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the Varsity Drag

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Donald Tomkins and Ruth Mayon dance the Varsity Drag
The Varsity Drag DANCE PAGE
        

"Down on your heels and up on your toes" was the thing to do in the hit song for the Varsity Drag. Donald Tomkins (left) is credited with introducing the Varsity Drag in the 1920s. The danced is based around the upbeat, faster Collegiate dances of that era. It was also a featured dance in the play "Good News" in September 6, 1927, which is actually where it was introduced to the general public by 'the Varisty Drag Girl' Zelma O'Neal.¹

    Tomkins danced with Ruth Mayon and Zelma O'Neal.' June Allyson and Peter Lawford also danced the Varsity Drag in the 1947 movie (actually whole cast did) . Zelma O'Neil is credited with the popularity of this dance as well as its creation. The dance does have some elements of the Charleston so the song works quite well for the Charleston dance steps.

Birth Place

Creation Date

Creator

Dance Type

USA late 1910's Zelma O'Neal | Donald Tomkins Collegiate
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Posters, Lobby Cards etc.

Sheet Music Covers

Listen to a sample song

Varsity Drag Music Titles

n/a The Varsity Drag (1927) PlaySong Sample Varsity Drag - Abe Lyman (1930) MP3
- Varsity Drag Blues (1927) PlaySong Sample Varsity Drag - Anita O'Day (different version) MP3
- - Sample Not Available Varsity Drag - Ciro's Club Band (1927) x
- - PlaySong Sample Varsity Drag - Crew Cuts (1956) MP3
- - Sample Not Available Varsity Drag - Frank Black Orchestra (1927) x
- - Play Song Sample Varsity Drag - George Olsen (1927) MP3
- - Play Song Sample Varsity Drag - Jack Hylton & his Orchestra (1953) MP3
- - Play Song Sample Varsity Drag - Jean Goldkette Orchestra (1957) MP3
- - Sample Not Available Varsity Drag - Pee Wee Hunt (1954) x
- - Play Song Sample Varsity Drag - Peter Lawford & June Allyson MP3
- - Play Song Sample Varsity Drag - Revelersquintet (1927) MP3
- - Play Song Sample Varsity Drag - Ruth Etting MP3
- - PlaySong Sample Varsity Drag - Sam Lanin (1928) x
- - Sample Not Available Varsity Drag - Spike Jones & his City Slickers x
- - Play Song Sample Varsity Drag Mambo - Machito MP3
- - Play Tito's Song Sample Varsity Drag Mambo - Tito Puente MP3
- - Sample Not Available $ 1995 Good News Musical Sndtrack x
- - Sample Not Available ... See all Drag Type songs x

Various "Drag Dance" Titles

A Minor Drag Jig Drag Slow Drag
A Real Slow Drag Saratoga Drag Varsity Drag (1927)
Dizzy Drag Shoe Shiners Drag Viper's Drag
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Night Clubs

Theaters

Locations

n/a 1928 - Equity Ball - NY n/a
- - - 1927 - 46th Street Theatre -

Films / Movies

Television

Ballets / Stage

College Swing 1975 - Lawrence Welk Show (Bobby and Cissy) Good News (1927-29) w/ Zelma O'Neal
$ Good News (1930) Penny Singleton Muppet Show - Betsy Bird does "Varsity Drag" (episode 505) Good News (1995)
$ Good News [DVD] (1947) Muppet Show - Statler and Waldorf dance (episode 208) Good News (1984) Zilker Summer Musical
$ Good News (Audio Described) (1947)
5/9/1988 - ALF - (Season 2, Episode 26) -
The Varsity Drag    
1947 -- Good News DVD -

Publications

- 1/1928 - Dance Magazine
- 11/5/1939 - Fresno Bee (Zelma O'Neil)
- 9/7/1927 - NY Times (A. Brooks, page 35)
- Appleton Post-Crescent: 4/24/1930 (page 17)
   

Other Related Dances of the time...

