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Harvest Moon Ball Amateur Dance Championships: Main Contest Information Page

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Harvest Moon Ball Dance Championships

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

Chicago:

?? ??


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Harvst Contestants dancing in the Jitterbug Division


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


Starting in August or September, the prelims would be run in many different clubs and ballrooms threw-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; the 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 Harvest Moon Ball was considered the best of the Best as far as audience 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 music was supplied by first class musicians such as Artie Shaw, Tito Puente, Nan Rodrigo, Machito, Benny Goodman etc. The official song of the contest was "Shine On, Harvest Moon." There were also many Professional performers throughout the event, famous dancers and singers, jugglers, Comedians etc. would take to the stage. At the end of the event, the winners usually appeared on Sullivan's Television Show as well as a future Broadway spot.


Ed Sullivan (later known for his Television show) 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. The Harvest Moon Ball in Chicago, Illinois is reported to be no connection but is listed anyway. When the Harvest Moon Ball Contests 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 Creator Location Creation Date End Date
New York Daily News Welfare Association Madison Square Garden - NY 1935 1984


The Locations The Dance Divisions
Irvington Polish Home Collegiate Shag, the Polka, the
Madison Square Garden (NY) Conga, the Rock and Roll, the
Palladium (Hollywood) Foxtrot, the Rhumba, the
Restland Farm Hustle, the Service-men's Division (Swing dance)
Roseland Ballroom Jitterbug, the Tango, the
Roseland Dance City Jitterbug-Jive Viennese Waltz, the
Savoy Ballroom Jive, the Waltz, the
Savoy Manor Lindy Hop, the -


The Musicians The Entertainers The Judges The Announcers
Artie Shaw Abbott and 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 -
Juanucho Lopez Gertrude Niesen Joseph H. Belford The Master of Ceremonies
Lucky Millendar Orch. Jerry Wald Leroy Prinze Ed Sullivan
Machito Natalie Cole Nick Castle John Tillman
Oscar de la Rosa Orch. Ray Bolger Thomas Riley -
Platters, the The De Marco's Thorbjorn Bassoe Jr. -
Russ Morgan Orch. The Hartman's Vera Ellen -
Woody Herman Orch. Tony Bennett - -
Xavier Cugat The Supremes - -


Publications
Title Author / Publisher Date Published Notes
Harvest Moon Ball Programs Daily News Welfare Association 1935-1984 (see Pics below)
Life Magazine (Goes to HMB) Life Magazine 10/2/1950 -
25 Years Of American Dance Dance Magazine | Rudolph Orthwane 1951 -
Ballroom Dance Magazine Ballroom Dance Magazine 8/1960 & 11/1960 -


Video Titles Date Catalog # Type Dance Type
Fox Movie-tone 8/26/1937 #19/100 Newsreel ''Jitterbug'' dancers
Fox Movie-tone 9/1/1938 #20/102 Newsreel Harvest Moon Ball Coverage
Colgate Comedy Hour 1955 Episode 6.8 Television Program The Winners
Lawrence Welk Show 8/1960 - Television Program The Winners
Toast of the Town 9/14/1952 Episode 6.1 | on DVD Television Program The Winners
Toast of the Town 10/13/1953 Episode 7.1 | on DVD Television Program The Winners
Toast of the Town 10/16/1956 Episode 9.52 | on DVD Television Program The Winners
Toast of the Town 10/6/1957 Episode 11.3 | on DVD Television Program The Winners
Toast of the Town 9/28/1958 Episode 12.3 | on DVD Television Program The Winners
Toast of the Town 10/4/1959 Episode 13.3 | on DVD Television Program The Winners
Toast of the Town 10/2/1960 Episode 14.2 | on DVD Television Program The Winners
Toast of the Town 9/30/1962 Episode 16.1 | on DVD Television Program The Winners
Toast of the Town 9/29/1963 Episode 17.1 | on DVD Television Program The Winners
Toast of the Town 11/14/1965 Episode 19.10 | on DVD Television Program The Winners
Toast of the Town 10/4/1966 Episode 20.4 | on DVD Television Program The Winners
Toast of the Town 10/1/1967 Episode 21.4 | on DVD Television Program The Winners
Toast of the Town 10/18/1970 Episode 24.5 | on DVD Television Program The Winners
Harvest Moon Ball Ticket Stub


  1. Various Pictures relating to/or dancing the Harvest Moon Ball: Next Photo

  1. Various HMB Dances: Foxtrot|Hustle|Jitterbug|Lindy Hop|Jive|Polka|Tango|Rhumba|V. Waltz

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