Header Image: The 3 Sisters

The Brian Sisters

The Boogie Woogie Man (1942)

1941 or 1942 is the year in which the Brian Sisters made the short Halloween film The Boogie Woogie Boogie Man, which they recorded with the Will Osborne Orchestra. They were obviously grown up at the time, even though dressed as children. At a wild guess they were aged around 14 (Gwen) to 18 (Betty) which would support this date. It is generally given as 1942.

This film was originally a 'soundie'; a short 16mm film that would be played on a free-standing back-projection machine such as the Panoram - an early kind of 'video jukebox'. It was made available later (probably 1948) by Castle Films as part of their catalogue for the public. The film is titled on four title cards:

  • Swing and Sing
  • With WILL OSBORNE and his orchestra; Martha Tilton - Brian Sisters, Aida Broadbent Dancers
  • Orchestrations: MILTON ROSEN 'Dancing on Air' 'Boogie Woogie Man' Music - Milton Rosen Lyrics - Everett Carter
The same stage setting is used for the first two items, with the orchestra on a dais at the rear of the stage.
The four performances on the film are announced on title cards and are:
  1. The Boogie Woogieman (Brian Sisters)
  2. Dixie (Will Osborne Orchestra)
  3. Dancing on Air (Martha Tilton)
  4. Fantasia (Aida Broadbent Dancers)

This is a great performance by the Brian Sisters, perfectly sung and delightfully presented as always. The solo and unison voices blossom into the perfect three-part harmony that the girls do so well.
The girls' outfits look rather out of place on girls of that age, but we must remember that the feel of the film would not be right if they were dressed in a more mature way.

The girls were growing up fast and could no longer provide 'kiddie appeal'.

This is not available on DVD*

*Note: If you can find a VHS videotape version of "The Haunted History of Halloween" by The History Channel then the entire Boogie Woogie Man performance is present, but the more recent DVD of the same name merely has three 3-second fragments. It is also available 'hidden' in the DVD "Monsters Crash the Pajama Party".

Transcription is available

An excellent transcription of "Boogie Woogie Boogieman" has been produced by James. Please drop me a message and I will ask him to send you a copy in Acrobat pdf format.
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