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Solid Potato Salad
May 30, 2006 7:01 AM   Subscribe

This will burn those summer calories. You need to watch this to the end. They are amazing!
posted by annieb (101 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

 
O.O
posted by cavalier at 7:09 AM on May 30, 2006



posted by fleetmouse at 7:14 AM on May 30, 2006


I suppose they hadn't invented turning-around-and-picking-it-up back then. Those crazy Technicolor gals.

Anyone want to explain why "Solid Potato Salad"? And what, while you're at it, too.
posted by NinjaTadpole at 7:15 AM on May 30, 2006


It's all normal until about a minute or so in, then the acid starts to take hold.....
posted by Dr-Baa at 7:15 AM on May 30, 2006


Those were some impressive routines, although I spent the entire video trying to imagine what cinematic context required three boneless farmer's daughters to sing, dance and contort about solid potato salad.
posted by justkevin at 7:18 AM on May 30, 2006


And people said Madonna was cutting edge. Odd how contortionism has fallen out of favour.
posted by GuyZero at 7:19 AM on May 30, 2006


So where the woman bends backwards on the buggy, when she comes back up, is the film just reversed?
posted by drezdn at 7:21 AM on May 30, 2006


That's from Broadway Rhythm (1944), but like the YouTuber said, there's not much else out there about the Ross Sisters that I could find.
posted by BeerFilter at 7:21 AM on May 30, 2006


The best part is how the first minute is required to truly comprehend the next two.
posted by effugas at 7:22 AM on May 30, 2006


Kept me watching longer than most music videos.
posted by Mapes at 7:24 AM on May 30, 2006


They're very bendy. That's nice.

I honestly have come to expect a lot more from metafilter than one-link youtube posts. Who are these girls? What show was this from? When was this made? Were they noteworthy for any particular performances? As it stands this post is one link, no background material, and doesn't even have any tags. Fark and Digg are over that --> way.
posted by Rhomboid at 7:30 AM on May 30, 2006


They don't make 'em like they used to.
posted by ewagoner at 7:32 AM on May 30, 2006


I honestly have come to expect a lot more from metafilter than one-link youtube posts. Who are these girls? What show was this from? When was this made? Were they noteworthy for any particular performances? As it stands this post is one link, no background material, and doesn't even have any tags. Fark and Digg are over that --> way.
posted by Rhomboid at 7:30 AM PST on May 30 [+fave] [!]


Oh, please. Can't someone just post something unique to share without others expecting a whole host of other links? Just enjoy it, for God's sake. If you want to know more than is there, find it yourself. I thought their talent was interesting enough, and I couldn't find much else of interest about them. I don't see anything wrong with one link posts (yes, that's all I've done so far-big deal). No one had a problem with Ceiling Cat being a single post.
posted by annieb at 7:38 AM on May 30, 2006


Beautiful 1940s contortionists singing in harmony dressed in farm-gal get-ups?

*begins sweating profusely*

Yes, I'll accept the delivery, where do I sign?
posted by Scoo at 7:44 AM on May 30, 2006


Actually
"This post was deleted for the following reason: dumb"
posted by imposster at 7:44 AM on May 30, 2006


*invents time machine, kidnaps contortionist sisters, moves them to utah, marries all three of them*
posted by weretable and the undead chairs at 7:49 AM on May 30, 2006


You really should try for more than a single youtube link in a post, annieb. Or at least take the criticism gracefully when it comes, because it will.

This is pretty fucked up, though, I'll give you that.
posted by blacklite at 7:55 AM on May 30, 2006


Hee-Haw meets Cirque du Soleil
posted by StarForce5 at 7:56 AM on May 30, 2006


Incredible. Even more incredible is the fact that they appear to crop up in one film then disappear.
posted by fire&wings at 7:56 AM on May 30, 2006


It's Cirque de Soleil for the American Gothic set!
posted by jazon at 8:00 AM on May 30, 2006


Thanks annieb, I feel full of vim and vigor now. :)

omg what astounding athetes those girls were and they sang too!

ooh, Hee-Haw meets Cirque du Soleil, nice one.
posted by nickyskye at 8:00 AM on May 30, 2006



You really should try for more than a single youtube link in a post, annieb.


