This post is one of a series honoring Black History Month.
The Four Step Brothers were a team of dancers, “brothers” in name only, with an ever shifting line-up. The original core consisted of Al Williams, Maceo Anderson, and Red Gordon, who started tapping on street corners in 1925 in order to boost newspaper sales. They picked up steps by studying the pros at Harlem’s famous Hoofers Club. They got cast in a touring revue called Moon Over Alabama and in 1927 added their fourth member Sherman Robinson. The next few years saw them playing Harlem nightclubs, tours with Duke Ellington, vaudeville (both the black circuits and mainstream big time), and presentation houses. As the decades wore on, different incarnations of the team toured with swing bands, and were seen in Hollywood films and television variety shows. Later members included Happy Johnson, Freddie James, Flash McDonald, Sunshine Sammy Morrison (the same one from Our Gang comedies) and Prince Spencer. The group finally passed from the scene in the late sixties.
Now here they are performing with Bob Hope in “Here Come the Girls”
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.