This post is one of a series honoring Black History Month.
Earl “Snakehips” Tucker (1905-1937), was billed as “The Human Boa Constrictor” and “The Gelatinous Dancer” on behalf of his proficiency at doing the strange dance that became his nickname. I first became aware of him from his solo turn in Benny Rubin’s 1930 film Crazy House. A Baltimore native, he started out with an outfit called the May Kemp Show, and did most of his performing at Harlem nightclubs in the 20s, although he does appear in some movie shorts in the early 30s.
Now here he is, doing his weird-ass thing, which is rather unlike anything I’ve ever seen anyone else do:
To find out more about the history of vaudeville, consult No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous, available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and wherever nutty books are sold.