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Hop Till You Drop: 1923

April 1923. Washington, D.C., or vicinity. "Marathon dancers." Participants in a pop culture fad that lasted well into the 1930s; woman on the right holds a Baltimore newspaper clipping with the headline DANCERS BREAK WORLD RECORD AND DISAPPEAR. Harris & Ewing glass negative. View full size.

April 1923. Washington, D.C., or vicinity. "Marathon dancers." Participants in a pop culture fad that lasted well into the 1930s; woman on the right holds a Baltimore newspaper clipping with the headline DANCERS BREAK WORLD RECORD AND DISAPPEAR. Harris & Ewing glass negative. View full size.


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Dating In The Thirties

My parents used to go to the Dixie Ballroom at Gwynn Oak Park in Baltimore to watch these dancers in the 30's on a date. Years later my mother would shiver with disgust at the tortured looks on the dancer's faces when she would tell us about them.

To top off the date my mom and dad would go to speakeasies in the Remington area for some illegal beer and tell my grandmother (mom's mother) they had gone to an ice cream parlor and took a walk home the long way.

I always smile when I think back about the tales my parents told me they did as young people. Yep mom was a proud flapper with bobbed hair and dad made beer in his parent's basement.

Low-down on the Victrola VV-100

Manual included

This link has a page by page instruction manual for that Victrola.

Movable Marathon

Washington Post, April 21, 1923.

As the third lap of Washington's marathon dancing contest got under way last night, eliminations had narrowed the field to three at the Arcade auditorium and four a the Central coliseum.

Upon completion of a 48-hour stretch of continuous dancing, Miss Florence Gentry, the last girl competitor at the Arcade, became hysterical, and was carried sobbing and shrieking from the floor. The remaining entries were Aubrey W. Gilbert, 22-year-old marine from the local marine barracks; Joe Boltrotsky and W.C. Mendenhall, of Mount Rainer, Md.

At the Coliseum Elsie Weber held the honor of being the only contestant still dancing in the two contests. Her male competitors there were Edward Fleury, Louis J. Hulleran and Walter Keefer.

The Arcade dancers who are still dancing at midnight will continue their gliding at that hour in a moving van, which will convey them to a dance hall in Virginia. The Coliseum dancers will in a similar manner take themselves to Baltimore to finish their efforts to gain a world title.

The Baltimore Sun, April 22, 1923.

Only three of the five marathon dancers who started out Wednesday night to set a new recod were left at 1 o'clock this morning. One of them is Miss Elsie Weber, of Baltimore, who recently danced 53 hours in that city. Just before midnight the dancers, who were staging there contests in two halls one-stepped into phonograph equipped trucks and [departed] for Virginia or Maryland so as to evade the District of Columbia Law.

… In the meanwhile Miss Weber, the other two contestants and William T. Farrell, of Baltimore, an added starter, had crossed the district line into Maryland. They went to Beckett's Hotel at Marlboro and were going strong at 1.30 this morning.

The Baltimore Sun, April 23, 1923.

All records for endurance dancing were shattered last night by Miss Elsie Weber, of Baltimore and Eugene Linder, of Washington, who dashed from the floor of Ducket's Hotel, at Marlboro, Md., five minutes before midnight after they had danced for exactly 96 hours.

Miss Weber and Linder, in company of William T. Farrell, of Baltimore, who had completed 71 hours of continuous dancing, jumped in a waiting automobile and disappeared. It was thought that they were going to Washington to continue the contest. Police and newspaper men watched various dance halls in Washington for the arrival of the dancers, but at an early hour this morning they had not been found.

Washington Post, April 23, 1923.

Three contestants for the world's record for marathon dancing passed the ninety-six hour of continuous dancing last night at 12 o'clock at Duckett's hotel in Marlboro, Md., where they were taken from the Coliseum at midnight Saturday because of police regulations prohibiting public dancing here Sunday. The three dancers who were reported to be still going strong are Mrs. Elsie Weber and Eugene Linder, both of this city, and William P. Farrell, of Baltimore.

The Baltimore Sun April 24, 1923.

Eleven competitors in the Marathon dance contest at Hazazer's Hall completed their first day of continuous dancing last night in their efforts to win the title of world's champion endurance dancer. …

Claiming to have danced 109 hours, Miss Elsie Weber and William Farrell, of Baltimore, were stopped by the police at the Pen Gardens, in Washington. Police declared the management of the Pen Gardens did not have a permit to conduct the contest.

Spectators who went to Ducket's Hotel, at Marlboro, where the dancers fled on Sunday from Washington to dodge the police, according to dispatches to THE SUN, declared they were disappointed at the long rests given the dancers.

Miss Weber last night denied reports published in Washington that stretches of several hours had been spent in sleeping since the contest started.

The Baltimore Sun April 27, 1923.

Up at Hazazer's Hall it is difficult to tell whether they are holding a non-stop dancing contest or a non-stop sleeping handicap. Yesterday the hall was closed from 2 P.M. until 11 P.M. No spectator was admitted.

Victor Victrola VV-100

The phonograph is a Victor Victrola VV-100, produced from 1921 to 1925. Original price $150. One sitting behind me in my library right now.

Comfy Shoes

Notice they all have them to make this grueling task as painless as possible. Wonder why the young lady seated seems so surprised by the photographer?

Yowzah, yowzah!

I guess all the other horses have already been shot.

Oh, how we danced

This sorry looking group of incongruous personalities reminds me of the 1950's rhyme sung to the tune of the Anniversary Waltz:
"Oh, how we danced on the night we were wed,
if you think we danced, you have rocks in your head."
(second verse)
"Oh, how we danced on the night we were wed,
we danced and we danced 'cause the room had no bed."

(I know it is like eighth grade boys' locker room humor, but it all comes back even sixty-plus years later.)

I have one of those victrolas...

...and it still works. Looks like they have the volume turned all the way up

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