Click for large image
Busby Berkeley was born in 1895. He was a Broadway choreographer in the 1920s, but when sound came to movies, it was natural to make musicals, and when Eddie Cantor was making Whoopee in 1930, he hired Berkeley to choreograph the dance numbers. Musicals took off in 1933, and in that year alone Berkeley choreographed 42nd Street, Gold Diggers of 1933, Footlight Parade, and Roman Scandals! That same year he also got a chance to completely direct a movie, and by the late 1930s he was directing musicals and non-musicals, while still doing lots of choreography on other movies. Berkeley is likely best remembered for the elaborate overhead shots of dancers (performing dances which only made sense when viewed from above), which became his "trademark" and which was included in almost all his musicals. In his early 1930s musicals, many of the dancers wore incredibly skimpy outfits, sometimes only covered by props of one sort or another. In the late 1930s musicals became less popular, but Berkeley helped somewhat revive them with the Judy Garland/Mickey Rooney ones in the early 1940s, and with the Esther Williams ones in the early 1950s (where he staged remarkable dance-like sequences in and under the water!). He passed away in 1976 at the age of 80.
view gallery of sold items featuring Busby Berkeley