The strike of union musicians, the so-called “recording ban,” commenced on July 31, 1942. The action by the American Federation of Musicians impacted the entertainment industry far more than anyone could have imagined. Union president James C. Petrillo declared that Soundies were “sound recordings,” so between August 1, 1942 and November 1943, when Soundies and execs and the union came to terms, there were no soundtracks that would include union musicians.
One of the ways that Soundies dealt with the crisis, beyond soundtracks featuring non-union musicians and acapella vocal groups, was the purchase or licensing of pre-recorded music, and film material made years earlier and repurposed for the Panoram screen. In late 1942 they purchased the rights to excerpt one musical number from Sweeties, a short subject that had been produced by Educational Films in June 1937. Three minutes of music and dance was culled from the 18-minute short and issued on March 1, 1943 as Dance Revue.
Sweeties was a piece of fluff filed with love affairs and mistaken identifies. At a poolside party an unidentified acrobatic dancer and a tapper – one of the two may be Marion Semler – perform to the music of Andy Anderson’s orchestra. This is followed by an absolutely fabulous eccentric dance routine by Pat Rooney III.
Pat Rooney Sr. was one of the most famous and highly esteemed hoofers in the Irish clog and “soft shoe” tradition. A star of the vaudeville and Broadway stage, Rooney raised his children to dance as well. Pat Rooney, Jr. carried on the tradition and was followed by Pat Rooney III, seen in this Soundie. Rooney III was an engaging dancer who appeared in a large number of shorts for Educational. At one point he performed with his father in an intricate routine during which the two danced in unison, back-to-back. After the war, Rooney III worked as a single and was active into the 1950s.