Gary Cooper, Gene Krupa, Howard Hawks & Billy Wilder: Balls of Fire (1941)

The following clip is an exert from the Howard Hawk’s 1941 film, Balls of Fire, which was written by Billy Wilder and features Gary Cooper, Barbara Stanwyck, Dana Andrews, and famous drummer/bandleader, Gene Krupa. In this clip, Professor Potts (Gary Cooper), an ivory-tower lexicographer interested in youth culture slang, visits a night-club where Sugarpuss O’Shea (Stanwyck), a burlesque performer and young club singer whose in danger with the mob, is performing. The song in the exert is called “Drum Boogie,” a number written by Gene Krupa and his band, which includes famed trumpeter Roy Eldridge.

Not only is this clip a great example of pop culture overload circa 1941, but it showcases a fantastic amount of musicianship on Krupa’s part – “Drum Boogie” closes with the crowd circled around Krupa as he finishes off the song by using matchsticks as drum sticks, and a matchbox as his drum. Does it get any cooler? Dig it.

“The Cat’s a killer diller.”

Balls of Fire (1941): Drum Boogie

Strongly recommend checking out the whole film if you enjoy this clip.



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