Puttin’ It On

Ethel Waters

This is an excerpt from the movie “Rufus Jones for President”

Rufus Jones, a black child, is elected President of the United States in this short musical comedy. The film features song and dance numbers by a seven year old Sammy Davis Jr., the star of the movie.

Ethel Walters also appears as the mother mother of Rufus Jones.

They are not featured in this clip.

The movie was a 1933 American Pre-Code satirical musical-comedy, 21 minutes long.

Despite its tone that appears to today’s audience as racist, it is still considered an important musical short.

The music was written by Cliff Hess.

Composer, songwriter, author, publisher and pianist, educated locally and later a pianist on Mississippi River boats.

He then joined the staff of several music publishing firms, and was Irving Berlin’s secretary between 1913 and 1918.

Later he became an executive for several recording and publishing companies.

Joining ASCAP in 1919, his popular-song compositions include “Homesickness Blues”, “When Alexander takes His Ragtime Band to France”, “I’m in Heaven”, “I Used to Call Her Baby”, “Huckleberry Finn”, “Freckles”, and “Don’t You Remember the Day?”

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