The Duke is Tops (1938)

Publication Year: 

Images retrieved from: on June 7th, 2014. on June 7th, 2014. on June 7th, 2014.

Cooper got top billing in The Duke Is Tops, a genial backstage story about a producer who lets his protege find her own way to stardom. The ingenue was played by 20-year-old Lena Horne in her movie debut. When Horne was signed by MGM, the film was rereleased, this time as The Bronze Venus; Horne’s name was now at the top, Cooper’s in agate print below. A slim, beyond-beautiful singer-actress, Horne had graduated to “real” movies. She could have been Hollywood’s first black-glamour musical star, but when she played in films with a mixed-race cast she was given discrete musical numbers that could be excised when shown at white theaters in the South.
Text retrieved from on June 7th, 2014.

The Cats and the Fiddle plays Killin' Jive

Duke is tops has a musical number called Killin' Jive played by The Cats and the Fiddle.

The Cats and the Fiddle was one of the pre-eminent pioneering R&B vocal groups of the 1930s. "The Fiddle" in the group's name alludes to the stand-up bass they used, while in jazz parlance each member of the group was a "hep cat".

According to Bill Milkowski's Swing It! An Annotated History of Jive (2003), the lyrics have earned this song the title of "the pot smoker's anthem". "Everything will seem so funny," The Cats purr in "Killin' Jive" with a stage wink, "darkest days will seem so sunny," "you'll be a high man, mello like Jello," "when you smoke that killin' jive". The Cats & The Fiddle's flair for twirling tiples (swollen ukuleles) and whirling bull fiddle hooked hepcats faster than they could roll reefers.

The Cats and the Fiddle consisted of: Chuck Barksdale, Jimmie Henderson, Ernie Price, and Austin Powell
Text retrieved from YouTube on November 10th, 2010.