Tip, Tap, and Toe

Tip, Tap and Toe were an acrobatic African American tap dance act that started in night clubs and vaudeville in the late 1920s. Its core members were Ray Winfield (1912-1967), Sammy Green (1907-1996) and Teddy Fraser (1907-?). Green and Fraser were from rural South Carolina; Winfield was from Harlem.

Eddie Cantor had the trio as part of his act briefly at the New York Palace (vaudeville’s flagship) and they also played the massive Paramount Theatre, and appeared on Broadway in George White’s Scandals of 1936. They also appeared in the Hollywood movies By Request (1936), You Can’t Have Everything (1937), Pardon My Sarong (1942, with Abbott and Costello), All By Myself (1943), Honeymoon Lodge (1943), and Hi Good Lookin’ (1944). At times throughout their history their membership was augmented by other dancers, such as Freddie James, or Prince Spencer of the Four Step Brothers. The dancers would highlight their contrasting styles (and the sounds they made) and then work it all into a sort of percussive harmonizing climax. Winfield was considered an innovator in introducing massive amounts of sliding to the group’s routines, a technique that was much emulated by others.

To learn more about vaudeville and its veterans like Tip Tap and Toe, please see No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous.