Muppet Maestros — Cab Calloway


Hilarie Mukavitz – Being introduced by the Two-Headed Monster can be a mixed blessing. The up side is they do not lack in enthusiasm. The down side is it took me years to find out what the Hi-De-Ho Man’s real name was as “CABBACALLUHWAAAAAAAAAAAAY” is a bit difficult to decipher.

Born in Rochester New York on December 25, 1907, Cab Calloway had a long career as a jazz band leader (for the Cotton Club Orchestra) and singer.  He also appeared in several films in the 1930’s and 40’s.  He had a dance step seen in those films called “The Buzz” that is thought to be the precursor to Michael Jackson’s Moonwalk. In the 1950’s he in the Broadway cast of “Porgy and Bess” playing Sportin’ Life. In 1967 he starred in a Broadway production of “Hello Dolly” with future guest star of The Muppet Show, Pearl Bailey.

In 1980 Calloway’s career had a boost because of his appearance in The Blues Brothers. You can hear his performance of “Minnie the Moocher” here: I actually like it better than the original; it’s more spirited.

A year later in 1981 Cab Calloway would make 3 appearances on Sesame Street. Two songs were with the Two-Headed Monster: “The Hi-De-Ho-Man” and “Jumpin’ Jive.” He performed “I Want To Count” with, you guessed it, The Count! In the late 90’s a series of animations emerged with the character Cab Callowmouse.

It just goes to show the range and depth of music on Sesame Street that this was the place where I got my first exposure to 1930’s jazz. I’m so grateful, as it’s one of my favorite styles.

The Muppet Mindset by Ryan Dosier

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