Aeroplane Waltz Charleston Hippohop LuLu Fado Shiver Shake
Apache Dance Chicken Flip Honey Bug Maxixe Slow Drag
Argentine Ardor Collegiate Hooche Cooche Mooch and Sugar Syncopated Canter
Arizona Anguish Collegiate Foxtrot Horsetrot Necktie Waltz Tango
Bacchanalian waltz Collegiate Shag Hug-Me-Tight One Step Terripan Toddle
Boll Weevil Wiggle Dewey Dip Innovation Ostrich Stretch Texas Tommy
Boston Dip Dizzy Drag Jazzarimba Pavlova Gavotte Toddle
Break away Fado Foxtrot Kangaroo Canter Peabody Turkey Trot
Bunny Hug Foxtrot Kangaroo Waltz Pickaninny Dandle Two-Step
Buzzard Lope Fuzzy-Wuzzy Kitchen Sink Pollywog Wiggle Varsity Drag
Cabbage Clutch Gaby Glide Lambeth Walk Puppy Snuggle Walkin' The Dog
Camel Walk Gilda Glide Lame Duck Quickstep Waltz
Cantor Waltz Grizzly Bear Lemon Squeeze Salome dance Wiggle-de-Wiggle
Cartel Waltz Grizzly Glide Lindy Hop Shadow Dance -
Castle Walk Hesitation Waltz Love Dance Shimmy -

Dancers, Choreographers etc.

Political

Albert Ludwig & Jean Morris Peter Lawford n/a
Bee Jackson Ruth Mayon -
Donald Tomkins Zelma O'Neal -
Dorothy McNulty (aka Penny Singleton (Blondie Bumstead) June Allyson and Peter Lawford in Movie -
Ewing Kennedy - -
June Allison - -

Books, Magazine Articles on the dance...

Title

Author

Date

Publisher

Down Memory Lane Murray, Arthur 1954 Greenberg
$ Jazz Dance: The Story of American Vernacular Dance Stearns, Marshal 1964 De Capo Press
- - - -
- - - -

Musicians / Bands

Other

Poets / Writers

Alcide "Slow Drag" Pavageau n/a n/a
Desylva, Brown - - -
Fran Frey & George Olson - - - -

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

Bobbed cuts Flapper Raccoon Coats -
Collegiate Knickers Roaring Twenties -

Varsity Drag Song Lyrics.

Babe:
Hey everybody! What's goin' on here?,We can't let school get us depressed, after all the reason we're in college is to have fun, right?
We've always thought, Knowledge was naught, We should be taught, To dance!
Right here in Tait, We're up-to-date, We teach a great, New dance!, Don't think that I brag, I speak of the drag!
Why should a chic, Learn how to speak, Latin and Greek, Badly?, Give 'em a neat, Motto complete, Say it with feet, Glady!
First lesson right now, You'll love it and how!
Guys:
You'll love it!
Babe:
Here is the drag, See how it goes, Down on your heels, Up on your toes, That’s the way to do the varsity drag!
It's hotter than hot!, Newer than new!, Meaner than mean!, Bluer than blue!, Gets as much applause as waving the flag!
You can pass, Many a class , Whether you're dumb or wise, If you all answer the call, When your professor cries
Everybody!
Down on your heels, Up on your toes, Stay after school, Learn how it goes, Everybody do the varsity drag!
Girls:
Here is the drag, See how it goes, Down on your heels, Up on your toes, That’s the way to do the varsity drag!
Babe:
Its hotter than hotter than hot!, Newer than newer than new!, Meaner than meaner than mean!, Bluer than bluer than blue!
Ensemble:
Gets as much applause as waving the flag!
You can pass many a class, Whether you're dumb or wise
Babe:
If you all answer the call, When your professor cries
Ensemble:
Everybody!
Down on your heels!, Up on your toes!, Say goodbye to blues and do the, Drag!
[musical break]
You'll love it!
[musical break]
The Varsity drag!
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September 14, 2015 http://www.Streetswing.com/histmain/index.htm
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