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Buck and Bubbles

Stage Name

Birth Name

Buck and Bubbles

Ford Lee Washington (Buck)
- John William Sublett (Bubbles, Bubber)

    Although Buck and Bubbles performed together for many years, they would not achieve dance fame until the Ziegfeld's Follies of 1931.

   Buck was known as one of Vaudevilles best known all around entertainers and innovators. He was a talented musician as well as a good dancer who could Tap and Charleston with the best of 'em but was known more as an Eccentric dancer.

    When John was a child he worked out a routine with his sister and later teamed with Ford Lee Washington at the age of ten in an act billed as "Buck and Bubbles," with John singing and Buck playing the Piano. they continued to use the act where they could and

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entered a series of amateur-night contests. Once they honed their act, they went on the road touring with some of the bigger engagements and finally ended up at the Palace theatre which at the time was the place to be. They have said to do the same routine for over twenty years, part comedy, part song and dance. John legally changed his name to John W. Bubbles

    When Bubbles came to New York for the first time he was just eighteen years old and a singer rather than a dancer, to add more to the act he was aspiring to become one. After visiting the Hoofers club and being laughed out of very same club he left for California continuing his singing with the Orpheum circuit to make a living but continued to practice his dancing and a year later was back in the Big Apple. After arriving in New York he went back to the Hoofers Club but this time they applauded his efforts and he didn't stop there either.

    Their routine consisted of a "Charley Brown and Linus" type of comedy routine. Buck was cool and confident, but laid back at the Piano and Bubbles was a smooth but cocky singer who would challenge Buck with his Singing and dancing, and Buck would pick on Bubbles while nonchalantly accepting his challenges. Bubbles would stand at the Piano then be off all around the floor, then back to the piano acting cool and suave, trying to impress or outdo Buck at the Piano. Their routines would go from slow and easy to frantic and hell bound and then right back to melancholy with many times Buck shouting " That's not the way it's supposed to be done" he would get up from the Piano and show Bubbles how it should be done, sometimes successfully and sometimes not. Their act was a more relaxed style that kept heir audience relaxed as well.

    In 1952 Bubbles went solo for a spell at the Silver Rail in Toronto as all three (Buck, Bubbles and Mabel) were arrested for Marijuana possession. Mabel was deported back to the USA, Bubbles was released (acquitted) but Buck had to do 6 months time.*

   John Bubbles is known to have invented the "Cramp Roll.".. ( Ball-R, Ball-L, Heel-R, Heel-L done very quickly) in Tap dance as well as inventing what he referred to as "Rhythm Tap." Bubbles claims that he got the many of his ideas from dancer Harland Dixon and Clog dancers. This change as well as Bojangles dancing tap on his toes made major changes to the way tap dance was being done.

Birth Place

Birth Date



(Buck) Louisville, KY 10/6/1903 - 2/1955 n/a n/a
(Bubbles) Kentucky 2/19/1902 - 5/18/1986 Mabel - - -
Note: Bubbles was raised in Indianapolis.

Dance Types

Dance Partners / Others

Music Titles

Buck Dance Judy Garland Mammy Of Mine
Clog Millie ??? Trucking - (Harlem Bound)     
Charleston Sammy Vanderhurst (in a Cutting Contest w/ Bubbles) -
Tap (and Rhythm Tap) Bubbles Sang with Anna Marie Alberghetti -
Trucking - -
- - -

Night Clubs



Carver Club [Las Vegas] Lafayette Theatre 1927 - Weather Clear - Track Fast
Cotton Club [NY] Palace Theatre 1930 - Blackbirds (Leslie's)
Hoofer's Club [NY] - - - 1930 - Glorifying The American Negro
Zanzibar - - - 1931- Ziegfeld Follies (their Big Break)
- - - - 1935 - Porgy and Bess (Bubbles as Sportin' Life)
- - - --- 1961 - Le Jazz Hot (Carver Club)
--- --- -




1929 - Black Narcissus (Pathe) Peter Lind Hayes [1958] $ Dark Town Follies
1929 - Dark Town Follies American Musical Theatre [1961] - - -
1929 - Fowl Play (Pathe) Tonight Show [1960s] - - -
1929 - High Tones (Vitaphone) - - - - - -
1929 - Honest Crooks (Pathe) - - - - - -
1929 - In and Out (Pathe) - - - - - -
1930 - High Toned (Pathe) - - - ---
1933 - Black Cat Tales - - -


1935 - Harlem Bound - - - 12/6/1943 - Life Magazine
1937 - A Night in a Night Club - - - 1964 - Jazz Dance (Marshall Stearns)
1937 - Varsity Show - - - ---
1943 - Cabin In The Sky - - - - - -
1945 - Buck and Bubbles Laff Jamboree - - - - - -
1946 - Mantan Messes Up! - - - - - -
1948 - A Song is Born (w/ Garland) - - - - - -
1956 - Tap dancein' (w/ Maceo, Nicholas, Coles-Atkins, Bojangles) - - - ---
- - - ---
Varsity Show - - - - - -
$ Vaudeville Videos vol: 3 - - - - - -
- - - - ---


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