The Man Who Made the Jailhouse Rock

Alex Romero, Hollywood Choreographer


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About the Book

Choreographer Alex Romero created Jailhouse Rock, the iconic Elvis Presley production number, but never received screen credit for his contribution. This book tells his story. The son of a Mexican general, Romero escaped the Mexican Revolution, joined his family’s vaudeville dance act and became a dancer in Hollywood. Part of Jack Cole’s exclusive Columbia dance troupe, he was eventually hired as a staff assistant at MGM, where he worked on Take Me Out to the Ballgame, American in Paris, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, and On the Town, among many others. When Romero transitioned into full-time choreography, he created the dances for numerous films, including Love Me or Leave Me, I’ll Cry Tomorrow, tom thumb, Whatever Happened to Baby Jane, and three additional movies for Elvis. Known for his inventive style and creative use of props, Romero was instrumental in bringing rock and roll to the screen. This biography includes first-person accounts of his collaborations with Gene Kelly, Fred Astaire, Judy Garland, Frank Sinatra, and others.

About the Author(s)

Mark Knowles, choreographer of more than 300 theatrical productions, is on the faculty of the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in Los Angeles, California.

Bibliographic Details

Mark Knowles

Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 220
Bibliographic Info: 36 photos, filmography, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2013
pISBN: 978-0-7864-7594-0
eISBN: 978-1-4766-0368-1
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments  ix
Preface  1
1. Beginnings (1913–1914)  7
2. Early Life (1914–1929)  12
3. Vaudeville (1929–1938)  20
4. Dancing in the Movies (1938–1944)  32
5. Dancing for Jack Cole (1944–1947)  38
6. Words and Music to On the Town (1947–1949)  50
7. The Red Danube to Two Weeks with Love (1949–1950)  63
8. An American in Paris to The Band Wagon (1950–1953)  72
9. Seven Brides for Seven Brothers to The Eddie Fisher Show (1954–1957)  84
10. Jailhouse Rock (1957)  97
11. tom thumb to “The Goulash” (1958–1962)  108
12. The Stripper to Hustle (1963–1975)  123
13. Endings (1976–2007)  133
Filmography  143
Television Shows  155
The Theater  158
Chapter Notes  161
Bibliography  197
Index  201

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