“Diamond Horseshoe Takes a Look At the Future and Finds It Gay”

“Take It Slow and Easy,” Billy Banks’ Rhythmakers, Henry Allen, Pee-Wee Russell, Jow Sullivan, Eddie Condon, Jack Bland, Al Morgan, Zutty Singleton, Billy Banks, 1939

“The can-can girls in the When Paris is Paree Again number of the new show at Billy Rose’s Diamond Horseshoe.”
PM, May 31, 1943, p. 26 (Photo by Weegee)

Billy Rose Retreats Into the Future

By Louis Kronenberger

Having purveyed nostalgia and Gay-Ninetyish frou-frou at the Diamond Horseshoe for several years, Billy Rise about-faced Saturday night and marched into the future…

In its waltzier and wigglier moments, Post-War Preview has the oomph and sheen of Diamond Horseshoe entertainment at its brightest. The girls, as usual, are a splendid group. When the show goes in for a Victory Ball, offering four extremely fat ladies as “The Four Freedoms,” there is rather less to be said of it. Nor is there much to be said of the singing and dancing. There are other short specialties, of which some female contortionists and a dancer who lifts a pile of tables and chairs with his teeth are the most noteworthy.

Whatever its shortcomings, the thing has pace, color, and looks. At Diamond Horseshoe prices, it’s a good buy.

“YES SUH!,” Billy Banks & The Rhythmakers; Henry Allen; “Fats” Waller; Jimmy Lord; Pee-Wee Russell; Eddie Condon; Jack Bland; Al Morgan; Zutie Singleton; Billy Banks

Billy Rose’s new show in the late spring of 1943, at his Times Square Diamond Horseshoe venue, was called “Post-War Preview,” (“The Musical Shape of Things to Come”).

Weegee, the social documentarian, cannily captured the can-can girls…

“Post-War Preview” was in four or five parts: “The Night of Unconditional Surrender,” a post-war Broadway; “When Paris is Paree Again,” a post-war Paris; a post-war Vienna; the fourth part featured a post-war poet, Bob Hall; and the final “The Victory Ball” (in Washington) featured performers wearing masks of FDR, Churchill, Chiang Kai-shek, and Stalin, and an international cast.

It was a wildly successful, and well-reviewed, musical revue that played for over 10 months. Performances were at 8 PM and 12 AM; dinner from $3.50, (same buying power as $53.41 in April 2021).

“I’D DO ANYTHING FOR YOU (Haré cualquier cosa por ti)”, Rhythmakers; Billy Banks; Hill; Williams; Hopkins, 1932

Some of the performers included: Three Ross Sisters, Bob Hall, Herman Hyde, Billy Banks (died in Tokyo in 1967), Rosalie Grant, Vivien Fay, Four Rosebuds, Vincent Travers, and significantly Bobby Davis, (tap dances and “Puts one table on top of another and several chairs on top of the tables, leans down, takes a bite of the tables and lifts them up above his head with his teeth.” Brooklyn Eagle, June 1, 1943)

“A Message From the Man in the Moon,” Vincent Travers and His Orchestra; Buddy Blaisdell; Kahn; Jurmann, 1937

…There were no glasses, of course, on any of the girls last night. They are beautifully costumed in pink, blue and other colors, and Billy Rose told me that there wasn’t a single costume that cost him less than $360, which is considerable when you consider the amount of the gals that isn’t covered.

A radio announcer’s staccato voice starts the ‘Post-War Preview.”It is the Night of Unconditional Surrender and the announcer says that crowds in New York are dancing in the streets, 50,000 lights are aglow, and people are tearing up their ration cards into confetti… (The New York Post, June 1, 1943.)

The New York Post, May 28, 1943

“Tomorrow Is Another Day,” Vincent Travers and His Orchestra; Buddy Blaisdell; Kahn; Jurmann, 1937

Comments are closed.