This is not necessarily true. There are plenty of good one link posts.
posted by drezdn at 8:01 AM on May 30, 2006


Oh, please. Can't someone just post something unique to share without others expecting a whole host of other links?

They should be able to, but some people here seem to have gotten the idea that each MeFi post should be an education in itself. Ignore them. This didn't need "supporting links" (what, a history of contortionism? Musical Comedy as MTV Precursor?), and if it had 'em I wouldn't read 'em. You did fine, and this was loads of fun to watch. Thanks.
posted by languagehat at 8:02 AM on May 30, 2006 [2 favorites]


Oh, please. Can't someone just post something unique to share without others expecting a whole host of other links? Just enjoy it, for God's sake. If you want to know more than is there, find it yourself. I thought their talent was interesting enough, and I couldn't find much else of interest about them. I don't see anything wrong with one link posts (yes, that's all I've done so far-big deal). No one had a problem with Ceiling Cat being a single post.

I kind of liked the post, but I think's tacky to defend your own post. If it's criticized and warrants defending, let others do it for you.
posted by justkevin at 8:02 AM on May 30, 2006 [1 favorite]


Thank you. Fun to watch, although for the first minute, my flaming finger was twitching.
posted by FeldBum at 8:06 AM on May 30, 2006



I honestly have come to expect a lot more from metafilter than one-link youtube posts.


Metafilter posts don't have to have all the links in the post. Many a good post has been created through the comments. The thing with this one is that no one can seem to find anything else on the Ross Sisters.

Also, many posts would be good with only one link and are made horrible by multiple links.
posted by drezdn at 8:08 AM on May 30, 2006


Wow - that was wonderful!

B-b-but, Annieb. Your peevish response: "If you want to know more than is there, find it yourself."

What gives?

Rhomboid's points may not have been very soothingly expressed ("Who are these girls? What show was this from? When was this made? Were they noteworthy for any particular performances? ").

But if you had humbly appealed for anyone with further information you'd have come across as delightfully as your girls.

I know this is an obvious bit of advice. But it's a much better way to effortlessly garnish a single link post than simply getting crabby.
posted by Jody Tresidder at 8:17 AM on May 30, 2006


Althought I agree it would have been nice to get a little more background information, that was one heck of a video. Holy moly!
posted by almostcool at 8:21 AM on May 30, 2006


Fleetmouse, Ceiling Cat has jumped the shark. Puh-lease.

Animated ceiling cat is where it's at.


posted by dmd at 8:24 AM on May 30, 2006 [1 favorite]


annieb's post is great. Whiners please stop whining.
posted by thirteenkiller at 8:26 AM on May 30, 2006


Man, that sucked. I'm glad I stopped watching after the first minute.
posted by thejoshu at 8:27 AM on May 30, 2006


Not only potatos.
I did a little checking. Found they were in "Piccadilly Hayride" a London stage revue that ran from 1946 to 1948. A recording was made of their "Five Minutes More," a song later covered by Frank Sinatra.

Maybe they retired early due to back problems. Maybe 20/20 could do an interesting follow-up on them. There is a good chance at least one is alive. Of course, wasn't it 20/20 that did the interview with Buckwheat from Little Rascals only to find out that Buckwheat had died?
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 8:27 AM on May 30, 2006


No one had a problem with Ceiling Cat being a single post.

Ceiling Cat is different.
posted by j-urb at 8:28 AM on May 30, 2006


Could they be Australian? Edgar Ross had two aunts, Alice and Lillian, who trained contortionists. I'm guessing Alica and Lillian would be too old in 1944, but how many contortionists named Ross could there be?

"My father’s two sisters, Alice and Lillian, devoted much of their lives to training children for the vaudeville stage, mainly as contortionists. I remember one very attractive girl named Verlie, probably a South Sea Islander, who was on the Tivoli circuit for some time. Another, Noel, appeared in monologues. The women used to legally adopt them ... they had no children of their own. My father’s brother Arthur William (“ Willie”) dabbled in juggling and trick cycling. So there you are !"
posted by Floydd at 8:28 AM on May 30, 2006


One link is fine by me. I particularly dislike the kind of post where each word in a sentence or phrase is a separate link. YMMV, of course. And I see nothing wrong with annieb defending herself.

