Java sometimes plays movie excerpts on her computer while surfing the 'net. It's really for the familiar sound; I just continue doing whatever without looking up. However, when Marge and Gower Champion are dancing, you can't help but stop and take notice.
The Champions are an innovative husband and wife dance team/Broadway choreographers/directors. I was introduced to their work through films, such as Showboat (1951) and Jupiter's Darling (1955), and later learned that the Champions performed in plenty of live television programs, worked the night club circuit and were sought-after contributors for stagecraft.
The Champions display seeming effortless athleticism. Its simply breathtaking. For instance, the "Someone To Watch Over Me" number in Three for the Show (1955) sees the pair spouting off lines of dialogue while doing lifts and twirls and what not. I'm so glad that at least some of their work is preserved on film.
Java's Journey has just missed Marge Champion's birthday (September 2), but the anniversary of the Belcher-Champion marriage is coming soon (October 5). In John Anthony Gilvey's, well-researched and detailed book, Before the Parade Passes By: Gower Champion and the Glorious American Musical, the author recounts the 1947 nuptials:
Whatever the wedding ceremony of Marjorie Celeste Belcher and Alfred Gower Carlisle Champion lacked in solemnity, it more than made up for in sheer hilarity. During the exchange of vows, Marge looked down for a moment and became so distracted by the big dents in the minister's shoes made by the bunions on his feet that she almost forgot to say, "I do." Minutes later, a minor struggle ensued during the exchange of rings when, to her embarrassment, the bride found that the ring she had purchased was too small for the groom's finger. That did not stop her from trying to make it fit! When her efforts failed, the minister tried, then the best man, Gower's brother, John. They failed. Finally, the groom decided to wear the ring just below the nail of his finger rather than risk injury due to everyone's well-intentioned efforts.
A sense of humor in two very great artists. I'm only just beginning to round out my knowledge of the Champions. This promises to be a most exciting journey for yours truly,