidoscopes;  2. Maneuver into geometric figurines;  3. One;  4. While stationed in France and Germany, he directed military exhibitions and parades. He also served as an aerial observer with the Air Corps.;  5. False;  6. 42nd Street7. Scantily clad showgirls form a cascading human waterfall. The glass-lined pool was the largest soundstage ever built.;  8. “I Got Rhythm;”  9. Eleanor Powell;  10. False. He staged and directed over 50 Hollywood musicals.

 

Click here for the full article on Busby Berkeley.

 

Additional Resources

BOOKS:
Film Choreographers and Dance Directors,
by Larry Billman, McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers, 1997
Showstoppers: Busby Berkeley and the Tradition of Spectacle,
by Martin Rubin, Columbia University Press, 1993
The Busby Berkeley Book,
by Tony Thomas and Jim Terry, New York Graphic Society, 1973
The Genius of Busby Berkeley, by Bob Pike and Dave Martin, Creative Film Society, California, 1973
The New Biographical Dictionary of Film, by David Thomson, Knopf, 2004
FILM:
The Busby Berkeley Collection, Volume 1 (Footlight Parade/Gold Diggers of 1933/Dames/Gold Diggers of 1935/42nd Street), Warner Home Video, 2006

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