Leroy Stretch Jones
The Golden Age:
Whitey's Lindy Hprs.
Willa Mae Ricker
|Leon James, one of Whitey's Lindy Hoppers, had one of the greatest on-stage personalities in Lindy Hopping. With his constantly moving legs and hands and his flashing eyes, everyone would always notice him first. His styling was a favorite of the ladies at the Savoy, who still like to remember the way he moved his hips. He and partner Willa Mae Ricker were featured in the 1943 Life Magazine spread on Lindy Hop, along with the white Broadway dancers, Stanley Catron and Kaye Pop whose picture appears on the cover. The photographs of individual dance steps by Gjon Mili are sensational.|
Top the LHop
Day At The Races
All That Jazz
|Because of poor eyesight, Leon was one of the few of the original Lindy Hoppers who was not drafted into the service in World War II. He remained active as a dancer and stage personality until his death in the 1970's. He and fellow Lindy Hopper Al Minns developed a novelty act in which they danced together and charmed audiences with their playfulness and ingenuity. Together they served as informants to Marshall Stearns and his wife Jean when they were writing the classic book, Jazz Dance. It seems that the playful pair had a lot of fun at the expense of the Stearnses and of posterity.||Their
purely imaginary ideas of gangs at the Savoy and other uptown drama are
regarded as fact by many who have read the book. To their defense, none
of the Lindy Hoppers, including Norma Miller and Frankie Manning, had any
sense that they were making history. To Leon and Al, a good time at the
moment seemed to be what mattered most. They appeared together in a 1961
DuPont TV spectacular that has become a classic jazz documentary
called America's Music:
Chicago and All that Jazz.
It can be ordered thru SavoyStyle.
|Written by Judy Pritchett with Frank Manning. Copyright, 1995, 1996, 1997.May not be reproduced without written permission. <firstname.lastname@example.org>.This Biography is also part of the World Lindy Hop Federation Archives maintained by Keith Hughes.|