All Rights Reserved/Artline Films/J.-F. Pitet
The many highlights include an animated map of Harlem with Calloway's commentary. "The Savoy Ballroom, where I bombed with my first band... Small's Paradise, one of the better spots, and next door, the brand-new police station. Heh heh heh heh!" Matthew Rushing, choreographer/principal dancer of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, dances with an animated Calloway drawn by Steve Brodner (the "Sketches" in the title has more than one meaning). Stanley Crouch, Gerald Wilson (who played in Calloway's band), Calloway's daughters, musicians Steve Cropper and Donald "Duck Dunne," director John Landis (The Blues Brothers, in which Calloway appears) and others comment on the man and his times. We also learn what Calloway's hit song "Minnie the Moocher" was all about; it's not as innocent as it sounds.