Great post, BTW. I really enjoyed it.
posted by LeisureGuy at 8:30 AM on May 30, 2006


That was hilarious.
posted by sonofsamiam at 8:33 AM on May 30, 2006


Just watching that gave me a hernia.
posted by Tacodog at 8:36 AM on May 30, 2006


Rhomboid, you have only have one metafilter post yourself. How many links are there in said post? ONE.

It was, incidentally, a fantastic single link, and so is this.
posted by atrazine at 8:38 AM on May 30, 2006


Notice at the very end, after the girls have turned into a writhing worms mass that pinwheels off the stage, the door slams shut on its own likea prop in a haunted house. Why?

Because we're in hell.
posted by Astro Zombie at 8:43 AM on May 30, 2006


I sat in shock, wondering how the choreographer and stage design people approached this. Did they sit down with the Ross Sisters and ask if they could inchworm down a wagon and back up again? Did the sisters volunteer the ability to balance on 2X4s ten feet off the ground while turning nearly completely upside down in a backbend? Or did the director/producer/PTB see the Ross Sisters' act somewhere, and import it directly to the movie? I guess I'll never know, but dang. Three minutes well spent!
posted by headspace at 8:51 AM on May 30, 2006


Is it just me, or did people used to be more talented?
posted by jon_kill at 8:56 AM on May 30, 2006


Did anyone else note how delightfully the pronounced the word "po-ta-to"?
posted by QuietDesperation at 9:03 AM on May 30, 2006


Yeah, definitely not "po-tah-to". :)
posted by LeisureGuy at 9:11 AM on May 30, 2006


MeTa should be used for criticisms of post quality/type. If you have the stomach for casting aspersions do so there and not in the thread of the link.

headspace, I think the inchworming back up the wagon is just film reversal. Not to detract from your point as it is a good one, nor to detract from the film itself.
posted by edgeways at 9:13 AM on May 30, 2006


I've seen a lot of weird stuff thanks to the power of the Internets, but the whole bending over backward and then rising back up move actually had me rubbing my eyes and watching it again. As for contortionists, these girls have this guy (second performer) beat.
posted by Juggermatt at 9:20 AM on May 30, 2006


thejoshu nicely played. Very drool.
posted by econous at 9:26 AM on May 30, 2006


I always wondered if contortionists and super flexible athletes had spinal problems and it seems they do.

Gene Paul, who wrote the lyrics for Solid Potato Salad, did some other interesting songs as well. I always liked his Cow Cow Boogie [youtube video].
posted by nickyskye at 9:28 AM on May 30, 2006


So where the woman bends backwards on the buggy, when she comes back up, is the film just reversed?

No, if you watch it carefully, when she starts bending backwards, she goes very slowly and her hands are on her lap, but when she comes back up, her hands are off her lap and she stands up straight more quickly. This part freaked me out when I watched it and my first thought was the whole film reversal theory, but upon further review, the play stands! It's the real deal, McNeal!
posted by Shfishp at 9:31 AM on May 30, 2006


BTW, stills of the Ross Sisters can be found here.
posted by jazon at 9:31 AM on May 30, 2006


For the record, my beef was the fact that it was a single youtube link, not that it was a single link. Some links stand on their own, some don't; in my opinion youtube links fall into the latter category. That is all, just my opinion.
posted by Rhomboid at 9:56 AM on May 30, 2006


the door slams shut on its own likea prop in a haunted house. Why?

Stagehands had to quickly extricate their heads before they mufficated.

I did a little checking up on Aggie, Maggie, and Elmira Ross. Rumor has it that Howard Hughes actually bought them in 1949 and they have never been seen again.

