The Ross Sisters
Get Bent Out of Shape Over Potato Salad
My friend Cody sent me this amazing YouTube clip that shows triplet gals contorting themselves while singing a silly song about making solid potato salad:
The Ross Sisters mash the potato
The YouTube video had no other information about the flexible sisters or what movie the clip was from, simply saying "Potato Salad." My inner librarian had to know, so I did some research and found out it's The Ross Sisters - Aggie, Maggie and Elmira (who for some reason did not use their real-life names of Vicki, Dixie and Betsy Ross - though I can understand Betsy not wanting to be confused with the comparatively non-athletic Betsy Ross who sewed the first American flag!) - performing "Solid Potato Salad" from the 1944 MGM musical Broadway Rythym. This clip also appears in That's Entertainment! III (1994). Why these singing-dancing-contorting sisters weren't as big as the contortionally challenged Andrew Sisters, is beyond me.
Anyway, that's some potato salad recipe, one that requires the gals to literally jump through hoops. As the folks at VideoSift describe it: "It's Hee-Haw meets Cirque du Soleil!...Never before has the human body been twisted into such extraordinary positions in service to the American Potato Salad Industry." Talk about T & A (Taters & Acrobatics)!
Thinking I had seen these gals before (I mean, how many Hollywood films had triplets in them?), I tried to figure how a script writer would fit them into a film narrative. By matching them with three other freaks - like The Three Stooges! I recalled that in their classic short Gents without Cents (the one in which the boys do their "Slowly I turned, step by step, inch by inch..." routine), the boys put on a show at a shipyard with three acrobatic dancers named Mary, Flo and Shirley. But it turns out that this was yet another trio of contortionist hoofers (what are the odds?): Lindsay, LaVerne and Betty (Lindsay Bourquin - pictured at right, Laverne Thompson and Betty Phares). 1944 was a big year for this trio; in addition to performing at USO shows for servicemen, they also appeared in the films Showboat Serenade and Youth Aflame.
But Broadway Rhythm was the lone celluloid appearance for The Ross Sisters who were born too soon to take advantage of the Twister game craze that started in 1969. They could have landed a lucrative product endorsement contract from the folks at Hasbro!
Of course in today's world, girls who can contort themselves - and are not gymnasts or ballet dancers of some sort - are pretty much considered freaks with a lascivious edge. Like porn star Vanessa Lane (pictured at right), whose ability to wrap herself into a human pretzel has enabled her to invent new sexual positions beyond the wildest dreams of The Kama Sutra.