Reefer Man

Cab Calloway and his Harlem Maniacs

December 25, 1907 – November 18, 1994

This clip featuring Cab Calloway is an excerpt from the 1933 film “International House.”

A law student at Crane College, in New York City, Cab Calloway spent many a night playing the drums and singing in the local clubs. On any given night he could be found performing at one of several establishments including the Dreamland Ballroom.

His big sister Blanche Calloway, already an established jazz singer, severed as an important influence and helped to further his career.

Eventually he left school to peruse a singing career and lead jazz bands including “The Alabamians” and “The Missourians” playing throughout the U.S.

By the mid-1930s Cab Calloway’s Orchestra had become equally as popular as that of Duke Ellington. Calloway and his band were hired to fill in for the Ellington orchestra at the Cotton Club when they were touring.

Cab collaborated with Andy Gibson, Irving Mills and Jack Palmer among others, and was nicknamed the “King of Hi-De-Ho.”

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