On April 5, 2004, Leonard Reed passed away. For 97 years, Leonard Reed was an amazing presence, born in a teepee and going on to become one of America's most prolific show business entertainers and producers. He has left a lasting legacy with his Shim Sham dances in both tap dance and swing dance communities through the world.
In 1927, two song and dance men, Leonard Reed and Willie Bryant, took four popular steps of the 1920's, strung them together and created the now legendary "Shim Sham Shimmy" - tap dance's "National Anthem." In the 1930's, the "Freeze Chorus" was popularized. Then in 1948, while on tour with Joe Louis (the World Heavy Weight boxing champ), Leonard Reed created a simple duet variation of the dance, which he called "The Joe Louis Shuffle." In February of 1994, at age 87, Leonard decided it was time to leave one more dance and created the "Shim Sham II." But that wasn't enough! In 2002, at age 95, Leonard Reed made up his final dance, "The Revenge of the Shim Sham."
This DVD is a true "labor of love" from writer, dancer, producer Rusty E. Frank. More than a simple instructional DVD of one dance, this DVD is a devoted homage to Reed's life and his life's work. In 2004, Leonard Reed passed on the torch of the Shim Sham to Ms. Frank. She embraced her role as "Torchbearer" and spent countless hours, weeks, and months on this tribute to one of America's greatest show business personalities. In addition to the two instructional sections, "The Revenge of the Shim Sham" and "The Joe Louis Shuffle" Shim Sham, Frank also included a host of Bonus Features. Among these are historical footage of Reed, recent performances of his dances, his last interview, and a beautifully edited montage by actor, dancer, and editor Gregory Gast under Reed's own song "Smile Up At the Sun" (recorded live at Reed's memorial service in Los Angeles, California).