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The Roofettes: 1923

The Roofettes: 1923

Washington, D.C., July 1923. "Sunshine Girls." Also known as the Tiller Girls, a dance troupe originated by the British musical-theater impresario John Tiller. National Photo Company Collection glass negative. View full size.


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They're standing on the roof of the original Keith's Theatre, and behind them is the west side of the National Commercial Bank Building (looking east down G Street), as it existed before development rose up and covered that side of the building up.

2, 4, 5, 7

There ain't a bad lookin' pair o' gams in the bunch! I'd go out with any of them, especially Nos. 2, 4, 5 & 7.

A leg to stand on

I was going to comment on the strong legs (those on the ground) and muscular calves and the complete lack of toothpick legs on these sturdy girls but then I read the criticisms of others picking out the flaws, i.e. bad hair, missing teeth, and fantasy vs. reality girls and had to laugh at how each of us are critics when viewing others. Chances are not too many of us could wear skimpy clothing, no foundation garments (floppy boobs), stand outside on a roof and do high kicks and do it with a smile on our face yet. These goils had moxie, hutzpah, guts and worked hard for their money. Ain't none of us perfect.

Arranged in order of attractiveness.

Third from the right seems to be missing a tooth, or maybe it's a speck on the negative. Bad hair seems to have been a common problem in the first half of the 20th century.

How eccentric were they?

I have always loved that classification and wondered what steps brought dancers like Dixon and Callahan into the realm of eccentricity.

Fragrant With Beauty

Missing one (15/16).

Washington Post, July 12, 1923.

Dixon and Callahan, With 16 Girls,
Head Keith Bill

Fragrant with beauty and charm of musical comedy Harland Dixon and Marie Callahan together with Sixteen Sunshine Girls from the London Palace will claim the chief honors on the Keith bill for the coming week. Mr. Dixon and Miss Callahan, both eccentric dancers, were last here in "Good Morning, Dearie," the Kern-Caldwell musical play, and both are conceded to by the finest of their ilk.

Fantasy and reality

My fantasy is second from the left, my reality is third from the right. Sigh.

We have a winner!

Best photo title yet, Dave. But, Mr. Tiller, aren't the tall ones supposed to be in the middle?

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