Anyway, the hanging down and sliding back up bit might look like a wilting flower or a creepy snake, depending on the music you set it to. And the part where they run around their heads looks like the walking head in Alien. Could someone set those bits to scary music for me? I haven't had enough nightmares this month.
posted by pracowity at 10:00 AM on May 30, 2006


Man, that scene where they walked their torsos around themselves just made me squirm...and not in a good way. More like in a "witnessing the demonic dance of Cthullu's minions" way. Freaky.
My spine hurts just watching those gals.
posted by Thorzdad at 10:05 AM on May 30, 2006


The name could also be the Russ sisters. I'm finding a lot of hits for them in credits for the movie in various internet databases, but nothing really new.
posted by BeerFilter at 10:08 AM on May 30, 2006


Some more related links:

IMDB's entry on Broadway Rhythm, whence this segment comes.

Amazon entry for the movie on VHS. Interesting comments indicate there's a speed-piano act in the movie, as well.

USAToday article...evidently this segment was included on the That's Entertainment III DVD that came out in 1994, too.
posted by darkstar at 10:12 AM on May 30, 2006


ONE OF US ONE OF US
posted by 235w103 at 10:25 AM on May 30, 2006


Did anyone else note how delightfully the pronounced the word "po-ta-to"?

Boilem mashem stickeminastew, boilem mashem stickeminastew...
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 10:25 AM on May 30, 2006


A couple more interesting snippets:

1. From an autobiographical sketch on Edgar Ross, he mentions the artistic gifts of his children:
Robert inherited my penchant for public speaking, Fleur her mother’s love of dancing ... but the genes tell a story of theatre further back ! My father’s two sisters, Alice and Lillian, devoted much of their lives to training children for the vaudeville stage, mainly as contortionists. I remember one very attractive girl named Verlie, probably a South Sea Islander, who was on the Tivoli circuit for some time. Another, Noel, appeared in monologues. The women used to legally adopt them ... they had no children of their own. My father’s brother Arthur William (“ Willie”) dabbled in juggling and trick cycling. So there you are !
Could there be a relationship between this Edgar Ross's aunts and the Ross sisters in the video?

2. An interesting list of contortionists and acrobatic dancers appearing in movies, which mentions the Ross Sisters.

3. A review of That's Entertainment III that trashes the Ross Sisters:
Unfortunately, there are a few moments wasted on cruel little talentless things like the embarrassing Ross Sisters (contortionists) doing ``Solid Potato Salad' from ``Broadway Rhythm.' It's meant to be camp but actually is merely a suggestion that some form of musical entertainment DOES date. Happily, there is very little footage devoted to this ill-considered effort to be smarty and mod.
4. A set of color photos from the segment, here.

My best guess? The Ross Sisters were probably a part of a running Vaudeville act a la Menudo, where the girls were interchangeable. This particular threesome found their way into an MGM movie in 1944 as part of what was a common film theme of the era ("hey, let's put on our own show"), which was a loose excuse to have a variety of acts on screen.

Anyway, I don't find any other references to them appearing in any other motion pictures.

Interesting link, thanks annieb!
posted by darkstar at 10:28 AM on May 30, 2006


Some links stand on their own, some don't; in my opinion youtube links fall into the latter category.

So if YouTube had an exclusive video of aliens making contact with us, you'd oppose a post to it here in MF simply because it's YouTube? Your logic is flawed. You're a YouTube bigot!

As for this particular one-link post, perhaps that crazy video left annieb speechless, hence the lack of words in the post. Anyway, it gets a thumbs-up from me. I enjoyed it, and I wouldn't have come across it otherwise, which in my book constitutes a successful MF post.
posted by afx114 at 10:49 AM on May 30, 2006


Blimey, the 'looks like the film was reversed but wasn't' bit is remarkable.

Though I'm disturbed. Not by the contortionists, by the implication that liquid potato salad might exist.
posted by jack_mo at 10:55 AM on May 30, 2006


I am absolutely a YouTube bigot as well. But even I know when I've seen something awesome. These ladies kick ass!
posted by ktoad at 11:02 AM on May 30, 2006


Very odd. Thanks, annieb. All hail the quite justifiable and very flexible single youtube post!
posted by shoepal at 11:27 AM on May 30, 2006


I think my back just broke watching that.
posted by OhPuhLeez at 12:09 PM on May 30, 2006


Dear God! It's made of legs. LEGS!!! RUN FOR YOUR LIVES, YOU SLEEPING FOOLS!
posted by loquacious at 12:50 PM on May 30, 2006



posted by darkstar at 12:51 PM on May 30, 2006


Sorry Floydd, I missed your earlier link to that site I referenced!
posted by darkstar at 12:55 PM on May 30, 2006


Its not uncommon in circuses for a family to "adopt" a talented newcomer. The tradition of family performers is so, dare I say, inbred that it is often considered mandatory to draw crowds.

