A Classic Musician Connects the Blues Brothers to Halloween

Cab Calloway of “Mini the Moocher” fame made a famous appearance in The Blues Brothers, and was the inspiration for the villain in The Nightmare Before Christmas.

by Mark Mackie | published

Inspiration in Hollywood can come from some very unexpected places. You may be surprised to know that Miami Vice inspired The Golden GirlsRyan Coogler admitted that Saint had an effect on black PantherOr that BJ Novak confessed The Office led in some ways the Sopranos, But what if we told you that Cab Calloway, a black singer/songwriter/dancer/actor who was the inspiration for many Hollywood classics and connections and productions from the mid-1900s, including the blues brothers and Tim Burton Nightmare before Christmas,

Cab Calloway’s mother wanted him to become a lawyer like his father, but the allure of the stage was too much for him, and after performing distracted him from college in Chicago, he decided to pursue music full-time in 1929. went to New York. At the age of 22. Two years later, his band, Cab Calloway and his orchestra recorded their most famous song, “Minnie the Moocher”. He also did “St. James and the Infirmary Blues” and “Man in the Mountain”, but none of them reached the heights of “Mini the Moocher” as it became the first song by a black performer to sell one million copies.

Hollywood noticed the path to stardom it was on and decided to capitalize on it by putting it in productions like old man in the mountain, snow White, and a Betty Boop cartoon, “Minnie the Moocher.” He wasn’t just an inspiration or the recipient of music credits for these productions; He did the voice work, and through rotoscoping, the filmmakers captured his movements, and the characters were based on him. Cab Calloway used these as a springboard to do several short films for Paramount, where he could be seen doing a backward slide which he called “The Buzz”, which some people believe. Michael Jackson’s Moonwalk, and performed his hit single, “Reefer Man.”

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Dan Aykroyd, John Belushi, and Cab Calloway Inn the blues brothers (1980)

Cab Calloway remained a household name until she was introduced to new audiences when she performed the biggest hit of her life, “Mini the Moocher”, in the Dan Aykroyd/Jim Belushi 1980 hit comedy, the blues brothers, The scene saw Calloway wearing a white tuxedo on stage and working in front of a stage backdrop in which he performed at several clubs as a young man, including The Cotton Club of New York. While he was on stage, proving that he still had it at the age of 73, the film’s protagonist was snatched outside by a sheriff, following in his footsteps to the beat of the music coming from the auditorium.

Tim Burton was clearly also influenced by Cab Calloway’s work, as he gave her the primary inspiration for the villain in his holiday classic, Nightmare before ChristmasBoogie, Oogee. In Burton’s autobiography, “Burton on Burton”, he admitted that the villain was based on his performance in the Betty Boop cartoon, where he sang “Mini the Moocher”. When watching the scenes side by side, it’s almost impossible to see the similarities in the songs, dance moves, and even background characters in the background, such as the three skeleton backup singers.

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Uggy Boogie terrorizes Santa Claus Nightmare before Christmas (1993)

The artist suffered a stroke in his home in 1994, died five months later in his home from pneumonia, and was survived by five daughters and seven grandchildren. Music critics and historians have credited him as an inspiration to some of the biggest names of the previous generation, such as James Brown, Michael and Janet Jackson, and some of hip-hop’s biggest names. Cab Calloway was inducted into the Jazz Hall of Fame in 1995, the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1999, and received a posthumous Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2008.

While Cab Calloway’s influence on both the music and film industries can be seen in almost every genre and woven through the fabric of entertainment, seeing unexpected connections in various productions has become a norm. whereas the blues brothers There’s no Halloween movie yet, the connection that Calloway’s music and personality create ties it together Nightmare before Christmas And Halloween in a way that’s impossible to ignore. If you’ve never heard of Cab Calloway before, now that he’s at the forefront of your mind and you see the motivations he’s responsible for, you’ll start to see him in all kinds of unexpected places.

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