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Harvest Moon Ball Dance Championships

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Harvest Moon Ball Ticket Stub

Individual HMB Years

New York : 1927
1932 1935 1936 1937
1938 1939 1940 1941
1942 1943 1944 1945
1946 1947 1948 1949
1950 1951 1952 1953
1954 1955 1956 1957
1958 1959 1960 1961
1962 1963 1964 1965
1966 1967 1968 1969
1970 1971 1972 1973
1974 1975 1976 1977
1978 1979 1980 1981
1982 1983 1984 ??
Los Angeles : 1948 1949
» 1950 1951
Chicago : ?? ??

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Harvest Moon Ball Logo

            The Harvest Moon Ball was supposedly for "Amateurs" only (it was up to the contestants to police for pro's.) The Ball was held usually on a Tuesday or Wednesday in August or September and was sponsored by the Daily News in New York and Los Angeles (News Welfare Association, Inc.)

     The first unofficial contest was held at the Central Park Mall in 1927, but to the surprise of the organizers over 75,000 people showed up to watch the contest, all contests in the future were to be postponed in the name of public safety until Madison Square Garden could be obtained. They tried again in 1934 and this time the contest was officially shut down by then Mayor La Guardia. The first official start date was in 1935 at Madison Square Garden in New York and would last untill 1980, from 1980 it was sponsored by individuals who were past HMB Winners with the last HMB in 1984.

    Usually starting in August or September, prelims would be run in many different clubs and ballrooms thru-out the city such as the Savoy Ballroom and later the Savoy Manor, plus the famous Roseland Ballroom in New York and others. The prelims had a total of three judges, while the finals had five.

    There were six to Seven CONTEST divisions one could enter, some years would offer different dance divisions such as Conga, Lindy Hop, Rumba, Jitterbug, Jitterbug-Jive, Jive, Foxtrot, Rock and Roll, Polka, Tango, Collegiate Shag, Serviceman's Division, Viennese Waltz and even the Hustle. Plus at the end of the contest the judges would pick an "All 'Round Champion" to award additional prizes to. The 1937 HMB was considered the best as far as audienece attendance and reaction due to the inclusion of the Collegiate Shag ... the crowd went nutz!!!

    This contest was to become the most famous dance contest in the world and would last for many years. The official song of the contest was "Shine On, Harvest Moon." The music was supplied by first class musicians such as Artie Shaw, Tito Puente, Nan Rodrigo, Machito, Benny Goodman etc.

Harvst Contestants dancing in the Jitterbug Division

    Ed Sullivan was the emcee for most of these earlier contests. As time progressed and the popularity of the contests grew, there would be other locations such as in Chicago, and Los Angeles besides the coveted Madison Square Garden location. There was a Harvest Moon Ball in Illinois but is reported to be no connection. When the Harvest Moon Ball ended its run, Mama Lu Parks picked up the reigns, kept it going for a few more years and called it the Harvest Championship Ball.

Birth Place

Creation Date



New York 1935 Daily News Madison Square Garden - NY


~ Dance Divisions ~

Irvington Polish Home Collegiate Shag Jive Tango
Palladium (Hollywood) Conga Lindy Hop Viennese Waltz
Restland Farm Foxtrot Polka Waltz
Roseland Ballroom Hustle Rock and Roll
Roseland Dance City Jitterbug Rumba
Savoy Ballroom Jitterbug-Jive Servicemen's
Savoy Manor

Various Musicians

Various Entertainers

Various Judges

Various Announcers

Artie Shaw Abbott & Costello Albert Butler Al Frazin
Benny Goodman Bill "Bojangles" Robinson Alma Morgan Mathew Cusak Sr.
Dizzy Gillespie Billie Holiday Arthur Murray Pat Curron
Four Ink Spots, the Eddie Cantor Bernie Sager
Harry James Edyie Gorme Donald Sawyer
Jerry Wald Francis Chalif Elsa Heilich

Various Emcees

Juanucho Lopez Gertrude Niesen Joseph H. Belford Ed Sullivan
Lucky Millendar Orch. Jerry Wald Leroy Prinze John Tillman
Machito Natalie Cole Nick Castle
Oscar de la Rosa Orch. Ray Bolger Thomas Riley
Platters, the The DeMarco's Thorbjorn Bassoe Jr.
Russ Morgan Orch. The Hartman's Vera Ellen
Woody Herman Orch. Tony Bennett
Xavier Cugat The Supreme's

Various Dance Posters

Sheet Music Covers

Films | T. V. | Videos

African Dance Mikhumbane Charleston 8/26/1937 - Fox Movietone #19/100- Jitterbug
Hellzapoppin' G.I. Jive
House Rent Party Reuben Foxtrot 9/1/1938 - Fox-Movietone #20/102 - HMB
Last Waltz The Continental
Mystery in Swing

8/1960 - Lawrence Welk Show (TV)
Red Hot Martini (Pin Up)
Saturday Night Fever
The Duke Is Tops

Publications ...



Date Published


Life Magazine (Goes to HMB) ?? 10/2/1950 Magazine
25 Years Of American Dance Dance Magazine 1951 Rudolph Orthwane
Harvest Moon Ball Programs
Daily News Varies (see Pics 5,6,7,8,9 below)
(Ballroom) Dance Magazine n/a 8/1960 & 11/1960 Magazine

Misc. Research Words that may be related ... to help your searches

Shorty George Madison Square Gardens Dance Contests -
Lindy Hop, Jitterbug, Hustle, Polka Daily News Welfare Association


Pictures of Harvest Moon Ball PIC1 PIC2 | PIC3 | PIC4 | PIC5 | PIC6 | PIC7 | PIC8 | PIC9
Pictures of Various HMB Dancers | PIC1 | PIC2 | PIC3 | PIC4 | PIC5

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