I believe this kind of contortion, though with different corny music, is still practiced and respected in Mongolia.
posted by AuntLisa at 1:35 PM on May 30, 2006



posted by glenwood at 1:42 PM on May 30, 2006


i'm somewhere between horrified and turned on... i'll get back to you when i decide.
posted by Doorstop at 1:52 PM on May 30, 2006


That shot from the clip is disturbingly similar to the cover to Jack Kirby's OMAC #1.
posted by Guy Smiley at 2:35 PM on May 30, 2006


Now you got me looking up Mongolian contortionists. Yikes. OMG there's a whole contortionists' world out there.

Was anyone else kind of fascinated and horrified by the new Olympic Rhythmic Gymnasts, who seemed to be acrobatic contortionists?
posted by nickyskye at 2:35 PM on May 30, 2006


The thoughts that occurred to me in no particular order as I watched:

1. OUCH.

2. What did all that have to do with potato salad?

3. Does it make it any less titillating when you realize that they're all dead?
posted by jennaratrix at 2:37 PM on May 30, 2006


Yeesh, nickskye, I see what you mean.
posted by maryh at 2:41 PM on May 30, 2006


The tradition of family performers is so, dare I say, inbred that it is often considered mandatory to draw crowds.

At this point, it would be remiss of me not to recommend Geek Love, a truly great novel about a family of especially freaky circus freaks.

i'm somewhere between horrified and turned on... i'll get back to you when i decide.

You speak as if those responses are mutually exclusive!
posted by jack_mo at 3:00 PM on May 30, 2006


Has anyone else been singing "Solid Potato Salad" to themselves all day?
posted by etc. at 3:01 PM on May 30, 2006


darkstar that image will help a lot, when I explain to my Polish lover how a '69' should really be performed, sign language isn't working. Thx, you're a life saver.
posted by econous at 3:12 PM on May 30, 2006


"Yikes. OMG there's a whole contortionists' world out there." said, NickySkye. Welcome to my weekend, says I.
posted by filchyboy at 3:16 PM on May 30, 2006


Does it make it any less titillating when you realize that they're all dead?

It's possible they're still alive. If they're, say, 20 when this movie was shot, they'd be 82 now... (and very likely really, really arthritic.)

Has anyone else been singing "Solid Potato Salad" to themselves all day?


Yes.
posted by crunchland at 3:23 PM on May 30, 2006


OH. MY. GOD.

Having coached a "Sisters of Swing" Andrews Sisters / Boswell sisters harmony group for the past 2 years and singing in one for 5, I'm surprised that I've never even heard of the Ross Sisters.

Although a Ross Sisters tribute group would be a lot of work. A LOT more work.

As for non-sensical lyrics, please listen to the Andrews Sisters "Hold Tight." Apparently back in the day lyrics didn't have to make sense. They just had to swing.
posted by Sallysings at 3:38 PM on May 30, 2006


I can't wait to build a creature that looks like this in Spore...
posted by bruzie at 3:59 PM on May 30, 2006


"Yikes. OMG there's a whole contortionists' world out there." said, NickySkye. Welcome to my weekend, says I.
posted by filchyboy at 4:07 PM on May 30, 2006


Has anyone else been singing "Solid Potato Salad" to themselves all day?

I have not, but that's only because "Plasma Potato Salad" is so much catchier.

Is "Plasma Potato Salad" or "Gas-Phase Potato Salad" the better title?
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 4:54 PM on May 30, 2006


I blame this bendiness on global warming.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 5:06 PM on May 30, 2006


Whoops sorry for the dupe.
posted by filchyboy at 5:08 PM on May 30, 2006


filchyboy, You're forgiven. Must have been that pretzeling you were up to. ;-)
posted by nickyskye at 5:20 PM on May 30, 2006


Oh, what the heck - I might as well add this in view of the drift of some comments.

