She Done Him Wrong 1931
The screen’s most famous seduction line was when Bowery showgirl Mae West told the supposed mission worker Cary Grant to come up and see her sometime in 1933’s She Done Him Wrong.
Nick and Tony in Sightseeing in New York 1931
Produced by Amity Pictures Courtesy Ron Hutchinson and the Vitaphone Project
With humorist tour guides Nick Basil and Tony Martin, a humorous horse and buggy tour through Bowery, Chinatown, Little Italy, etc. Warning – This film is a document of its time that contains a politically incorrect parade of stereotypes with something to offend almost everyone.
This Is The Bowery 1941
Produced by the award-winning MGM shorts series John Nesbitt’s Passing Parade with Gunther V. Fritsch director.
A beautifully rendered film portrait of the Bowery Mission
The Old Fashioned Way
Remembered today primarily as a beloved film comedian from Hollywood’s golden age, W.C. Fields first became famous as one of the world’s great jugglers. Born in Philadelphia, Fields’ first New York appearances — in the late 1890s, as a tramp juggler — included gigs at the Globe Dime Museum (298 Bowery), Miner’s Bowery Theatre (165-167 Bowery) and the Gaiety Dime Museum (138 Bowery).
Though filmed 35 years after his early appearances on the Bowery, this scene from The Old Fashioned Way (1934) showcases his comedic juggling prowess.
Ethnic Notions Documentary 1986
Note: One of the film’s outstanding voices is that of historian/choreographer/performer Lenwood Sloan, who wrote the text for the signage posters on 37-39 Bowery and 46-48 Bowery.
Directed by Marlon Riggs. Narrated by Esther Rolle 58 minutes
Ethnic Notions is a powerful documentary that examines the anti-Black stereotypes that permeated popular culture from the ante-bellum period until the advent of the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s.
While this website and our Windows on the Bowery posters touch on African American struggles and their contributions to American culture, it also touches on the emergence of minstrelsy, a theatrical genre that codified negative stereotypes of Blacks for over 100 years. This Emmy-winning documentary gives us the historical context of minstrelsy and helps convey its negative impact on the lives of African Americans.