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Filmmaker Ron Mann on The Twist

The Twist, a worldwide dance craze which set off "the twisted age" and made Chubby Checker a millionaire, did not follow a straight path into pop culture history.  As documentary filmmaker Ron Mann tells Morningside's Peter Gzowski, the dance was more than a musical novelty, setting in motion watershed changes in society and paving the way for future freedom in dance floor moves.

• Ronn Mann's other films which examine U.S. and Canadian counterculture include Comic Book Confidential, Dream Tower (about Rochdale College in Toronto), Poetry in Motion, and Grass (about the prohibition of marijuana).

The Twist was written and recorded first by Hank Ballard, but it didn't climb the charts until Chubby Checker recorded it in 1960.  And having remained number one that year for four months, it became the only song to reach the top in separate years -- it fell in popularity but climbed back up late in 1961.

Let's Twist Again, written by Dave Appell and Kal Mann, reached number eight  for Chubby Checker the week of July 17, 1961, and earned a Grammy award that year for best rock and roll recording.

Medium: Radio
Program: Morningside
Broadcast Date: Sept. 11, 1992
Guest(s): Ron Mann
Interviewer: Peter Gzowski
Duration: 11:53
Movie Poster from Twist: Alliance Entertainment, CITY-TV, The Canada Council, Magnum, NFB, OFDC, Téléfilm Canada

Last updated: May 22, 2012

Page consulted on August 21, 2012

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