I happened to catch an interview/performance with an erotic contortionist on an edgy/cheesey British talk TV show late at night 3 or 4 years back. It was unexpectedly on and surprisingly explicit. (Possibly Channel 5?)

The main guest was a pleasant, wholesome-looking 20something woman, she had never quite got to national level as a regular teenage gymnast - so had put together a speciality club act - not entirely unlike annieb's post in some respects - but without clothes - just a very thin thong, performed alone to music. She was very flexible and smoothly muscular etc. Did stuff that would leave your average pole dancer flummoxed (I imagine).
During the interview afterwards - conducted while she remained unclothed, for some reason - she was asked by the show's female co-host whether she ever transferred her contortionist skills to her romantic life. She went into an energetic monologue - with lots of cheerful eye rolling -saying it was the first thing boyfriends requested (d'oh!), that she certainly obliged, but that strictly from her point of view, the usual happy, conventional positions were vastly physically preferable. She was most adamant on this point.

It was the sort of interview that sticks in your mind.
posted by Jody Tresidder at 5:28 PM on May 30, 2006


post pics pls thx
posted by lekvar at 7:10 PM on May 30, 2006


"solid, Jackson"

Though I have no idea what this has to do with solid potato salid.
posted by MonkeySaltedNuts at 7:12 PM on May 30, 2006


Great comment on the other site:

"That boys is why we are fighting"
posted by Deep Dish at 7:28 PM on May 30, 2006


Has anyone else been singing "Solid Potato Salad" to themselves all day?

YES. Make it stop please.
posted by blacklite at 7:34 PM on May 30, 2006


I've seen other contortionists do the "run around your head" kind of thing so that wasn't too disturbing, but the split had me cringing.

Great post annieb!
posted by blm at 8:08 PM on May 30, 2006


YES. Make it stop please.

I managed to not get the song stuck in my head.

But I'm gonna have nightmares about some 6-legged, 3-backed walking wheel-beast chasing me down and pelvically gyrating me to a gibbering death, for sure.
posted by loquacious at 8:40 PM on May 30, 2006 [1 favorite]


Why can't modern contortionist acts be adorable like the Ross sisters? It's all newage music and lasers now. I support more down home goodness in the contortionary arts. And more pota-to salad.
posted by LeeJay at 8:48 PM on May 30, 2006


Looking up contortionists on YouTube there was this human limp spaghetti strand. Yikes! and this duo might be filchyboy's cuppa. This "Got milk?" Cirque trio might be more down home contortion, in a surreal sort of a way. I kinda needed some plain ole yee ha jitterbug after all that.
posted by nickyskye at 9:43 PM on May 30, 2006


For what it's worth, I had fun watching this. I don't care if it's a single YouTube link.

Even though I still have no idea what "solid po-ta-to salad" is supposed to mean.
posted by wanderingmind at 11:28 AM on May 31, 2006


Well, I'm probably not telling you guys anything you don't already know, but back in the 40's, "solid" was slang that meant very fine, or very good. It's a swing saying, isn't it? I think I recall Louie Armstrong saying something like "That's solid, Jack."
posted by crunchland at 11:37 AM on May 31, 2006


Oh, please. Can't someone just post something unique to share without others expecting a whole host of other links?

You mean MetaFilter should become another Memepool?
posted by five fresh fish at 1:45 PM on May 31, 2006


"This video has been removed at the request of copyright owner Warner Brothers Entertainment because its content was used without permission"

YouTube is is getting slapped pretty quick these days... Colbert now the Ross Sisters???
posted by egg meister at 3:47 PM on June 1, 2006


One would think that in a normal world, 52 years would be enough time for a copyright to expire.
posted by crunchland at 8:51 AM on June 3, 2006


(er. 62.) and I also guess that's easy for me to say since I'm not the one who could still potentially make money from the property.
posted by crunchland at 9:05 AM on June 3, 2006


DID ANYONE SAVE IT?
posted by bonaldi at 11:56 AM on June 3, 2006


Alas, poor Ross Sisters, we hardly knew ye.
posted by darkstar at 3:35 PM on June 5, 2006


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