Mabel Lee was called “the dancer with the million dollar legs.” She was born in 1921 and, like many others, began performing as a child. By the age of nine she was singing with a big band and by 12 she was headlining in Georgia’s first African-American owned night club. She moved to Harlem when she was 19 and was soon performing at the Apollo Theater. After the Apollo she toured London where she was hailed as “the second Florence Mills.” When she returned to the states she became known as the Queen Of Soundies because she was featured in more than 100 musical shorts. Here she is in 1943 doing the “Chicken Shack Shuffle.”
These performances are great but I really wish they could have miked the floor or added some Foley taps. I don’t imagine budgets were very high though. I also bet they didn’t think many people were tuning in to Mable Lee to hear the sound of her shoes! Isn’t it sad that we never see curvy women on film these days? Mabel Lee is absolutely beautiful! I say “is” because, in true jazz lady tradition, at 89 Mabel Lee is alive, well and still dancing!
What I wouldn’t give to shake her hand!