Square Dancing—a Bob Osgood film from 1951

Bob Osgood made a 16mm film entitled "Square Dancing" in 1951. Reference is made to this film by The Academic Film Archive of North America. You can read their comments here. Be sure to search for Osgood on that page.

The film is available for viewing at the Internet Archive by clicking here.

Skip Elsheimer maintains an archive of old educational films at http://www.avgeeks.com/. You can watch it from his site here. You may purchase a DVD of the Bob Osgood film from him for $10. It is of better quality than what you can watch or download from the web.

Recent history of how I found out about this film

In November 2005 Tony Collingwood asked "Any idea as to whether the following has ever been made known to those on the caller's list?" It was new to me so I posted it to the list and asked "Perhaps someone on the list will know the history of this movie clip." Here are some responses:

Ron Nelson (Chula Vista, CA)

Yes, I recognize this footage. It was filmed in Bob Osgood's driveway. The camera was mounted on the roof of his garage. I have only seen stills from the shoot. It was shot on 16mm film. Bob and I spoke about this footage during period of time I was producing "Let's Square Dance!", a television show which was broadcast over 8 different southern California cable systems from 1988 to 1990. Bob was very knowledgeable about the film industry. He worked to many different movies as a choreographer for square dance scenes. Of course, living in Beverly Hills provided him with access to the Hollywood scene.

I appreciated very much the words of wisdom he had for me regarding choices of camera angles, etc.

Kappie Kappenman

In checking my "archives", I found following "advertisement" in Vol. IV No.12, December, 1952: "SQUARE DANCE COLOR FILM - a 16 mm Sound Motion Picture showing some of the fundamentals and fun of square dancing. Instructive and entertaining. For sale or rental to schools, recreation groups and clubs. Write for brochure."

Note: This was done somewheres around the time that Bob was working with the movie studios on "Choreography" of square dance scenes.

Don Ward

As I remember Joe Faddler who was the "official" SIO photographer did camera work on that.

Joe and his wife Barbara were members of Bobs square and contra clubs...

In March, 2010 Don wrote to the traditional square dance callers e-mail list...

The Bob Osgood dance film was shot in Bobs drive way at his home in Beverly Hills. The set was borrowed from one of the local studios (Warner Bros). Chuck Jones was the bugs bunny animator for WB and Chuck and his wife Dotty danced with Bobs Rip n Snort group so it was easy for Chuck to get the set delivered for the square dance party.

There were so many Hollywood/entertainment people caught up in the square dance fun that it was no problem to get studios to donate lighting, decorations/sets, sound systems for square dance events. It was good publicity with their names donating lots of stuff. I still remember most of those people from the SIO group we danced with. sadly very few of us left. The last time we saw Joe Faddler and his wife Bonnie we remarked that the 4 us us were that last of the old crowd. That was 10 years ago and im sure Shirley and I are the survivors.

But the memories live onnnnnnnnnnn
Don ward

Bob Brundage

A while ago a question came up about a film clip done by Bob Osgood. I cantacted Ken Kernan who was on the SIO staff. He was in charge of the Promotion Record effort which Bob offered to encourage subscriptions for SIO. Ken currently lives in Albuquerque. There is a reference to Sprite - Bob worked for the Sprite Comapny at the time he started Sets In Order magazine.

Ken Kernan

I think that the film you refer to was likely done around 1950 not too long after Bob got Sets In Order going in late 1948. I do not recognize any of the folks dancing. Bob did quite a bit of work with several studios in that time frame and whenever they were looking for a square dancing segment, he would serve as an advisor and either train actors to square dance or bring in some local square dancers. I remember him talking about one film with Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis, but I don't remember the name of the film. I would imagine that Bob probably taking about some of his movie experiences on the interview tape that you did?

While I worked at Sets In order in the mid 70's I was called in to help with a Sprite commercial and that was fun. I got paid $500 to coach and teach some young, beautiful people in their early 20's the quick fundementals of square dancing in a one or two hour mid-afternoon training session. They got paid scale which was $75. I got the $500 because I got "choreographer" scale! Then that night about midnight, we travelled to Camarillo, about 65 miles north of Los Angeles to where the outside set was prepared in a barnyard. The shooting session ran about 4 hours. They produced a 15 second and a 30 second commercial that we later saw only a few times on TV. The sound track was recorded in Chicago and cost about $20,000 to make. Fun stuff.

Finally a series of e-mail exchanges between myself and Skip Elsheimer:

Clark: An XML file on the archive.org website indicates that you may have uploaded the Bob Osgood film. I have been trying to track down a copy of the 16mm film. Do you remember where you got it from?

Skip: I got it on Ebay.

Clark: Do you still have it?

Skip: Yes. I maintain an archive of old educational films (http://www.avgeeks.com/).

Clark: OK. I saw the piece on the web and mentioned it to an e-mail list of square dance callers. Many of us know (or knew) Bob Osgood and were fascinated to see that film. I asked about its history and some of the old timers on the list had various recollections. I can e-mail you the responses if you are interested. Let me know.

At least one person on the list had been interested in tracking down a copy and getting it transfered to DVD.

Skip: I'll happily put it on DVD for anybody who wants it for $10 plus postage. I hope that everybody on the list enjoyed it.

Clark: I will take you up on this -- please send 2 copies.

Your collection looks very interesting and I am glad you are doing what you are doing.

Revised: $Date: 2010/03/11 05:24:02 $