In 1933, several ballrooms and nightclubs were vying for the patronage of Shanghai’s international society. These included the Cathay Ballroom located on the 8th floor of the Cathay Hotel, the Rose Room of the Plaza Hotel, the Little Club, and the Canidrome Ballroom. This article published in the China Press illustrates how these ballrooms and nightclubs used announcements about the evening program focusing on the staged performances and the performers, who were usually a cast of American and/or European entertainers. Most performances were in the form of a variety show featuring song and dance, short skits and plays. Among these establishments, it appears that the Canidrome stands out for the sheer variety of its performances. Note also the connection with Hollywood and the attempt by the clubs to keep up with the latest American hit tunes and dance fads.
WHERE TO DINE & DANCE TONIGHT
(The China Press Feb 9, 1933)
Two of the three new colored entertainers at the Cathay Ballroom, the Misses Edith Spencer and Allegretti Anderson, scored heavily on he occasion of their debut last Saturday and have since been a strong drawing card. The third artist. Miss Lottie Gee, widely known on the American and Continental stage and in leading night clubs, was suddenly taken ill on Saturday and was unable to appear. The management expresses regret to patrons and voices the hope that Miss Gee will soon make her debut. The other artists on the bill, Marty Sands and Mildred Dawn, American song and dance entertainers, pleased with their three snappy numbers. Dance music is furnished by Henry Nathan's tango orchestra, which has a big following.
Tonight, the Rose Room Revue of Revues ‘ will present for the first time the present distinctive program. Tomorrow night, there will be a complete change of entertainment, it being intimated that several numbers the like of which have I never been seen in Shanghai before are to be graphically staged.
Augumented by the addition of a famous negro crooner in the person of Herbert Parker, the Little Club now has a floor show second to none in all of the Far East. Parker made his debut on Sunday and was a big success. He has a highly pleasing personality, a winning smile and a real singing voice, which he knows how to use to advantage. The addition of this artist is a distinct new triumph for the management or the club and closely follows the engagement by Mont Berg of Escandel and Rosita, the sensational Spanish song and dance artists now at the club. The Little Club now, has seven artists in the outstanding "star"' class.
George Fidlon’s excellent symphonic orchestra plays for the dinner period and always is ready to oblige patrons with special or favorite selections. The dance band, Al Uhles' Little Club Collegians, is an all-American aggregation of young, peppy and talented musicians who not only play well but sing in a pleasing manner. Friday night will be College night, with fun, souvenirs and othpr extras.
Commencing tomorrow night the Canidrome Ballroom, it is announced by Mr. Ralph Lynn, manager will offer a new program, every number of which is in the outstanding, class. One of the most elaborate numbers will be a playlet, "School Days,” featuring Don and Sally, Fred Pierce and the Canidrome girls. The number includes singing, dancing, wisecracks and talking. Jean Evans, the sensational tap dancer, will offer a most difficult rope skipping tap dance. Another new and novel tap dance on suitcases will be presented by Virginia and Lillian Worth. Don and Sally, stars of the ballroom, will offer a “Crazy Quilt” song and dance, in which they will have the support of Sela Safar and Gracie McSporran. Sela Safar, again singing with the orchestra, much to the delight of patrons, will sing "If It Ain’t Love." Another pleasing song and dance artist, Mae LaRue, will sing “I Guess I’ll Have to Change My Plan," and also will dance to the music of the number. Gracie McSporran, a Canidrome favorite, will sing "Three’s A Crowd,'' from "The Crooner," a New Warner Bros., picture, Fred Pierce, master of ceremonies, will offer two other numbers.