May 15, 2011 4:37 PM Subscribe
by a pair of Vaudeville comedians
just as the Vaudville era was era was coming to a close, the musical revue Hellzapoppin'
became a runaway smash hit, and for a time, was the longest running show on Broadway.
It was a crazy quilt of frequently updated comedy and musical bits stitched together, featuring risque humor, fourth-wall breaking audience participation, skits abandoned halfway through, dwarfs, pigeons, clowns and Adolph Hitler with a Yiddish accent.
Hollywood attempted to adopt it into a movie
, and while it may not have captured the free-wheeling anarchy of the stage show, it featured at least one jaw dropping dance number
and pioneered the kind of rapid-fire self-referential comedy techniques that would later be used in films like Airplane!
Here's the movie-within-a-movie opening sequence with Shemp Howard
Here's a great bit of physical comedy centered around an archery range.
An extended version of the dance number.
A Martha Raye musical number.
The surreal ending sequence.