Many lay claim that comedian
Dewey "Pigmeat" Markhem of the Apollo Theatre,
N.Y. invented Truckin'. (Markhem might have been the
first to name what he was doing as Truckin' but he did not
invent the dance, maybe, only a style/Idea version of it.)
Ed Sullivan gave credit to Cora LaRedd of the Cotton Club.
Walter Winchell thought that
the dance had its conception some five or six years ago (his time),
at the old Connie's Inn, Bojangles gave a description about
a man at a dock walking, and some said that Willie Bryant
came up with it. Allan McMillan, who was a Chicago Defender's
nightclub correspondent, said the original idea was introduced
by comedian Chunk Robinson who later performed in a revue
at Small's paradise. According to McMillan ... "Chunk
introduced it in a Columbia Burlesque chain of theatres
as far back as 1928. There wasn't any particular name for
the dance but Chunk continued to do it because it made the
Prior to the 1930's version, It also resembled the old "Buzz"
step that was recorded back in the old minstrel days of
1915. It was as Sullivan stated Cora La Redd who most probably
made it popular with the dancing public around 1927, but
she did not invent it. Some historians have traced the "Truckin'
Dance" way back to the old Minstrel Shows of the 1830's
in Louisville, Kentucky with the dancing of Dan
Thomas Rice (Jump or Daddy Jim
Crow). Rice did
a few steps that are known as 'Truckin' today. Rice introduced
his Jim Crow dance at Ludlo and Smiths Theatre in Louisville
Truckin is considered a Harlem
Dance originating around 1927 however. It signifies the Strutting
Walk done when one is happy or joyful. It became very popular
with the Lindy Hop dancers and finally arrived in London
around 1935. Truckin' is mainly a shuffle rhythm (slightly
pigeon-toed) that is really not a dance but a variation.
Truckin' is mainly used in Lindy
hop today after separating from your partner to return
later back together again. Truckin' can be done as a couple
The main feature of Truckin'
is the shoulders which rise and fall as the dancers move
towards each other while the fore finger points up and wiggles
back and forth like a windshield wiper.
In 1935 The Cotton Club Revue featured the shows:
1) Jitterbug Jamboree,
2) Floogie Walk and
The 'Joe Louis Truck' was reported
to be a new dance in the 1930's when the Amsterdam News
reportedly said that Don Redman's Orchestra created a new
dance called the Joe Louis Truck. However Don Redman says
"when he first saw the newspaper clipping he knew nothing
about the song or the dance, so he wrote one," which
he says was 'before the "Truckin' dance became popular."
He also says "nothing became of the song."
Dancer Buzzin' Burton used to
finish his act with his shoulders hunched and would raise
his hand and wiggle his index finger towards the sky as
he exited years before "Truckin" became en vogue.