Joan Crawford’s famous Charleston kick as captured in the year 1926.
Joan came to Hollywood in 1925 as a hard-knock Broadway chorus girl without censorship. She was a mascot of such favorite venues as the Cocoanut Grove and the Montmartre, where she would easily devastate her competition in countless Charleston contests. She collected more champion trophies than she knew what to do with.
Her vigorous Charleston became legendary as astonishingly early as 1930. When the age of the flapper buckled to patronizing reconsideration, Joan and her verve remained substantial in the nostalgia for a lost era. “Remember when Joan Crawford was a ‘hotcha’ baby tearing up the floor at the Grove?” sighed fan magazines, newspaper columnists, writers, actors, directors, producers, crew members, and wistful fellow Jazz Age symbols.
A rare exception in the Hollywood practice of impermanence, the memory of Joan as scalding “hey-hey” flapper of the Roaring Twenties never disappeared from the foreground. The beloved Crawford Charleston—breathless, stomping, panting, kicking, sweating, grinning, electrifying—has endured the restless American cultures of nearly nine decades. To this day it continues as an indestructible icon belling the legend of 1920s youth.